LBC RBBP

LBC is concerned with recording birds in Lincolnshire for the enjoyment of our members and to further the cause of bird conservation.  We work closely with other organisations with similar aims to our own, principally BTO, RSPB and LWT.  Many LBC members are also members of all or some of these organisations.

The majority of hard core birders in Lincs both serious and aspiring are members of LBC and if our collective efforts are organised we can make a difference to the position of birds in Lincs.  One particular way we can do this is by helping to monitor the changing fortunes of our common and rarest birds in Lincolnshire from both a national and local perspective. A systematic list of all known and suspected breeding birds in Lincolnshire from 2000 onwards is reproduced in Table 1.  Two measures of abundance are shown arising from the 2009 BTO Breeding Bird Survey (BBS).  The first is the number of squares in which each species was recorded in the UK out of a total of 3,243.  The second is the same statistic for Lincolnshire out of 51 squares surveyed.  Many rarer Lincs species do not show up on the BBS survey because insufficient squares are covered.  If you’d like to find out more about this survey and perhaps take part, find out more at www.bto.org/bbs .  Unfortunately at the moment BTO splits Lincolnshire data between Lincolnshire and Humberside so at the moment certain data is missing.  We are looking to address that point with BTO and hopefully we will have full data for 2010 onwards.

The next column shows the conservation status of species assessed to be of conservation concern by RSPB in 2010.  Red data species have suffered over 50% falls in population since the early 70s and amber species have suffered lesser but serious falls.  Some still abundant species like Skylark and House Sparrow are red listed because they are at least 50% less common than they used to be.
The final column shows the Rare Breeding Bird Panel (RBBP) status of those species which are absolutely “rare” or “less scarce” in the UK.  The entry “LBC” refers to those breeding species which may be relatively common in the rest of the UK but are rare in Lincs.  These birds are particularly attractive targets for egg collectors and we urge you not to pinpoint their nest sites in reports on the LBC forums or other public media.   Our county recorders, John Badley (South) and John Clarkson (North) welcome all records of all rare breeding species with information about their breeding success where available,  which should be sent direct to them.

If you suspect a bird is breeding and it is not on the list, please treat it as rare and contact the county recorders. Each year we compile a report to RBBP from the information you send us and other information we chase people for.  The information is published annually by RBBP in the monthly magazine British Birds for the whole of the UK.  The last report published was for 2008.  We have submitted the 2009 data and are currently compiling 2010.  For a sneak preview of the 2009 data for the whole of Lincolnshire look at Table 2.

An alternative way of looking at Lincolnshire Birds is to rank them by their relative abundance and this is shown in Table 3.  The measure of abundance used in the first instance is the number of BBS squares in which each species is recorded in Lincolnshire.  Where a species has not been recorded in Lincs BBS squares the UK figures are used.  If we could cover more BBS squares we would pick up more species and the data would be better.

This list is very interesting and raises lots of questions.  Please have a look at it and let me know if you think certain species should be added or deleted from those designated as LBC rare breeding birds with LBC against them in the final column. Finally it is interesting to ask; how does the relative density of birds recorded in the BBS in Lincolnshire compare to the rest of the UK?   By looking at the relative occurrence of each species in Lincolnshire compared to UK we can get a handle on which birds our county is important for and which ones we are poor for.  I’ve allocated each species for which we have data to one of 5 categories:

Important Lincolnshire is more than 50% better than rest of UK
Good more than 10% better
Average less than 10% better or worse
Less than average more than 10% worse
Poor more than 50% worse

The data is in table 4.  The data may not be statistically significant, does not yet cover the whole of Lincolnshire and is based on subjective measures but it does provide interesting work in progress.  Once we have the BTO atlas results next year we will have a much better picture.  The main headline is that Lincolnshire is important for farmland species and poor for specialist woodland species, no real surprise there but it does help focus priorities particular for our species of conservation concern, the most important red data species of which in 2009 are:

Species

Number of squares

(out of 51)

Skylark

50

Linnet

37

Yellowhammer

37

Lapwing

24

Tree Sparrow

16

Yellow Wagtail

12

Grey Partridge

10

Corn Bunting

9

Turtle Dove

7

If you have any comments on this information which it is intended will be updated at least annually please contact me at pmjespin@gmail.com

Philip Espin