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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:44 pm
Posts: 1599
Location: Market Rasen
When I first started ringing in the late 1970's to catch a Siskin was a rare occasion and Nuthatches were virtually non existant in the county. Today I went to a regularly ringed garden site in Osgodby and caught two very young Siskins and a Nuthatch all of which had only just started their post juvenile moult - evidence that they bred locally. On the downside where we used to ring 20+ Willow Tits per annum we struggle to catch 5. I would be interested to hear the observations of long standing County birders such as GPC, Steve Lorand, Andy Sims etc. as to what species have declined or increased dramatically since they started birding in the County.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 989
Location: North Somercotes
This is a vast subject, Stuart, and one where the major species status changes have already been well documented. However, I can mention a few significant local changes that have struck me since the post-war period.

As a child, I lived on the sea-front at Cleethorpes, and from our attic windows I would gaze down upon the large winter flocks of crows that assembled on the shore during the late 1940s. As well as the Carrion Crows, it was not unusual to see up to 200 Hooded Crows, but since then, the declining numbers along the east coast were ascribed to the amelioration of the climate, which I suppose was to be my first awareness of climate change.

Lapwings bred in good numbers seemingly everywhere, especially as there were many more livestock fields and Snipe were often to be found displaying and nesting on some of the wetter pastures. Ringed Plovers and Little Terns bred on quite a few beaches in the county, but have declined as tourism was encouraged and consequently expanded. Within the towns the well-known demise of the House Sparrow was matched by the fall of the Starling. As you know, the large urban murmurations were marvellous to watch, yet many people complained about the noise and mess made by them. When the Starlings stopped coming to roost in the towns, quite typically, people would then say how much they missed the evening spectacle.

Of course, there have been a number of gains and several species that one regards as common now were locally rare or practically non- existent in my formative years. In the pre-Collared Dove era, I would never see such birds as Canada Goose or Tufted Duck, despite visiting a number of lakes and ponds, while Coots were a much-prized sighting. Over the sea, I did not see a Gannet until my mid-teens. Two passerines also stand out for being seldom seen in those days. For a number of years, I had only ever seen a single Long-tailed Tit, but this may have been caused by a very slow recovery of the population after the devastating winter of 1947. Goldfinches were also very rare, most likely as a result of the persistent local trapping of finches for the cage-bird trade.

There are many aspects to this ever-growing and deeply concerning subject. For example, the status of many of our migrants has also changed, but the causes of their gains and losses are sometimes hypothetical. Habitat loss, pollution, persecution and other man-made hazards all add to the natural pressures faced by our wildlife, but the resilience shown by some species just amazes me. Worryingly though, the long-term prospects do not look good.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:44 pm
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Location: Market Rasen
Thanks, Steve - most informative. I only hope we do not see such dramatic declines in future though I am not too optomistic.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:39 pm
Posts: 381
Location: Cleethorpes
One of the species that has surged most since the 1980s is the magpie, though this has probably little if anything to do with climate change.

I read somewhere that warmer winters had led to a decline in some overwintering ducks such as pochard but an increase in certain waders which now spend the whole of winter in the Humber or The Wash when in colder times they would have headed for estuaries in the west.


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