Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 16 June 2010 14:35

I finished a breeding bird survey at Butcherlands this morning (only three early starts left this year now on other bird surveys!). We have used a methodology that plots the locations of birds fairly accurately using a GPS, compass, laser-rangefinder, some trigonometry and GIS! It's quite strange mapping birds without a map but it does work well, I have used this method with the RSPB in Scotland. It's good on large open spaces where it is difficult to estimate your location on a map. Anyway, I saw/heard quite a few surprises considering this was the final visit. I heard the first singing Reed Bunting and nearby, the first singing Reed Warbler. The strange thing is there is very little water in this area, no reeds, no emergent vegetation, just a thick hedgerow. The first raptor of the day turned out to be this Red Kite. Please excuse the awful photo, my camera is short sighted from all the macro work I do. No, basically I am totally out of my depth with the Nikon Coolpix 4500 and bird photography. You can just about see what it is though.

I also saw all the good stuff from the previous surveys being Cuckoo, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Turtle Dove and House Sparrow. I can't wait to see what the maps look like although I expect it will be winter now before that happens!

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