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Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society
Records Committee News

Committee Changes

Welcome to Ben Croxtall, who joins the Records Committee in place of John Hague, who has stepped down. Thanks to John for all his work on the committee in the past.

Latest Decisions

The latest decisions by the Records Committee can be viewed in spreadsheet form here. As usual, a few records were considered to be Not Proven; this is almost always because the description submitted did not fully rule out other similar species. Please consider when submitting descriptions whether you have satisfactorily ruled out all other confusion species, in some cases including rarer species which may occur!

In particular, ringtail harriers continue to pose problems for the Committee; with the recent decline in Hen Harrier numbers in the UK, increasing occurrences of Pallid Harrier, and recent cases of wintering by Montagu's Harrier, we can no longer assume that a ringtail harrier in the winter is a Hen Harrier. Any of these species, plus conceivably the recently split Northern Harrier, could now occur in the counties at any time of year.

The number of long, 'fingered' primary tips is an essential starting point for harrier identification: Hen has 5, unless moulting, while Pallid and Montagu's have 4; also required are an assessment of the structure of the bird (e.g. Hen being a bulkier, broader-winged bird than the other two), and a detailed description (or better still photos) of the underwing pattern. Simply saying that the underwing was 'barred' is not enough to identify a harrier to species. There are plenty of good references for harrier ID, e.g. the Collins Guide, Dick Forsman's The Raptors of Europe and The Middle East, as well as many online references.

And if you aren't sure, or don't see the bird well enough to positively identify it, there is no shame in submitting it as a harrier sp.

Changes to the Description List

Great White Egret is now removed from the list, while Turtle Dove, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Corn Bunting are added to the list of species for which a description is required if the bird is seen and reported by less than three observers. See the Bird Recording page for full details of description species.

Location, location, location!

In cases where photos or sound recordings are the sole proof of the identification of a bird (particularly in the case of sound recordings) these must be accompanied by satisfactory proof that the photos/recordings were obtained where they are claimed to have been obtained. This may take the form of additional photos clearly showing an identifiable location, or ideally files tagged with location information, which is possible with most modern imaging/recording equipment.

Ring-necked Parakeets

Please submit all records to help the Records Committee ascertain the species' true status in the counties. There are currently two known resident groups, in Birstall (4 birds) and Evington (up to 6 in the past, but only 3 for the past year), and odd singles elsewhere, but there may well be others in areas not usually frequented by birders. In particular, please look out for them in south-west Leics, which is very close to a concentration of birds genetically proven to have come from the established feral population in south-east England. It is inevitable (barring a national cull!) that this species will be added to Category C of the County List before too long, but we would like to know how many birds are around, and whereabouts they are, to make an informed decision on this.

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