On the 18th of January, the group were kindly visited by Dave Leech of the BTO, to give us an insight into the Nest Record Scheme (NRS) and how the BTO use the data which is received by hundreds of volunteers across the country each year. We met at Rushcliffe Country Park and a good turnout consisting of Gary, Kev, Jim, Alex, Sue, Howard, Duncan and I sat down to hear what Dave had to say.
Some of the group are inexperienced in the world of nest recording, so it was interesting for us to get a good introduction to the scheme and how it works. Rather than tell us the actual methods of finding nests, normally reserved for training courses, Dave focused more on the science behind nest recording, giving us some good examples of the sort of things that have been discovered from the scheme, from phenological studies, to the studies of bird populations and causes for various successes and declines. It was interesting to learn how nest recording is being used as a conservation tool, and I think it may have encouraged some of the newer group members to actually get out there and start getting some nest records for the Group in the coming year.
For the more experienced members of the group, the second half of the day was focused on submitting nest records to IPMR, and although some group members are familiar with this practice, some extra tips and tricks were demonstrated by Dave and hopefully will help the group develop in terms of improving the quality and quantity of our nest records. I presume a lot of previous 'nesting' activity has been focused on ringing, but I think the message Dave wanted to get across was the importance of filling out full nest record cards and submitting these along with the ringing data. Ringing obviously gives us a lot of information about breeding activity and success, but having full information about all stages of the nesting process, from hatching dates to ring a pullus ready to fledge, as well as the nests that fail, all provide the BTO with some good solid data which can be used to help their research.
Many thanks to Jim for organising the event for us and to Rushcliffe Country Park for providing the venue, and not least to Dave Leech for giving up one of his Saturdays to come to a rainy Nottingham to spread the word.
Here's to a nest-filled 2014!