Army Ornithological Society Blog

The Adjutant 2018 & 2019

The 2018 and 2019 editions of The Adjutant (Volumes 39 and 40 respectively) are now available publicly on the AOS website.

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SPTA West

I went on the Plain after my trips to Sri Lanka in January and Iceland in January and February.  The trip to Sri Lanka was an AOS organised trip and we all saw the total number of endemics (24) plus many others.  In Iceland there was a juvenile White-tailed Eagle and a Brunnich's Guillemot.  I have also bought a new car that is not a 4x4.  The large exercise created quite a bit of damage to the tracks so I was very careful where I travelled. There were lots of soldiers about the Plain with most woods occupied.  There were a few Fieldfares still about with some Starlings mixed in.  There were plenty of singing Great and Blue Tits as well as Robins.  A Blackbird was out of the wind.  The Crows and Jackdaws made the wind look insignifcant as they flew about. A puddle did contain Fairy Shrimps as well.   It was a nice walk with singing Skylarks on the slopes.  Last year I saw 199 birds in the UK. This year I have seen 71 in UK but my list for the year is already 348 (a few more than the total for the whole of last year).  The Coronavirus might put my birdwatching on hold.

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More Birds Than Bullets

Geoffrey McMullan's new book More Birds Than Bullets is released on 30 January 2020.

AOS members may find it interesting as it includes details of Geoffrey's adventures with the society.

More details about the book, including pre-order options, can be found at the More Birds Than Bullets website.

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SPTA West

I have spent months away adding to my birds of the western paleartic list (Finland 7 and Iceland 1).  I have also added moths (Sicily) and orchids (Gargano, Italy).  It is only recently that I have been out on the Plain where I have seen and heard Quail. I also saw Stone Curlew on its plot from distance.  I added Yellow Wagtail to the list for this year.  There are plenty of Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Whinchat about as well as Linnet, Skylark and Meadow Pipit.  This dry weather can cause some fires and one already has started but soon extinguised itself.  There are plenty of orchids about but mainly Pyramdal and Spotted.  Butterflies include Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Marbled White, Painted Lady, Small Skipper and Marsh Fritillary.  They are live firing tomorrow so I shall check out a wood north of Devizes I have been surveying for the BTO.  We are now one conservation group so no longer do I represent just the West.  I was out on the East the other day and found 5 spot and 6 spot Burnets.   I have also been on the Centre as well!  By the way yesterday was Armed Forces Day in Salisbury and I was there with Kaiser Chiefs playing the last slot on the stage.  

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SPTA West

The migration season is underway and I have only seen a Chiffchaff (could it have been a over winter bird?).  I did see a Hen Harrier near Redhorn Vedette.  I was on my way to see Bustards and saw Red Kite, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Stonechat, Kestrel and Buzzard amongst other birds before the flock of Great Bustards in a field.  The other day there were few birds about and on a Bee Survey all I found was 1 Snipe and a Bloody-nosed Beetle.  I have been in Iceland (-24C) and the Canaries (+24C) where I did not see the Gyr Falcon nor the Dwarf Bittern.  I did see lots of other birds during my trips.  I was ringing at Lacock with a GRSWO and a SONTH plus numerous Great Tits and Blue Tits.  The Plain on the West has not been productive as it has been very windy.  In the shelter of the valleys however watchers have seen Hen Harriers when we carry out our surveys.  I did have a trip to Eastbourne for a break and saw the normal birds as my wife and I visted National Trust properties in the area.  We also popped in to see our son at Folkestone who is now gainfully employed in Hampstead!  I still am waiting for the migrants to appear on the Plain despite reports of birds within the County.

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