Club members are reminded of the need to submit their records as promptly as possible. Records are also welcome from casual observers. The records are not just used to provide data for the annual report; they provide a solid database used in bird conservation in the county. Without this knowledge, our understanding of Durham’s birds, their habitats and sites where they are in need of protection would be so much less.
Scarce & Rare Records
In presenting the annual report, it is the intention of the Records Sub-Committee that a high standard of accuracy should be achieved. Observers are reminded of the need of full and complete descriptions of uncommon and difficult species as well as those listed as British Birds Rarities. Such descriptions will greatly reduce and simplify the work of the Committee as it becomes increasingly demanding in time, effort and expense to refer back to the observer if more information is required. Field descriptions written
Black Grouse (Hilary Chambers)
before reference to any text books, should be submitted as soon as possible after the bird has been seen, together with details of the locality, date, time, weather conditions, optical aids used etc. A standardised description form can be downloaded here. In addition to the uncommon and difficult species listed below, descriptions should also be provided to support records of migrants out of season, commoner birds in unusual circumstances, or uncommon races of species such gulls and warblers (eg. Kumlien’s Gull, various Yellow Wagtail races, Eastern Lesser Whitethroat, Siberian Chiffchaff, Northern Treecreeper and Northern Bullfinch).
The Records Sub-Committee employs a two-tier system for records of scarce and rare birds. The following species require a full and detailed description in all cases, note that the recorder(s) will not be chasing anyone for descriptions. If you wish for your records to be included in annual reports it is the observers/finders responsibility to write a description:
Taiga Bean Goose, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Surf Scoter, White-billed Diver, Cory’s Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Wilson’s Petrel, Leach’s Petrel, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Stone Curlew, American Golden Plover, Kentish Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Grey Phalarope, White-winged Black Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Alpine Swift, Bee-eater, Red-footed Falcon, Golden Oriole, Woodchat Shrike, Chough, Penduline Tit, Crested Tit, Woodlark, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Cetti’s Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Radde’s Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Nightingale, Bluethroat (White-spotted), Red-flanked Bluetail, Citrine Wagtail, Olive-backed Pipit, Common Rosefinch, Coues Arctic Redpoll, Parrot Crossbill, Serin, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, and Little Bunting.
The Records Sub-Committee also considers the following additional species, whilst a complete description is not required in all cases, we would encourage individuals to write a one. Especially involving records that are solely fly overs. On occasions the Sub-Committee can request further information for any record where it is thought further evidence is required to meet acceptance:
Tundra Bean Goose, Bewick’s Swan, Snow Goose, Red-crested Pochard, Red & Black Grouse (away from breeding areas), Balearic Shearwater, White Stork, Great White Egret, Spoonbill, Goshawk (coastal), Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Crane, Dotterel, Temminck’s Stint, Long-tailed Skua, Black Guillemot, Sabine’s Gull, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Firecrest, Bearded Tit, Pallas’s Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Barred Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Bluethroat, Bluethroat (Red-throated), Red-breasted Flycatcher, Richard’s Pipit, Water Pipit.
Please note that DBC rarities Sub-Committee work with TBC and respect their independent verdicts on species within the TBC recording boundary. Note that they have different species in their two-tier system (Tundra Bean Goose & Great White Egret just two examples).
Decisions on the records of all these species will be determined on a three-quarter majority vote. It must be emphasised that any record which is rejected does not necessarily mean that a bird has been misidentified, but usually that there is insufficient information to convince the Sub-Committee. All records of species considered by BBRC are forwarded to their Secretary as soon as possible together with any additional information the Sub-Committee may have. It is the policy of Durham Bird Club to abide by the decision of BBRC. The annual report contains no records that have been rejected by BBRC although occasionally records are included where the decision is still awaited.
Siberian Accentor (Helen Jackson)