The Birds of Meirionnydd has just been published by the Cambrian Ornithological Society. Its author, Rhion Pritchard, has made a really good job of writing up the current status of each species recorded in the county. The book is an A5 softback, similar format to the Cambrian Bird Report, with 210 pages plus 8 pages of habitat photos.
The previous county avifauna by Peter Hope Jones was published in 1974 so an update is really needed, especially as much more information is now available on the commoner species because of surveys carried out since then. Rhion draws heavily on BTO surveys including WeBS and the latest Breeding Atlas.
Many species have a much changed status, the Red Kite for example. In 1974 Hope Jones wrote ‘... a pair or two have bred on several occasions in Merioneth’ whereas now ‘Fieldwork for the 2008-12 breeding Atlas recorded this species with breeding codes* in 117 tetrads out of 463, making this the second most widely recorded raptor in the county after the Buzzard’. The Hobby has appeared as a breeding species, but Kestrels and Merlins have declined. Let’s hope this book will stimulate more field trips to track down the more elusive species, such as Nightjar and Long-eared Owl.
*meaning with Atlas codes indicating at least ‘Possible’ breeding
Copies are available from Geoff Gibbs, Fronwen, Valley Road, Llanfairfechan LL33 0ET for £7.50 plus £2 post and packing. Cheques payable to ‘Cambrian OS’ please.