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Oldest Oystercatcher , Volunteers needed to help save Britain`s mammals & Fast Food Outlets?

Volunteers needed to help save Britain`s mammals

Volunteers across the country are needed to take part in an innovative project designed to tell us more about Britain`s mammal populations ? whether water voles are going to survive the threat of extinction or if grey squirrel numbers are on the increase. Chairman of The Mammal Society, Professor Stephen Harris said The Winter Mammal Monitoring project provides an excellent opportunity for everybody who is interested in wildlife to contribute to our understanding of Britain`s mammals. Volunteers will be asked to visit an area near their home looking for any mammals that they see and any signs of mammals such as footprints or droppings that they can find.

Volunteer for the Winter Mammal Monitoring project, Vicky Harrison, 26 said I went out with my Dad to an area near where we live which had a canal, a bit of scrubland, part of the local park and a school playing field in it. Although it wasn`t very rural we had a really nice walk and saw 3 feral cats, 2 grey squirrels and a red fox. I am looking forward to going back again and seeing whether we can find any signs of water voles by the canal.

Director of the BTO, Dr Jeremy Greenwood, who is taking part in the project said ?Information collected by the volunteers over the course of the project not only tells us about mammal populations in the UK but may also provide vital information about the state of Britain`s countryside.Notes

To volunteer for the Winter Mammal Monitoring project or for further information contact: The Mammal Society on 020 7498 4358 or enquiries@mammal.org.uk or the BTO on 01842 750050 or mammals@bto.org. Winter Mammal Monitoring is a joint project of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and The Mammal Society which is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.Oldest Oystercatcher

Members of the Wash Wader Ringing Group, ringing birds in Lincolnshire, recently caught the oldest known wading bird in the British Isles. The Oystercatcher, which had first been caught in 1967, was 35 years old.

On Saturday 7 September 2002 a catch of 26 Oystercatchers was made at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire which included one bird which was ringed at Snettisham, Norfolk on 13 August 1967! This bird sets a new Oystercatcher longevity record for Britain and Ireland. A group photo was taken of the Oystercatcher along with all the team members present at the catch who were younger than the bird!

Most Oystercatchers which spend the autumn and winter on the Wash breed in Norway. When first caught this bird was a youngster, probably newly arrived from Scandinavia. Having had ring numbered ED00745 put on it probably spent its first eighteen months feeding on cockles and mussels on the Wash estuary. Since then it will probably have flown to Norway each year to raise a family. The bird was previously caught on 1 August 2000 at Friskney, just a couple of miles from Wainfleet.Fast Food Outlets

Britain`s birds increasingly reliant on bird feeders.Results from the BTO`s 2001/2002 Garden Bird Feeding Survey show that many species are becoming increasingly reliant on food supplied by bird-lovers. Although seven species were at an all-time high, House Sparrow numbers continued to fall.

A detailed survey of birds using 277 gardens across the UK shows that for seven species ? Great Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Wood Pigeon, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Pheasant ? last winter`s numbers were higher than ever before.

David Glue, writing in the latest issue of BTO News, highlighted three reasons for the high figures: lack of key wild-fruits in the hedgerows and woodland, an increasing reliance upon gardens and improved seed-mixes and food provision.Species at all-time low levels in 2001/2002 were House Sparrow, Starling, Reed Bunting and Black-headed Gull, the first three of which are Red-listed on the Birds of Conservation Concern list for 2002-2007.

Unusual visitors to Garden Bird Feeding Survey gardens included Red Kite, the 162nd species to be seen eating at volunteers` feeding stations in the 32 year history of the survey.

The BTO is always looking for volunteers to take part in its garden bird surveys. For an information pack about membership of Garden BirdWatch and to receive a free issue of Bird Table, the Garden BirdWatch magazine, please phone 01842 750050.

4th July 2014