As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Birders compile 500-page labour of love

For four years, a band of 600 birders roamed the wilds of northern England carrying out the biggest bird survey of its kind for a quarter of a century. The result - the Northumbria Bird Atlas - is a 512-page doorstopper. But what motivated the twitchers to take on the mammoth task?

Armed with cameras, and out in all weathers, they checked every rustle in a bush or chirp in a tree.

They recorded almost 200 bird species from the River Tyne to the River Tweed, clocking up 10,000 hours and covering almost 2,900 sq miles (7,510 sq km).

During the long years of counting, bird club member Tim Dean achieved the birders' equivalent of the Holy Grail when he snapped a squacco heron in Morpeth in 2010.

It has only ever been spotted three times in the county - once in 1874 when it it was mistaken for an owl and shot dead.

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