Gloucestershire birds book result of massive team effort
Hundreds of birders have surveyed thousands of kilometres of Gloucestershire to produce the most definitive study of the county’s bird life ever.
The project leader and one of the two main editors, along with John Philips, is Gordon Kirk.
Mr Kirk, who lives in Frampton on Severn paid tribute to the huge efforts to produce the book made by volunteers. He said: “It’s been a seven year project.
The first four years were just taken up by fieldwork.”
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The entire county was divided into more than 600 two kilometre-wide squares and allocated to one of more than 200 volunteers.
They went out in sun and rain, winter or summer and noted down every bird they spotted over those four years.
The results were then collated and edited by Mr Kirk and Mr Philips, who lives in the Forest of Dean.
The results have been written up and illustrated by photos taken by local birdwatchers and paintings and drawing by famous bird artist, including Sir Peter Scott, Robert Gillmor and Stroud-based artist Jackie Garner.
Now Mr Kirk and Mr Philips are relaxing after years of hard work and feeling happy to have the preview copies in their hands.
Mr Kirk said: “One of the stand-out things is the quality of the artwork. We had 26 photographers and 26 completely separate illustrators , it really is lavish and well-produced. I’m so pleased to see the finished product after such a mammoth task.”
Handsome thought the 336-page book is, it’s also an important scientific document, the most comprehensive bird record for the county.
Mr Kirk said: “We’ve produced a proper baseline, so if someone does this in 10 or 20 years time they can make a proper comparison.”
Although birds are declining countrywide, there are some good news stories in Gloucestershire. Birds which inhabit farming areas and have really suffered nationally, have not done as badly in the Cotswolds as elsewhere.
Water birds are doing better in the county than they were doing years ago and the main towns are a haven for blackcaps and waxwings in winter.
Mr Kirk added: “Red Kites are back and buzzards are all over and big birds like herons are also doing better.”
The Birds of Gloucestershire will be launched at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s AGM on November 16. It is published by the University of Liverpool Press and will be available for £45.