518 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps, tables
North-East Scotland is extraordinarily rich in birds. Over 170 species have nested since 1968, and for 20 of these, the region holds more than 10% of the UK breeding population. These birds are found in a wide range of habitats, from some of the UK's highest mountains to a spectacular and diverse coastline. North-East Scotland holds nationally important concentrations of native pinewoods, coniferous plantations, arctic-alpine land, lowland raised bogs, coastal sand dunes and heaths, with notable proportions of Scotland's Heather moorland, arable farmland and coastal shingle. Many renowned bird localities are also found here, including the Cairngorms, Mar Lodge, Lochnagar, Glen Tanar, Loch Spynie, Findhorn Bay, Loch of Strathbeg, Fowlsheugh, the Moray Firth, and the Ythan estuary.
This account of the breeding birds covers Moray, Aberdeenshire, and Aberdeen City – almost 4% of the UK land area and 11% of Scotland, and includes close to half of the Cairngorms National Park. lt is the largest 'tetrad'-scale atlas ever undertaken and maps the distributions of all breeding birds during the period 2002-2006. As the first local breeding bird atlas repeated for any part of Scotland, it also makes comparisons with earlier local and national atlases. In total, 350 observers took part, with 60 of these also writing the species accounts. Altogether 62 photographers contributed a wide range of images which illustrate breeding activity.
The distributions of most of the breeding species recorded during 2002-2006 are mapped, and, for each, its habitat, breeding biology, local breeding status, and distribution are summarised. Where possible, information has been updated to 2009. An estimate of the breeding population is provided, along with evidence for change in distribution and numbers. The geography and habitat context in which our breeding birds are found is described in some detail, as are the main influences on their distribution and trends in numbers – issues that are critical to bird conservation in contemporary North-East Scotland.
Chapter 1. Survey methods and data analysis 1
Chapter 2. The bird habitats, landscape and land use of North-East Scotland 9
Chapter 3. The breeding birds of North-East Scotland: species accounts 39
Chapter 4. Distribution patterns and species richness 431
Chapter 5. Changes in bird distribution and numbers 447
Chapter 6. Conservation of the breedings birds of North-East Scotland 455
Annex 1. Acknowledgements and list of contributors, photographers and sponsors 487
Annex 2. Atlas facts and figures, North-East Scotland and some comparisons 489
Annex 3. Further details of methods and coverage 490
Annex 4. Population estimates and status information 493
Annex 5. Scientific names of species mentioned in the text 501
Annex 6. Glossary 502
Annex 7. Gazetteer and index of sites mentioned in the text 503
Index of birds and subjects 510
The Scottish Ornithologists' Club 518
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Ian Francis has lived in North-East Scotland for almost 20 years and is Area Manager for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He was founding chair of the North-East Scotland Biological Records Centre, is a member of the Grampian Ringing Group and is Osprey coordinator for the North-East Scotland Raptor Study Group. He has been an editor ofthe North-East Scotland Bird Report and the Scottish Ornithologists' Club's Scottish Birds. A member of the UK Rare Breeding Birds Panel, he has worked on birds in Africa and in the arctic and has a keen interest in Greenland white-fronted geese. He especially enjoys visiting the vast, rolling tops of the eastern Cairngorms from his home in Alford in Aberdeenshire, where he lives with his wife and son.
Martin Cook cut his birding teeth in Oxfordshire before moving to Aberdeen in 1968. Married, with two grown-up sons, he has lived in Moray since 1976, recently retiring as Head of Biology at Speyside High School. He has been Scottish Ornithologists' Club recorder for Moray & Nairn since 1983 and was British Trust for Ornithology Regional Representative for Moray & Nairn for 16 years. Author of the regional avifauna The Birds of Moray and Nairn he has also edited the annual Moray & Nairn Bird Report since 1985. He is a member of the UK Atlas Working Group, an active bird ringer and has particular interests in crested tits and in the birdlife of the lower River Spey, close to his home.