The inaugural meeting of the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group took place today (Saturday 17th January) at St. Peters R C School, Stroud Road, Gloucester.
The meeting attended by 60+ people was opened by Gordon Kirk, Gloucestershire representative for the BTO, followed by words of wisdom and fascinating statistics and other information from Steve Watson, Rob Husbands and Nat Wylde. An open forum followed that with various parties giving their ideas of what the group should aspire to do, and how. The most gratifying part of the meeting was simply the sheer numbers attending and the obvious enthusiasm for the subject under discussion.
In essence, the intention is to monitor and record as much as possible about the Raptors in the county, with some species seen as being the most at risk, receiving more attention to try and establish why they are threatened and whether or not anything can be done to revive their fortunes. Notable examples of birds in this category are the Kestrel and Little Owl that show the greatest decline in numbers and breeding productivity in the recent past.
In parallel with the GRMG there is a separate group dedicated to monitoring Barn Owls; the reason for this is that the fieldwork and monitoring for Barn Owls is different from most other Raptors.
Within both groups there is a range of people from self-confessed beginners to real experts with specialist knowledge of certain species that have been much watched and studied – Peregrine, Goshawk, Hobby and the like. The real hands on work will be carried out as it is already by licensed and qualified ringers, but anyone with an interest in birds, and Raptors in particular, can play their part by looking for, watching and recording the birds of prey they see on their “patch” or generally whilst out and about in the county.
You do NOT need to be expert, just enthusiastic and able to collect clear, precise and accurate records and pass them on either direct to GRMG, GBOMP or to Richard Baatsen, the county recorder. The “business cards” for both groups are below with all the necessary contact details and web-site addresses for anyone interested in getting involved.