14 St Vincent Road

Tain, United Kingdom

14 St Vincent Road

Tain, United Kingdom
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Foster S.,Alton Hill | Swann R.L.,14 St Vincent Road | Furness R.W.,University of Glasgow
Bird Study | Year: 2017

Capsule: Long-term population trends of gulls on the Isle of Canna, Scotland, showed a correlation to fish tonnage landed in a nearby port. Aims: To assess whether gull numbers and breeding success at Canna have been influenced by the amount of fish discarded in the area. Methods: We examined data on gull breeding numbers, breeding success and diet studied at Canna from 1969 to 2014, and data on fish landings at the nearby port of Mallaig for 1985 to 2014. We examined correlations between gull and fishery data, and performed a detrended analysis of Herring Gull Larus argentatus numbers in relation to demersal fish catch (the latter as a proxy for discard volumes). Results: Gulls fed extensively on discards. Gull breeding numbers declined at Canna, especially between 2000 and 2006, the decline being more pronounced than seen in national totals. Gull breeding numbers correlated with demersal landings, even after detrending for long-term decreases in both. Conclusions: Correlation between detrended Herring Gull breeding numbers and detrended demersal fish landings provided strong evidence for a causal link between fishery discarding and gull breeding numbers. © 2017 British Trust for Ornithology.

Lawrie Y.,University of Aberdeen | Swann R.,14 St Vincent Road | Stronach P.,Clachan | Perlman Y.,Israel Ornithological Center | Collinson J.M.,University of Aberdeen
Ostrich | Year: 2017

Golden Nightjar Caprimulgus eximius is an apparently sedentary sub-Saharan species with a breeding range extending from Senegal and Mauritania to Sudan. Although genetic studies of nightjars and related Caprimulgiformes have been published previously, none has included Golden Nightjar. In this study, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA of a Golden Nightjar found dead in Western Sahara in April 2016 was sequenced and compared with other species in the genus Caprimulgus. It was concluded with strong support that Golden Nightjar is closely related to Egyptian Nightjar C. aegyptius. It is hypothesised that Golden and Egyptian Nightjars may have arisen by splitting of a single ancestral species into migratory and sedentary populations. © 2017 NISC (Pty) Ltd

Mitchell C.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust | Cranswick P.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust | Mitev D.,Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds | Quinn J.,University College Cork | And 2 more authors.
Wildfowl | Year: 2015

Biometrics were taken from 242 Red-breasted Geese Branta ruficollis caught in summer on the Taimyr, Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas, arctic Russia in 1996 and 2007-2014, and from 94 birds during four catches on the wintering grounds in Bulgaria in 2011-2014. These biometrics represent the first published data of body measurements, flat wing lengths and mass for Red-breasted Geese using sample sizes of more than 14 birds. Males were larger than females amongst adults and first-winter birds. Adult male body mass was lower in winter than during moult, whereas females showed no significant difference. In common with some other arctic-moulting goose species, the mass of most adult geese remained constant throughout the flightless moult period; however, the mass of non-breeding adult females declined. An index of adult winter flat wing length x body mass was a 100% accurate predictor of sex determined by cloacal eversion (n = 22), but was less successful in determining the sex of first-winter birds (92-93%, n = 27). ©2015 Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

Swann R.L.,14 St Vincent Road | Dillon I.A.,57 Broad Street | Insley H.,1 Drummond Place | Mainwood T.,4 Ben Bhraggie Drive
Ringing and Migration | Year: 2014

Linnets Linaria cannabina were caught in northern and eastern Scotland from winter 2003/04 to 2012/13, with the majority of catches in low-lying agricultural areas around the Moray Firth. Although most birds breeding around the Moray Firth were sedentary, birds from further north and west in Highland and Orkney undertook long-distance movements to wintering sites, mainly in the Moray Firth area. Within a winter, movements were short, mostly within 5 km of the original trapping site. There was little variation in the median distance moved as the winter progressed. In subsequent winters, there was a tendency for some birds to switch wintering areas, with significantly fewer being found within 5 km of the original catching site. Catches in northwest Sutherland in spring showed high site fidelity in subsequent summers. During the current study no Scottish birds were recovered abroad and the percentage of long distance movements was not significantly different from birds ringed in other areas of Britain and Ireland. © 2014 © 2014 British Trust for Ornithology.

Summers R.W.,Lismore | Palsson S.,University of Iceland | Corse C.,Garrisdale | Etheridge B.,Beechgove | And 2 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2013

Capsule Sex ratios were determined for 11 wader species at the northern end of the East Atlantic flyway in winter. The ratio was even for six species, there were more males for four species, and more females for one species.Aims To describe the sex ratio of adult waders in northern Scotland and examine departures from parity.Methods Molecular sexing and biometrics were used to estimate the sex ratio (percentage male) in adult populations of 11 waders wintering on estuaries and open shores in northern Scotland (Moray Firth and Orkney), at the northern part of the East Atlantic flyway. Departures from parity were examined in relation to three possibilities: (1) that there was local variation in the distribution of the sexes; (2) that the sexes differed in their winter ranges and (3) that there was an uneven sex ratio in the entire population.Results The percentage of males did not differ significantly from 50% for Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling and Turnstone. There were significant differences from parity for Oystercatcher, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Curlew at some sites, suggesting local segregation of the sexes that may be related to habitat. It was difficult to examine possibilities 2 and 3 due to the lack of data from other parts of the flyway. Only some populations of Purple Sandpipers and perhaps Bar-tailed Godwits exhibited an uneven sex ratio in favour of males across the flyway. For these species, the uneven sex ratio in favour of males was already apparent in first-year birds, showing that higher mortality amongst juvenile females, rather than higher mortality amongst breeding females probably causes the imbalance.Conclusion Some waders showed significant deviations from parity in their sex ratio. These may be due to sex-dependent habitat selection and differential mortality rates. © 2013 British Trust for Ornithology.

Reynolds T.J.,University of St. Andrews | Harris M.P.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | King R.,University of St. Andrews | Swann R.L.,14 St Vincent Road | And 3 more authors.
Ibis | Year: 2011

Spatiotemporal variation in survival may be an important driver of multi-population dynamics in many wild animal species, yet few scientific studies have addressed this issue, primarily due to a lack of sufficiently comprehensive and detailed datasets. Synchrony in survival rates among different, often distant, subpopulations appears to be common, caused by spatially correlated environmental conditions or by movement of animals from different sites such that their ranges overlap. Many seabird populations are effectively isolated during the breeding season because colonies are widely separated, but over the winter, birds disperse widely and there may be much mixing between different populations. The non-breeding season is also the period of main mortality for seabirds. Using mark-recapture and ring-recovery data, we tested for spatial, temporal and age-related correlations in survival of Common Guillemots Uria aalge among three widely separated Scottish colonies that have varying overlap in their overwintering distributions. Survival was highly correlated over time for colonies/age-classes sharing wintering areas and, except in 2004, was essentially uncorrelated for those with separate wintering areas. These results strongly suggest that one or more aspects of the winter environment are responsible for spatiotemporal variation in survival of British Guillemots, and provide insight into the factors driving large-scale population dynamics of the species. © 2011 The Authors. Ibis © 2011 British Ornithologists' Union.

Hallgrimsson G.T.,University of Iceland | Hallgrimsson G.T.,Iceland and Reykjanes Environmental Research Institute | Summers R.W.,Lismore | Etheridge B.,Beechgove | Swann B.R.L.,14 St Vincent Road
Ardea | Year: 2012

Iceland has a large resident population of Purple Sandpipers Calidris maritima, but is also believed to be a wintering area for other populations and is a stopover site for migrants. To determine the wintering areas of those that prepare for westward migration to the Nearctic in spring, Purple Sandpipers were colour-ringed on the coast of southwest Iceland in May 2003 and 2005. We searched for colour-ringed birds along the coasts of Iceland, the European mainland and Britain, particularly in winter 2005/06. Out of 326 marked birds, 82 were re-sighted during 2003 to 2009, of which 69 were seen during winter (October to March) 2005/06. Most sightings (55) in winter 2005/06 were from southwest Iceland, extending the known winter range of this population to Iceland. Resightings from northern Scotland confirmed the evidence from biometrics that this wintering population originates from the Nearctic. The maximum number of colour-marked Purple Sandpipers in Britain and Ireland in winter 2005/06 was estimated at about 65, which was approximately a quarter of the marked sample estimated to be alive. Therefore, the majority of the colour-ringed birds must have wintered elsewhere, most likely in Iceland. There was no evidence of sexual segregation according to whether they wintered in Iceland or Britain. However, those that were colour-ringed before 15 May were more likely to be seen in Iceland than in Britain, whereas those colour-ringed after 15 May were more likely to be seen in Britain, indicating that the migration from Britain takes place mainly after mid-May. Although there have been no ringing recoveries, biometry data suggest that Purple Sandpipers that prepare for westward migration in Iceland in spring, breed in Canada. This population shows a unique winter range for a wader that includes Greenland, Iceland and northwest Europe along the East Atlantic flyway.

Summers R.W.,Lismore | Palsson S.,University of Iceland | Etheridge B.,Beechgove | Foster S.,8 Bishops View | Swann B.,14 St Vincent Road
Wader Study Group Bulletin | Year: 2013

We analysed the biometrics of molecularly-sexed Eurasian Curlews of the arquata subspecies to determine the most accurate means of identifying sex using measurements. We found that bill length alone could be used to predict the sex of most curlews (64/67 or 95.5%) and that the inclusion of wing length did not improve the proportion sexed correctly. In the Appendix we provide instructions on how to determine the sex and sex-ratio of adult Eurasian Curlews. © 2013, International Wader Study Group. All rights reserved.

Summers R.W.,Lismore | Underhill L.G.,University of Cape Town | Waltner M.,5 Montagu Way | Swann R.L.,14 St Vincent Road
Ibis | Year: 2010

We describe the migration, biometrics and moult of Red Knot Calidris canutus canutus in southern Africa and compare them with the biometrics and moult of Calidris canutus islandica in northern Europe to examine possible adaptations to different environments during the non-breeding season. Northward and southward migration of C. c. canutus took place along the coast of Western Europe and there was one recovery in West Africa (Mauritania), suggesting a coastal migration round West Africa rather than migration across the Sahara, as recorded in other waders. Adult Knots in South Africa had no additional fattening in November-January (fat index of 7%), in contrast to C. c. islandica wintering in Britain. This is consistent with the theory that extra fat is required only where food shortages are likely. The bills of canutus were longer than those of islandica but their wings were shorter, confirming the sub-specific assignments and origin of this population. The average duration of primary moult in South Africa was 95 days, shorter than that of other Arctic-breeding waders that moult in South Africa, but longer than of islandica moulting in Scotland (77 days). Mean starting and completion dates were 20 July and 5 October for islandica and 25 October and 28 January for canutus. The timing and duration of primary moult for these two subspecies suggest that waders need to complete moult before the northern winter when food supplies are limited, whilst waders in benign climates face no such pressures. First-year canutus either retained old primaries for much of their first year or had a partial moult of inner or other primaries. Adults departed on northward migration in mid-April, having attained a mean departure mass of c. 190 g (maximum 232 g). The mean fat index at this time was 24% (maximum 29%) and the fat-free flight muscle mass increased. The predicted flight range of 4000 km falls short of the distance to the first likely refuelling site in West Africa, suggesting that birds rely on assistance from favourable winds. © 2009 British Ornithologists' Union.

Summers R.W.,Lismore | Foster S.,Scottish Natural Heritage | Swann B.,14 St Vincent Road | Etheridge B.,Beechgrove
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2012

Declines in numbers by several wader species in Britain have been linked to climate change, but the mechanism for the declines has rarely been explored. Britain lies at the northern end of the East Atlantic Flyway, and supports 1.3 million out of the Flyway's 8.5 million coastal waders (Charadrii) in winter and the Purple Sandpiper is one of the species whose numbers have declined. Here, we examine the dynamics of the decline as observed in the Moray Firth, northeast Scotland, investigating whether the decline was due to poorer apparent survival (return rate) or poorer recruitment of young birds. The maximum number in the Moray Firth declined from 860 in 1987/88 to 236 in 2006/07, with some increase during winters 2007/08 and 2008/09. At the three main high-tide roosts (Balintore, Lossiemouth and Buckie) the maximum combined number declined from 574 to 90. Changes in survival and recruitment (percentage of first-year birds) were examined at these roosts from captured samples, which were ringed and recaptured. There were no significant changes between winters in survival rates, nor were there differences between the survival rates of age groups (first-year and adult) or bill size groups, which represented birds of different sex and breeding origin. Annual survival estimates for the three roosts ranged from 72 to 77%. The percentage of first-year birds varied among roosts and years; the lowest values were during the late 1980s/early 1990s and early 2000s. A free-running population model incorporating varying percentages of first-year birds and constant mortality for each roost provided a plausible explanation for the decline. Although modelled numbers followed the observed pattern, a discrepancy in one year was carried forward in subsequent years, so that the fit with the observed numbers was parallel rather than similar. However, it seems that the decline in numbers was largely due to poorer recruitment. We discuss whether breeding success had declined, whether the population had responded to changes in the local sewage treatment systems, which could affect invertebrate food for Purple Sandpipers, or whether fewer birds chose to winter in Scotland. The Moray Firth population is derived from Norway and possibly Canada, and there is evidence that the Norwegian population was disproportionately affected. The reason for poor recruitment requires further study, and other wader species require examination to test if poor recruitment is a common feature of decline in numbers. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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