Marsh Award for Local Ornithology

Run in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology, the Marsh Local Ornithology Award, is awarded to a bird club or group that publishes a book, completes a study or conducts any other exceptional activity that advances knowledge about birds.

The 2013 Dr Jim Cassels of the Arran Natural History Society

Jim Cassells has been the Atlas Regional Organiser for the Bird Atlas 2007-2011 project, for the Isle of Arran. Jim is the Bird Recorder for Arran and has created a website during the Atlas fieldwork period to promote the birds of Arran.

During the early stages of the Bird Atlas project, Jim decided it would a good opportunity to attempt a local breeding and wintering atlas of the birds in the region. With so few residents and birdwatchers it was not easy. Jim has undergone tremendous efforts to engage the whole community of Arran, encouraging them to submit records for the Atlas. He has achieved this through articles in the local newspaper, producing regular newsletters, giving talks and building special atlas pages on the Arran birding website to give regular updates and progress. The website encouraged visitors to the island, especially those who visited on a regular basis, to take part and bird walks were organised two or three times a year to give locals valuable fieldwork experience.

This incredible local effort resulted in about 700 people submitting records for the Atlas and 82 people submitting their records online via the Atlas website. They achieved complete coverage of the 139 tetrads on Arran in five winters and five breeding seasons, creating over 36,000 records of 184 species.

Pictured above: A group taking part in the Isle of Arran Wildlife Festival, photograph attributed to Jim Cassels


British Trust for Ornithology
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