As a, now, avid County lister most of my VC55 life ticks (especially of scarce and rare birds) come from Rutland; so it was a pleasure to be able to read this book published by Rutland stalwart Terry Mitcham. Terry has put in a lot of effort to translate the fieldwork from the BTO Atlas, done in the main by members of the Rutland Natural History Society (RNHS or Rutland Nats as they are affectionately known.
The book starts with a thought provoking forward from Tim Appleton that neatly summarises the gains in Rutland’s breeding birds balanced against the loses as well as his thoughts on the future. I for one will welcome bothe Fan-tailed Warbler and Serin on to my County list… the former onto my British Life List as well. Tim, I hope you’re right!
There then follows a series of discussions on the BTO methodology as well as discussions on the main habitats and factors affecting the distribution of breeding birds in Rutland.
The species accounts themselves, an impressive 105 breeding species, each get a full page. Each features the headline population and the changes against the 1988-1990 atlas and a distribution map showing relative population densities. There is also a short, very readable summary of the fortunes of each species and in some cases a discussion as to what the future might hold – for good or ill. Finally a small but excellent thumbnail sketch by John Wright.
There are also eight colour plates representing some of the winners and losers and the reproduction of these is probably the only weak-spot. The cover photo – a Red Kite is excellent however and it is a bit of a shame the others couldn’t do it justice.
A series of appendices focuses on the contributors, other species recorded during the fieldwork and a look at some former breeding species.
Overall this is an excellent piece of work and just reward for all who made it happen and surely deserves to be read by anyone who birds in the county of Rutland. Very much a case of Multum in Parvo!