Field observations mainly in the 1940s and comparison with recent records. Adam Watson as a schoolboy made field observations on birds in north-east Scotland during the 1940s and early 1950s. These are of special interest because hardly any local ornithologists lived there, and his main set of observations is published here for the first time. As well as accounts for all species seen, there is detailed information on several species whose status has changed greatly since: declines of breeding greenshanks and ring ouzels, and rapid increases in the proportions of feral doves and carrion crows. These and other observations form a useful baseline for comparison with what is now being seen and recorded by hundreds of ornithologists living in and visiting the area. Ian Francis came to north-east Scotland in the early 1990s and has taken part in many aspects of local ornithology. He was first editor of a major book: The Breeding Birds of North-East Scotland, published in 2011, which documents the current breeding distributions of birds and assesses changes over 40 years, allowing a modern perspective on Adam Watson's observations from the mid-1900s. The current book by Adam Watson and Ian Francis, Birds in north-east Scotland then and now, also includes a previously unpublished account of long-term research by Adam Watson, Rik Smith and Mick Marquiss on summering snow buntings, one of the UK's rarest regularly breeding birds.
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