Apologies to anyone/everyone who has had problems logging on to the Birdblog over the last few days - server issues are driving me insane.
Rest assured the finest brains in IT land are currently trying to address the glitches in our network's software, or at least I think that's what they said.
Robins starting to "tic" like crazy round the garden at Dempsey Towers now, but the summer's Swifts are still sticking around.
Meanwhile, here's a glum tale for lovers of seabirds everywhere, running on the PA newswires yesterday. The pic above is by Maurice McDonald/PA Wire.
TRAWL-FISHING THREAT TO ENDANGERED SEABIRDS
By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent
Thousands of birds could be dying because of trawl fishing each year in one seabird hotspot, according to a study which highlights the danger the industry poses to threatened species such as albatrosses.
Research published in the journal Animal Conservation looked at the effect on birds of fishing with nets by 14 different vessels in the Benguela Current, off South Africa.
At least 30 birds were killed in 190 hours of scientific observation, the majority of them albatrosses, while hundreds more collided with fishing equipment.
The study estimated that the fishery as a whole could be claiming 18,000 seabirds a year, with around 12,000 albatrosses killed.
The vessels studied were trawling for hake and most of the bird deaths were the result of collision with wires known as warp lines which come from the stern of the boats.
According to the chairman of Birdlife's global seabird programme, John Croxall, the total global mortality of seabirds from trawl fisheries may be many times the estimate for the South African fishery.
"We believe the seabird deaths the scientists recorded might be just the tip of the iceberg. It suggests that around 18,000 seabirds may be killed annually in this fishery alone.
"Most mortality relates to the dumping of fishing waste behind the boat. This attracts seabirds which can either hit the warp lines or become entangled in the nets," he said.
Species killed during the study included black-browed and shy albatrosses, as well as the Cape gannet, white-chinned petrel and sooty shearwater.
Prof Croxall said because the species included ones which travelled from the Indian Ocean, South Georgia and Australasia, the impact of the one fishery had "widespread geographical repercussions".
And, he said: "Potential mortality at this scale for albatrosses is unsustainable."
The black-browed albatross is listed by the IUCN Red List - the international inventory of threatened species - as endangered because numbers have fallen by two thirds in 65 years, while the shy albatross is considered to be near-threatened.
According to the RSPB, fisheries are the most significant threat to the world's 22 types of albatross - 18 of which are facing extinction - with an estimated 100,000 of the birds killed each year.
Birdlife International wants to see measures to prevent birds dying implemented immediately, and for them to be made a requirement for the relevant fisheries.
A world without albatrosses (or even Sooty Shearwaters) doesn't sound much fun.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...