BTO Breeding Nightingale Survey 2012

Harry Green or 01386 710377

BTO Worcestershire Regional Representative

In 2012 BTO will be organising a new national Nightingale survey, following on from the previous surveys. The 2012 survey will investigate distribution and population change; habitat associations; and the proportion of males that are paired. The Nightingale is a declining summer immigrant to Britain, where it is at the north-western edge of its range. Worcestershire is now on the very edge of that range as the distribution here has retracted to the southern parts of the county in the last forty years although occasional birds turn up elsewhere. Numbers are now low. This means that records from Worcestershire are particularly important for following future changes.

The survey is based on tetrads where Nightingales have been recorded for the last ten years including the 1999 survey. The aim is to cover 2700 tetrads nationally. The survey sites will include those occupied in the 1999 survey, as well as additional sites occupied since 2007 (identified from County Reports, BTO Atlases, BirdTrack records, and local knowledge), and a ‘stratified random’ sample of 300 tetrads within the known range.

The survey

The Basic survey (provisionally 27 April – 14 May 2012) will involve two early morning visits (between one hour before sunrise and 0830hrs). Also there is an Optional Nocturnal Survey (provisionally 18 May – 4 June), to help determine the number of paired/unpaired males, which should ideally involve two nocturnal visits (between midnight and 0300hrs). This based on the fact that Nightingale males tend to stop singing when they find a mate and start to nest. Unpaired males sing on into the summer. Any additional visits or casual records would be very welcome.

Table 1. shows the 41 tetrads allocated for surveying in Worcestershire. They are designated either ‘Priority’ and ‘Non-priority’. The outline structure for the survey is as follows:

First survey period: provisionally 27th April to 14th May

1. two daytime visits to every priority tetrad

2. two daytime visits to as many non-priority tetrads as possible

3. additional daytime visits welcome, to any tetrad.


Second survey period: provisionally 18th May to 4th June

1. two nocturnal visits to as many occupied priority tetrads as possible

2. two nocturnal visits to as many occupied non-priority tetrads as possible

3. additional daytime or nocturnal visits welcome, to any tetrad

If you are interested in helping with this survey please contact me soon so tetrads can be allocated to observers. Ideally the same observer should make the nocturnal visits as well as the daytime ones. Of first importance is to survey ‘Priority’ tetrads but it is highly desirable to cover all tetrads allocated especially to document the changes in Worcestershire since earlier surveys.

The emphasis of this survey is firmly on tetrad coverage but any other Nightingale reports (or zero records) from any area will be welcome. For Worcestershire it would be very helpful if records can sent to me. They can also be submitted to BTO via BirdTrack or on casual-record forms (part of the survey documentation).

Tetrad10 km squareSiteNameTetrad type
SO66DSO66Nineholes - KyrewoodPriority
SO74HSO74Old Country HousePriority
SO74USO74Leigh Sinton RoadPriority
SO74WSO74Langdale WoodPriority
SO74XSO74Great MalvernPriority
SO74ZSO74Malvern Spring lane industrial estatePriority
SO75CSO75Bringsty CommonPriority
SO75NSO75Easinghope FarmPriority
SO76KSO76NW of MartleyPriority
SO76RSO76Hockhams Farm - MartleyPriority
SO77VSO77Lickhill Manor Caravan ParkPriority
SO83HSO83Hill Court Farm - LongdonNon Priority
SO83TSO83RippleNon Priority
SO83ZSO83Strensham PoolNon Priority
SO83VSO83Priors ParkNon priority
SO83WSO83Tewkesbury HamPriority
SO83XSO83Mythe RailwayPriority
SO84FSO83Brotheridge GreenPriority
SO84KSO83Upton upon Severn old railwayPriority
SO84LSO84Severn EndNon Priority
SO84RSO84Earls CroomeNon Priority
SO84SSO84High GreenNon Priority
SO84VSO84Strensham M5 ServicesNon Priority
SO84XSO84Defford AirfieldNon Priority
SO84YSO84Lickmoor CoppiceNon Priority
SO84BSO84Hanley SwanPriority
SO84JSO84Old Hills CommonPriority
SO84TSO84Northmoor CommonPriority
SO84WSO84Marsh CommonPriority
SO86DSO86Shrawley Wood areaPriority
SO87BSO87Burlish Top, StourportPriority
SO93ESO93Strensham Water WorksPriority
SO94ASO94South Covert - StrenshamNon Priority
SO94ESO94Caldewell MillNon Priority
SO94SSO94Menagerie WoodNon Priority
SO94DSO94Deerfold WoodPriority
SO96ISO96Upton WarrenNon Priority
SP04USP04Abbots SalfordPriority
SP06YSP06Conduit CoppicePriority

Table 1. Worcestershire tetrads to be covered in the 2012 survey.

In addition, there will be some paid work undertaken for the survey and organised by BTO. The extent of this is dependent on funding and is very uncertain at present. If any keen and competent reader is interested in the possibility of limited short-term work at short notice, if the opportunity arose, please let me know.

If you are interested in the results of earlier surveys and the history of Nightingales in Worcestershire there are two articles in Worcestershire Record (Green 1998 and 1999) which can also be seen on-line at and or even read on paper when you consult your archive of back numbers.


Green, G.H.1998. Nightingales in Worcestershire. Worcestershire Record 5:21-24

Green, G.H. 1999 Nightingale survey Worcestershire 1999 – Results. Worcestershire Record 7:9-10.