Nightingale Survey - Worcestershire 1999 Results

By Harry Green
Known site no 10 km square Site name Grid reference Number singing 1999
SO73Castlemorton CommonSO7913961
SO73Gadbury BankSO7933163
3SO74Assarts Rd Malvern WellsSO7864760
1SO74Coombe Hill, CoddingtonSO7244220
5SO74Langdale WoodSO7914259
SO74Malvern, GreatSO7834592
SO74Malvern, Leigh Sinton RdSO7744911
4SO74Malvern LinkSO7864760
2SO74Whitmans Hill CoppiceSO7514780
SO75Easinghope Farm, BroadwasSO7435742
SO76Hockham's Farm, Martley SO7636301
9SO83Boat House, TewkesburySO8803151
10SO83Brockeridge CommonSO8853801
8SO83near RippleSO8783790
11SO83near TewkesburySO8873870
6SO83Swinley GreenSO8403220
SO83Upper StrenshamSO8933951
SO84Brotheridge GreenSO8274132
18SO84Church Cover, CroomeSO8874530
12SO84Deblin's GreenSO8244920
21SO84Defford AirfieldSO8934502
16SO84High GreenSO8794521
19SO84Marsh CommonSO8934233
14SO84Menagerie Wood, CroomeSO8744441
22SO84Narrow Wood, WadboroughSO8984781
SO84Northmoor CommonSO8614721
13SO84Old HillsSO8294831
20SO84Salt Baths covert, CroomeSO8934360
15SO84Trout Pools Covert, CroomeSO8754591
17SO84Viners Plantation, CroomeSO8784720
SO84Wadborough RailwaySO8934791
25SO86Bowling Green InnSO8636210
24SO86Hawford WoodSO8446040
26SO86Westwood ParkSO8856350
SO87Burlish Top, KidderminsterSO8057381
27SO87Wilden Marsh SO8257730
28SO93Long Green, AshchurchSO9453340
32SO94Caldewell Mill, WadboroughSO9134811
30SO94Croome Perry WoodSO9004630
33SO94Deerfold Wood, WadboroughSO9144771
35SO94Dufty Coppice, WadboroughSO9194850
38SO94Lodge Wood, Drakes BroughtonSO9274800
31SO94North Covert, StrenshamSO9114090
34SO94Strensham WaterworksSO9184004
37SO94Tiddesley WoodSO9274520
41SO95Bow WoodSO9435570
39SO95Fillet Wood, Sale GreenSO9255800
42SO95Grafton WoodSO9735620
43SO95Lower Kite's WoodSO9785650
44SO95Round Hill WoodSO9855830
40SO95Trench WoodSO9255850
45SO96Goose Hill WoodsSO9356080
SO96Upton WarrenS09376762
SP03Bow Meadow FarmSP0663572
SP03Peasebrook FarmSP0773721
SP03Wormington BrakeSP0553633
46SP04Wood Norton WoodsSP0154720
SP06Conduit Coppice, RedditchSP0936781

Total 5910x10 km square (or part)1976198019981999
SO 56100
SO 660001
SO 732046
SO 74631112
SO 752002
SO 761001
SO 770000
SO 831024
SO 8429716
SO 850000
SO 863501
SO 871001
SO 930000
SO 94101496
SO 95502400
SO 962802
SO 970000
SP 036686
SP 040100
SP 0511000
SP 06--11
SP 07--00
SP 13--00
SP 14--00
Survey report totals - see text9266NANA
Table 2. Numbers of nightingales recorded in 10x10 km squares during the BTO 1976 and 1980 surveys, reported in 1998, and recorded in 1999 BTO survey.

Table 2 gives the results of the BTO surveys in 1976 and 1980 together with the response to a general appeal for records of nightingales in 1998 and the BTO 1999 survey The totals in the survey reports, Hudson (1979) and Davies (1982). are slightly different because the BTO received some information which escaped me, and Worcester & Hereford were lumped together, and slightly different boundaries were used. The downward trend remains the same and actually appears greater from the survey reports. . These results with illustrative maps were published in Worcestershire Wildlife News (Green 1994)

Although considerable efforts were made in the two BTO surveys it is likely that the totals are lower than the actual numbers of birds simply because it was difficult to visit every likely site in early summer in one year. Similarly the 1998 results are from a simple appeal for information made in Worcestershire Wildlife News, Worcestershire Record, and through press releases taken up by the media and local radio. The media take-up was good because we made use of the BTO's National Nightingale Appeal to gain publicity. It is quite likely than the actual county coverage was better in 1998 that in the earlier years!

The 1999 survey was based on visits to sites known to the BTO from earlier surveys, including our 1998 information. It was a "known sites" survey plus any further information we could obtain Once again we obtained quite good publicity via the press, radio and Worcestershire Wildlife News. A glance at the tables may suggest that the nightingale population of Worcestershire had increased between 1998 and 1999 but this is probably not so. The apparent increase is probably related to vagaries of reporting by the general public. However, there were several surprising records west of the Severn including the solitary birds which sang with vigour at Burlish Top, Kidderminster, and was reported by many people. The records near Kyre are also striking as they are a long way from their nearest neighbours.

In 1976 SO 95 way a key square with nightingales in most of the woods. In 1980 best woods were Trench (9), Goosehill (8), Grafton (6), Round Hill (5), Old Yew Hill Wood (5), Tiddesley Wood (9). Most birds now occur further south in SO84

It is obvious that the county's nightingale population, as estimated by singing males, has decreased by at least half over the 23 year period. Nightingales were once much commoner in Worcestershire but have long been less frequent in the NW and W of the Severn. They have gradually decreased, disappearing first from the N and W. For further historical information see my notes in Worcestershire Record No 5 November 1998.

Very many thanks to everyone who helped with this survey by visiting known sites and contacting me either via Worcestershire Wildlife Trust or BTO with records. The information gained, although rather depressing, does give a clear baseline for future surveys.


DAVIES PG 1982 Nightingales in Britain in 1980 Bird Study 29:73-79
GREEN GH 1980 Nightingales in Worcestershire. Worcestershire Nature Conservation Trust Newsletter January 1980 p5
GREEN GH 1981 Nightingales 1980. Worcestershire Nature Conservation Trust Newsletter January 1981 p5
GREEN GH 1994 Focus on nightingales. Worcestershire Wildlife News No 69:14-15 April 1994
HARTHAN AJ 1934 A census of nightingales in S Worcestershire British Birds 28:50-52.
HARTHAN AJ 1946 The Birds of Worcestershire. Worcester: Littlebury
HARTHAN AJ 1961 A revised list of Worcestershire Birds. Trans. Worcs. Nat. Club p 167
HUDSON R 1979 Nightingales in Britain in 1976 Bird Study 26:204-2`12

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