BTO Surveys

By Harry Green, BTO Regional Representative for Worcestershire

Breeding Waders of Wet Meadows Survey - 2001

This is a repeat of the survey carried out in 1982. The aim is to assess changes in breeding wader numbers on wet grassland in the last 19 years, thereby indicating changes in the quality of this important habitat. The primary objective is to survey the same sites as in 1982. In addition to also survey any new wet grasslands have appeared since then. Most of the Worcestershire sites are on the Avon and Severn flood plains, with a few in the Teme valley and near Kidderminster.

Surveyors will be provided with a map showing the boundaries of the site and it is important to cover all of that area to produce a result comparable with 1982. The survey method is to visit the area on three occasions between mid-April and the end of June, with the visits about two weeks apart. Ideal dates are first between 14-30 April, second between 1-21 May, and third between 22nd May and 24th June. Each part of the area is to be visited and waders seen marked on the map using the codes given in the survey instructions. Although the prime targets are waders, surveyors are asked to count ducks and note and yellow wagtails or meadow pipits.

Full instructions and recording forms are provided.

If you would like to take part in this survey please contact me as soon as possible. I need to tell BTO what areas I can cover/not cover by end of February.

The BTO/JNCC Winter Farmland Bird Survey is now in its second of three winters and we have improved coverage with 18 of possible 58 1x1 km squares now being surveyed. These squares are mainly those randomly selected originally for the Breeding Bird Survey or Wintering skylark survey. This is a field by field survey and if anyone would like to participate next winter please let me know.

Breeding Bird Survey

Once again I thought we would hit the jackpot with all of our 51 1x1 km squares surveyed. We nearly did so with only one square not surveyed, although in two other squares only there was only one visit instead of two, due to bad weather. This important survey now provides the basic on-going monitoring system for many bird species. The methodology has been described in previous numbers of the Worcestershire Record. If you would like to take part please let me know.

Peregrine Survey 2001

This is very similar in organisation to the 1991 survey and is organised by BTO Scotland and mainly carried out by specialist raptor groups. We have very few breeding peregrines in Worcestershire but if any reader wishes to pass on any information to me it will of course be treated in confidence.


I have received a request for information on this elusive species via the RSPB.. There is concern that it is declining but there is little information available and hawfinches are not covered by any of the monitoring schemes. I know they did, perhaps still do, occur in small numbers, especially in west Worcestershire. If anyone can provide any information about past and present places where they occur I should be pleased to hear from you.

Garden Birdwatch

Nationally about 15,000 people now undertake this survey - I think about 400 in Worcestershire. This vast sample is providing fascinating information on the variation in bird numbers and species in gardens through the year, and is becoming another useful monitoring system.

An offshoot, the Garden BirdWatch Breeding Birds Survey 2000, is also providing interesting new data with, for the first time, estimates of the numbers of birds breeding in gardens throughout the country. First estimates suggest that 17 millions pairs of birds breed in gardens! So some previous national estimates of numbers in the whole country are probably too low! There are far more birds in towns, suburbs and villages, of a small ranges of species, than in the farmed countryside!

If you would like to take part in this survey contact Garden BirdWatch, British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford. Norfolk, IP24 2PU. Tel 01842 750050. Or look at the BTO web site: Or contact me.

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