House Martin Nest Study 2016 launched today

Help is needed for the new House Martin Survey which is launched today. Called the House Martin Nest Study 2016, it is complementary to last year's survey which was based on random tetrads. It aims to investigate the timing of breeding and the number of broods raised. It is hoped to help find reasons behind differing population trends; declines in some areas, increases in others.
If you can observe a nest or group of nests for a few minutes a week throughout the breeding season (April to September), you can help. It's ok to miss the odd week for holidays. Observations can be made from ground level or from vantage points where nests can be safely viewed, there is no need to look in nests. Most visits will be to note the condition of the nest and any activity that is taking place.
You can pick your own study site and it is ideal for those who have nests on or near to your home, work place or anywhere you visit regularly. The first visit is due in the first half of April.
You find out more information on methodology and register your interest from today at

I hope that this will appeal to many people and there will be a good take up of the survey locally.

Breeding Waders of English Upland Farmland 2016

This year the BTO is running a survey of breeding waders in England. There are tetrads available in upland areas on "in-bye" land, which is the area of farmland just below moorland. As the York Region is basically a lowland area, there are no squares selected for this survey. However, there are squares available nearby in the North York Moors and the Pennines.

Have a look at the BTO website for what the survey entails and to register your interest.

Survey updates - local coverage

House Martin survey

Forty three squares were surveyed this year in the region for the random square component of the survey, out of 45 that were allocated. This is great coverage by volunteer surveyors. There was a total of 62 colonies counted across the region, though many squares had none. Next year there will be a follow up survey which will focus on observations of individual nests to collect information about nesting activity.


So far, data have been returned from 37 BBS squares (out of 43) and 3 WBBS sites (of 4). There is still a possibility of hitting the 40 square target, which would be a record, as at least two other squares have been covered for BBS.

Thank you to all who took part in these surveys.

Woodcock & preliminary Peregrine results published

Visit the BTO's website to read about the decline by 29% since 2003 of Woodcock as revealed by the results of the recent survey -

Also published there are preliminary results from last year's Peregrine survey, showing a general increase, though with significant country and regional differences. This includes shedding more light on what's sadly happening in our uplands. Visit

Simple Goldfinch Survey this winter

What are Goldfinches feeding on in your garden?
The BTO has launched a simple survey today to try to find out.
While Garden BirdWatchers are telling us that Goldfinches are becoming increasingly common in gardens, we don't fully understand the reasons for this. How important is the food we put out or the plants we grow? Do they truly prefer nyger seed or is sunflower seed their choice treat? 
It only takes a couple of minutes for observations and data submission is online.

BBS early August update

Very many thanks to all surveyors who have taken part this year. 
There are 43 squares available in the York Region for the BBS. Of these, so far I have received complete data from 29 squares. I know that two did not get covered but, if most of the remaining 12 were surveyed, we'll still be well up on surpassing the previous record for coverage, which would be excellent.

If observers are still to enter data or return your forms, please try to do this by the end of August as initial processing of data will begin from then.

BBS data return by end of August

Could all BBS surveyors in the region who haven't yet entered their data for the 2015 season please try to finish that before the end of August?
Many thanks