2013 BBS report available

The BBS report for 2013 has been published and will be arrive with volunteers shortly. It can be seen online now at www.bto.org/bbs-report-13 which will open up the pdf. Previous reports can be accessed from www.bto.org/bbs-report.

A recent interesting BTO press release shows how data can shed light on changes in populations detected by the BBS. This is about declines in all three species of wagtails that breed in the UK: http://www.bto.org/news-events/press-releases/tale-three-wagtails-familiar-species-decline

Winter Thrush Survey in the region

Over the two winters of 2012/13 and 2013/14, observers in the York Region were involved in the Winter Thrush survey to study numbers and feeding behaviour of thrushes. This covered our resident thrushes as well as the winter visiting Redwing and Fieldfare, in addition Starling and Waxwing were recorded.

The core square part of the survey required counts between Christmas and the early part of January and were randomly selected as part of the survey design. Otherwise methods were the same for these squares as for the squares selected by observers. Visits could be made between September and April, often people visited each month, occasionally more visits were done and sometimes not in all months.

In all, 22 core squares were covered and around 50 further squares selected by observers. That's a really great effort by all involved.

Yorkshire BTO Conference 2015

Advance news - a date of 14th March has been fixed for the next Yorkshire Conference for BTO Members. It will be held at Askham Bryan College near York so should be accessible for our regions' members. The agenda will include a number of speakers to be confirmed.

Bird Atlas Mapstore

This week a new resource on the BTO website came online. It is called Bird Atlas Mapstore and complements the recent Bird Atlas. Here you can interactively browse maps from all the atlases. 

Some of these are maps that couldn't fit into the books, including the 20-year change maps from the most recent atlas. With the ‘slider’ tool you can seamlessly view maps through time and see how bird distributions have changed.

Click on the following link to explore: http://blx1.bto.org/mapstore/StoreServlet.

Peregrine Survey 2014

This spring and summer sees a survey of Peregrines as it is over a decade since the last one. The survey will have a site-based element, primarily covered by raptor groups, and a random square element as well as casual records through BirdTrack.

There will be about a dozen random 5x5km squares selected in the York Region. I am expecting that there will be a need to carry out a thorough search of these 3 times in the season.

If you are interested in taking part, please let me know.

Breeding Bird Survey 2014

For the last week or so, I have been checking who is continuing with their Breeding Bird Survey sites. Last year's total was 39 squares surveyed, which was a record year for the York Region - brilliant effort from everyone. So there's a challenge there to beat that record in 2014.

If you do the survey an haven't got back to me, please let me know whether you wish to carry on. If you haven't done it and would like to volunteer, please contact me. I do get some turnover of squares so there's a good chance to getting something. The squares are randomly selected, though, so I can't promise one on your doorstep.

The BBS-Online website will be updated in time for the new season and will include improvements in habitat and mammal recording as well as a different way of entering your data. It will also allow the recording of WBBS data. We have 4 routes covered in the region for the WBBS.

BBS this year will also introduce the recording of detection method. This is optional but please give it a go, let me know how it works for you. See the revised instructions in the pack.

Bird Atlas 2007-11 arrives!

My copy of the Bird Atlas arrived this afternoon. Initial impressions are very good. It looks great and is packed with information. I'm sure it will generate a lot of research over the coming years.