A couple of surveys to look out for in 2015

House Martin Survey 2015

There has never been a national House Martin survey before, previous population estimates have been derived using statistical methods from census data. In order to produce a population estimate as a baseline to measure future changes, there will be a survey in spring and summer 2015. There will be randomly selected squares to cover.

International Swan Census 17–18 January 2015

Using a similar approach to the Golden Plover Survey in the previous post, there will be an opportunity to contribute records of Whooper and Bewick's Swans through BirdTrack (www.birdtrack.net).

International Golden Plover Survey 11–12 October 2014

On 11-12 October 2014 (WeBS Count weekend) there will be a coordinated census of Eurasian Golden Plovers across Europe, repeating comparable surveys carried out in 2008 and 2003.  The majority of Golden Plovers are concentrated in northwest Europe in October making it the best time to assess the status of the population. As in 2008, the BTO will be collating all counts of Golden Plover within the framework of an International Wader Study Group project.

For the UK, Golden Plover numbers provided through standard WeBS Core Counts will represent the key source of data in combination with records provided through BirdTrack. Anyone can contribute by submitting counts of Golden Plover (and Lapwing) into BirdTrack (www.birdtrack.net) over that weekend.

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.