Breeding Bird Survey

This year's BBS fieldwork finished at the end of June and I am beginning to get results returned to me online and on paper. So far out of 35 possible squares, I have received 17 completed returns: 4 on paper and 13 using BBS-Online.

Please try to get the results done by the end of July. It's always best to act soon after a survey. And remember the OS maps that are included this year, they need to be posted to me even if you use BBS-Online.

Don't worry of you only managed the one visit, bird count data can still be used. It is expected that there will be more single visits this year owing to the poor weather in June.

Bird Atlas 2007-11

Last Saturday I visited The Nunnery in Thetford to attend an Atlas Briefing Meeting for Regional Organisers. This was an excellent opportunity to find out more about the project from Dawn Balmer and Simon Gillings, including a sight of the online system. The birdatlas website is up and running with lots of information including details of methods. New functionality is scheduled for launch at the start of August.

Fieldwork for the atlas will be done over four winters starting 1st November 2007 and four summers starting 1st April 2008. There are two methods of equal priority:
  • Roving Records to build species lists, put dots on the maps, establish evidence of breeding status. These will be supplemented by data from other sources, including surveys such as BBS, Garden BirdWatch and BirdTrack, and also ringing activity.

All records - whatever, wherever and whenever.

  • Timed Tetrad Visits (TTV) to gather data for relative abundance maps by timed counts of one or two hours. The aim is to work out how relatively common or scarce a species is within the 10km square and not to find all birds. The TTV fieldwork scale is the tetrad although the mapping scale is at 10km squares. At least 8 tetrads have to be surveyed in both winter and breeding seasons for each of the 15 10km squares in the region. I will be aiming to get coverage of the same tetrads as the New Atlas of Breeding Birds 1988-91 wherever possible.

The new look BTO News, which should be dropping on your doormats around now, contains an article summarising these methods.

The new features of the online system will allow me to allocate tetrads, allow volunteers to request tetrads, support data entry for TTV and Roving Records and the validation of records. I encourage volunteers to use the online system but there are paper forms for those who prefer these. The BTO will be publishing, at a small cost, a field notebook designed to help surveyors so look out for this.

Anyone and everyone can contibute to Roving Records even if it just a garden or park list. If you wish to cover a tetrad for TTV, or better still several tetrads, please let me know. I am collecting names and will begin allocating tetrads shortly.