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.


Ian Traynor said...

Hi Rob

Very useful source of news!

I presume that we'll be told sometime how to logon to the Atlas site to enter our records.

Or will we use the same logon that we use for BBS?

YorkRR said...

Hi Ian

Yes - the same logon works across all the online surveys: BBS, BirdTrack, GBW etc. You wil have to register for the Atlas but that is a fairly simple process.