An enjoyable joint east and west Glamorgan BBS Training Day took place at Kenfig National Nature Reserve on 18 March. Eleven volunteers were introduced to the BBS (Breeding Bird Survey), its background and methodology. A couple of sessions on the reserve, demonstrated the practical aspects of plotting transect routes and recording birds and habitat along them.
Thanks go to Kenfig NNR for hosting our event, and of course, all our volunteers for contributing to its success and signing up for their 1km squares to survey.
It’s not too late to take part this year if you are interested – we have a few squares available. More details about local BBS can be found, or contact:
Results from the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey show that Stonechat numbers fell sharply after the last two cold winters, while Whinchat and Wheatear have shown declines in both range and numbers. Wales is one of the UK strongholds for these species.
Can You Help?
This spring, BTO Cymru is launching an online survey which will look in more detail at the distribution and habitat preferences of these three key species. This is a simple survey to undertake, requiring three one hour visits in selected 1km sqaures in April, May and June. We have over 30 1km squares in our region.
At the risk of sounding a little bit like an estate agent I have just ‘discovered’ a very desirable new Wetland Birds Survey (WeBS) site in East Glamorgan, which I would recommend as an attractive proposition for any ‘first-time surveyor’.
I came across Talygarn Fish Pond (ST033797), which lies just south of the M4 near Brynsadler, while out searching for potential new WeBS sites in East Glamorgan last weekend. It is a large, shallow, man-made fish pond constructed I’d say around the late 19th/early 20th century. Surrounded by woodland it also has fringed with some reed. It is c. 50 metres at its widest point and c. 250 metres long.
While I was there I recorded: Mute Swan (pair); Gadwall (pair); Teal (3 pairs); Mallard (18); Moorhen (9) and Coot (17). I was told by the owners of the site that they also regularly see: Canada Goose, Goosander, Little Grebe (breeding), Grey Heron, Water Rail and Kingfisher, as well as breeding Reed Bunting and Reed Warbler. I would say it has the potential to attract small numbers of several other species of wildfowl too and possibly Snipe.
The site can be viewed from one side from a public footpath (the Valeways Millennium Heritage Trail), but, the owners have also opened a permissive path around most of it which includes a handy stone footbridge from where you can see most of the pond. I’m delighted to say that the owners have also very kindly agreed to allow access to the very southern end of the fish pond (not viewable from the paths) to whoever takes on the role of WeBS counter at this site.
It may be a day late this year, but its 1 March, Daffodils are blooming and the sun is out. Many resident species are in the throws of breeding. Song Thrushes, Great and Coal tits have been singing for a few weeks. Promiscuous female Dunnocks are courting, Dippers are nest building and our first migrants are arriving.
What does this all mean? Spring is here and it’s that time of year when our attention turns towards a number of our annual surveys.
The Heronries Census is and is the longest-running breeding-season bird monitoring scheme in the world. In East Glamorgan we have eight heronries that have been reasonably stable over the years.
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)
The BBS is our main source for monitoring population trends in our breeding birds. We have over 60 1km squares in our region, and a number are vacant. If you’d like to take part in this important survey then please get in touch, or perhaps sign up for a place on our BBS Training Day.
Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS)
The WBBS complements BBS, by monitoring riparian species in the breeding season. We have three stretches of river that contribute to this survey.
Welsh Chat Survey
This is the first survey launched by BTO Wales, and will monitor breeding and habitat use by Stonechats, Whinchats and Wheatears across Wales. Details about the areas covered and methods will be available very soon.
Though not a survey as such, BirdTrack is an excellent way of recording your migrant sightings and signs of breeding. It can of course, be used throughout the year and has a variety of tools for tracking species reports across the UK, and for analysing your own data.
If you’d like more details or wish to take part in any of our surveys , then please contact: