BTO Volunteer Surveys Training Event

Members, volunteers and potential volunteers are invited to an afternoon meeting to meet other volunteers, share experiences and learn about existing and future BTO surveys. The event will be held at:

10:00am – 3:00pm, 28 March 2015

Llangasty Village Hall
Brecon, LD3 7PJ

The agenda has not been finalised so we are asking you what you would like. We can offer an introduction to BBS, update on BirdTrack, learn about the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey, the Wetland Bird Survey, the Heronries Census or the 2015 House Martin Survey. The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) always needs new surveyors and there are some vacant squares this year as volunteers retire or move away from the area.

Kelvin Jones the BTO Cymru Development Officer will be hosting the meeting. Tea and coffee and afternoon refreshments will be available.

Please contact Kelvin if you’d like to attend:

Kelvin Jones
BTO Wales Development Officer
BTO Cymru, Thoday Building, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW

t: 01248 383285
m: 07979 713282


International Golden Plover Survey

There will be a coordinated census of Golden Plovers across Europe this weekend of 11-12 October, repeating comparable surveys carried out in 2008 and 2003.

The majority of Golden Plover are concentrated in northwest Europe in October, making it the best time to assess 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.

Golden Plovers by Sergey Yeliseev, on Flickr
Golden Plovers by Sergey Yeliseev, on Flickr

In our region, Sker Point near Porthcawl is a good spot to see Golden Plover flocks, with upto 140 seen at high tide in recent weeks.  This weekend, high tide is at 08:49am on Saturday and 09:24am on Sunday.  Elsewhere, flocks can sometimes be seen congregating on hill tops such as Cefn Eglwysilan, Mynydd y Glyn and Werfa.

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.

Volunteers are encouraged to submit counts of Golden Plover (and Lapwing) into BirdTrack  over the weekend.

Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS)

Common Blue Butterfly by gmajsicmtc, on Flickr
Common Blue Butterfly by gmajsicmtc, on Flickr

The Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) will be running from 2011 for at least another 3 years in a similar fashion to 2009 and 2010, as a collaborative project with Butterfly Conservation, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and BTO.

The aim of WCBS is to get a representative picture of the status of butterflies in widespread habitats such as lowland intensive farmland and upland grassland and moorland.  Results of the 2010 survey are now online.

The survey is carried out on your usual BBS route to enable future comparisons between birds and butterflies.  The survey requires that you make separate visits between June and August (i.e. in addition to BBS visits)  to your BBS square, recording butterflies with optional recording of day-flying moths and dragonflies.

More details about the survey and its methodology are available.

If you have any questions about WCBS, please contact:

Kate Risley
BBS National Organiser
tel: 01843 750050

House Martin Survey

The House Martin Survey has opened for this year.

In Wales the population has remained stable, fallen in England, but increased in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If you have birds nesting on your property then why not take part? It takes just a few minutes to complete.

House Martin feeding the youngster. by kennysarmy, on Flickr
House Martin feeding the youngster. by kennysarmy, on Flickr

Spring Means BBS

Wheatear by markkilner, on Flickr

With the first Wheatears arriving in Glamorgan, we know that spring is around the corner and that means the annual BBS is just a few weeks away.

I’ve just sent out a batch of surveys forms to those volunteers who carry out this important survey each year. We have over 60 surveyable squares in our region, with 36 currently taken. There is therefore, a good number of squares currently unallocated from right across the county.

If you’d like to find out more or would like to get involved, then please get in touch.

Wayne Morris

Bird Census Techniques Offer

The late Colin Bibby’s classic text Bird Census Techniques is currently on offer from NHBS at £31.99, a saving of £22 off the usual price.

Though over a decade old now, it is still the primary text for both professional and amateur ornithologists interested in the wide range of methods used to survey wild birds.  Each technique is described in detail along with their shortcomings.

This may be a good time to add this interesting and useful text to your bookshelf.

The offer closes on 31 March 2011.