Input from the BTO representative                  Dave Sharpe

Heronry Census

The well-established, known heronries in this area are counted annually and have been for many years.  However, there are smaller heronries, some of them transient, starting up all the time e.g. Bolton-le-Sands 2-3 pairs for the last three years.  So if you know of or suspect a small heronry being in existence, please let me know as soon as possible  (822492) 

Nest Record Scheme

Many thanks to the members who continue to support this long-running scheme which plays such a vital role in the way the BTO can interpret population changes and trends.  Cards, as usual, are available from Dave Sharpe at the 27th March meeting or by phone if you happen to miss it (822492).  Please contact Dave if you are unsure about disturbance tolerance of any particular species you are covering. 

Breeding Bird Survey

At present around 2,300 1km squares are being covered throughout the country, 10 of these by members of the society.   However, there are still 7 plots which have been allocated and as yet have not been able to cover. 

The survey method involves two visits, ideally in the morning, and an additional initial visit to record the habitat and work out the survey route ideally two parallel(ish) 1km transects split into 200 metre lengths.   On the survey visit, every bird seen or heard from each length is counted and recorded. Please contact Dave Sharpe for more detailed instructions.  

The 1km squares are:

SD 4464    Centred on Morecambe High School

SD 6262    An upland square on Goodber Common between High Salter and Thrushgill

SD6072     Based on Greta Foot.  This is an important square to continue as it has already been started                       but the participant has had to give up

SD6562     Based on High/Low Thrushgill

SD6577     Just north of Ireby and east of Leck

SD4977     East of Gaitbarrows (Brackenthwaite Farm)

Yes I know I said 7!   The 7th is SD4378 which at best would require wellies and at worst an aqualung, snorkel or anti-quicksand spray.  The BTO random selection computer cannot read maps and this square is in the middle of the Kent Estuary between Arnside and Grange.

The demise of the Common Bird Census

Unfortunately, the year 2000 will be the last year for the CBC now that the BBS is fully up and running and entering its 7th year.  The BBS employs random sampling and therefor achieves a far better coverage of the UK than the CBC.  The two schemes have run in parallel for so long to enable long term trends in bird abundance from the two to be linked together.

The Government (through JNCC) is not in a position to fund the two parallel schemes, so, unfortunately, funding for the CBC will not be available after March 2001 i.e. after 2000s data has been analysed.

Very many thanks to all of you who have  undertaken CBC work over the years, especially Brian Townson who has been the stalwart of the scheme in this area for so many years.

Countryside Survey 2000 (BTO)     

The aim of this important survey is to cover all the 568 1km squares within which the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology has undertaken field surveys of land use in 1998 and 1999.  A transect method will be used that is very similar to the BBS.  However, as ITE has the bulk of the habitat survey, you will not be required top do this (apart from notifying any obvious recent changes of land use)

This survey is for one year only, hopefully repeated at 10 year intervals.  We are likely to have three squares to cover, so if you think you would be able or would like to help, please contact Dave Sharpe.

Naturalised Goose Survey (BTO and WWT)

This survey will focus on Canada and feral Greylag Geese but will also include other species, including escapes, exotics and hybrids.  This will provide an update of numbers and distribution since the last national survey in 1991.  However, unlike the 1991 survey which just covered moult sites, counts will also be made of birds in randomly selected tetrads during the breeding season.  Most of the first part of the survey will be covered already by the existing WEBS counts/counters.  However, it is the second (tetrad) part that hopefully many of you will be able to contribute to.  Essentially, all that is required is a count of all breeding geese.

We have been allocated 18 tetrads, but Im sure we will be able to cover most.  Maps will appear at the last meeting(s).  The selected tetrads are:

SD44U          North of Winmarleigh

SD45D          Between Middleton and Sunderland

SD45K          Crimbles/Marsh Houses

SD45R          NE of Cockerham

SD46R          Skerton/Scale Hall

SD46X          N of Halton Camp/M6 junction

SD54I           Barnacre Reservoir 

SD55A         Scorton gravel pits/Street Bridge

SD55E          Quernmore

SD55W        West end of Marshaw Fell

SD56E          Nether/Over Kellett

SD56H          Caton, River Lune

SD56J           SE of Over Kellett

SD57B          Dockacres/Pine Lake

SD66P          Low Bentham

SD66R         E of Higher and Lower Thrushgill

SD67D         S of Kirkby Lonsdale

WEBS counts (WWT, not coastal)

Many thanks to all those who help with the counts.  Ill send out the new forms as soon as possible i.e. when I receive them.  Could everyone please return their forms for the last winter a.s.a.p. and then I can get them sorted, totalled etc. in plenty of time for Ken and the Annual Report.  Thanks.

WEBS counts (coastal)

The Heysham/outer Lune Estuary area team is still short of at least one person for the pool.  We meet at the Nature reserve hut two hours before the tide and sort out the counts depending on the tide height.  You will not suddenly be given a huge flock of Knot or Oystercatcher to count on your own!  Please contact Pete Marsh (01524/66775)

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