<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society Newsletter
Newsletter of the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society
LDBWS Surveys
Spring 2005
Local Sightings
LDBWS Website
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Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)

This is one of the most important nationwide bird surveys carried out. It is used to monitor changes in the population of our more common birds. It is run jointly by the BTO with the RSPB and Joint Nature Conservation Committee. The survey consists of walking two transects of a 1km grid square and recording the species and number of birds and mammals (optional) encountered. This is carried out twice in the breeding season with an additional visit to record the habitat. Results are collected on forms or can be submitted on the WEB direct to the BTO. Past results can be viewed on the web site.

In our area we have 16 BBS random 1km squares to cover. Currently, all are being covered except one and we therefore require a volunteer. This would be to record the birds in the Leck area (Bank House and Fellside Barn SD6577). Please contact me if you are interested.

Waterways Bird Survey (WBS)

This involves carrying out surveys on stretches of linear waterways between March and July, mapping the position and activities of water birds. Normally, each stretch is surveyed nine times in the breeding season. At the end of the survey, the field maps are analysed to show the number and distribution of breeding territories for birds associated with water Nationally, the results show population changes of these breeding birds and have been important in alerting us to declines in certain species.

Seven sections of the River Lune between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale have been covered almost continuously for thirty years. We are desperate to find someone to cover a vacant stretch between Wenning Foot and Arkholme. Please let me know if you are interested. It is quite a commitment, but very enjoyable and rewarding.

Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS)

This is a survey of rivers and canals using a similar transect method to the BBS (see above). Only two recording visits are required between April and June. Three random plots of the Lancaster Canal and the WBS plots on the River Lune are covered for methodology comparison with WBS. Currently we require a volunteer for the vacant Wenning Foot and Arkholme stretch. Any offers?


This is the longest national running bird survey which started in 1928 and was taken over by the BTO in 1934. We have several heronries in our area and these are visited annually to count the number of occupied nests. Let me know if you find any new heronries being established in our area.

Nest Record Scheme (NRS)

Only 4 members of the society submitted nest records in 2004. The BTO is concerned about the reduction in the number of 'open nest records' (i.e. not in nestboxes) being submitted. The results from nest monitoring are important and are used to monitor nesting success, including the number of eggs laid, hatching and fledging outcomes, together with information on nesting sites. Records can be submitted on cards or electronically. The BTO provides detailed guidance on nest recording without disturbing breeding birds. Please let me know if you are interested and want more details.

New Survey for 2005-2006

Scarce Woodland Bird Survey

The aim of this project is to gather information about the habitat use and variations in densities of scarce woodland bird species. It will involve recording birds along a transect route, known as a Woodland Walk. Observers will select their own woodland and routes. Ideally they should undertake a Woodland Walk in a pair of woods of similar type - one of which is known to be 'good', containing good numbers of commoner woodland specialists and preferably at least one of eight scarce species: Firecrest, Hawfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Willow Tit and Wood Warbler. The second wood may either be one believed to be poor (containing few woodland species), or a complete unknown. Once the woods are selected, maps will be provided together with a CD of songs and calls. Let me know before the end of January if you want to take part.

For everyone in 2005 and 2006, for this survey, the BTO wants any casual records of the above eight scarce species found between the1st March and the 30th of June.

Records should include a site name, 6 figure OS grid reference, date and the number of birds; additionally, the habitat where the birds were located, selecting one of the following categories:

1) broad-leaved woodland
2) coniferous woodland
3) mixed woodland
4) water-logged woodland,
5) new plantation or regenerating woodland,
6) other scrub
7) heath
8) parkland
9) garden
10) hedgerow
11) shelterbelt
12) other (please specify).

Any additional details on habitat (e.g. area of habitat), or activity of birds, would be most welcome.

Keith Woods, BTO Regional Representative for North West Lancashire.
Tel: 01524 811478 or e-mail:

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