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Winter Bird Surveys

Posted by P Marsh 
Winter Bird Surveys
December 07, 2004 09:57PM
As outlined in the LBWS newsletter but by no measn restricted to the membership, the first of what will hopefully become an annual Winter Bird Survey is starting during the period 8th to 23rd January 2005.

The surveys will be based on tetrads and 10km squares, imaginary lines which cut through different habitats but which also provide a 'consistent' recording unit (altitude not withstanding!). Many people prefer to cover sites rather than artificial squares but if you are interested in survey work, you have to start to literally think 'along these lines'

There are two options with a variation on one of the options:

1) Coverage of a 10km square in one lot of 8 hours or two lots of 4 hours. This involves seeing as many species as possible and providing rough estimates 1,2-5,6-10,11-20. 21-50, 51-100, 101-500, over 500. Therefore there is no need to waste time counting vast flocks of waders and wildfowl and most of these estimates can be entered on 'recall' at the end of the day.

SD67 (includes Leck Fell and Bullpot) is up for grabs, otherwise some help may be needed in SD55 or 65. The rest are covered.

2) Covering a TETRAD = the usual unit you see referred to by dots in local Atlases. This is a group of four one kilometre squares forming a bigger square (i.e. 2km x 2km!). This survey will take THREE HOURS and will be undertaken along a pre-determined route which will be suitable for future annual repeats. Therefore you are NOT obliged to do it year after year but need to leave an easy but habitat-varied legacy for your successor

A few of the tetrads are still not covered, or in some cases it doesnt matter if more than one tetrad is covered in a 10km square.

These tetrads must not cover intertidal areas, large inland freshwater areas or be focused on the Lune valley which is already covered by winter WeBS. There are obvious reasons for avoiding residential areas (especially single male participants?) In other words, try and break new ground by covering a variety of rural passerine habitats. Help given with allocation.

Please let Pete Marsh at
or 015242 64944
know as soon as possible if you are interested before all options are filled. Please do not do this by snail mail at this tme of year!


Best regards

Re: Winter Bird Surveys
December 09, 2004 03:23PM
Additional info:
One thing I have not really emphasised enough is the need to avoid major
shooting days for your surveys, especially tetrads! Anyone requiring
contact numbers for large landowners, please let me know.

The latest state of play sees 10km squares SD67 and 65 'taken'.

This leaves the curiously unpopular and underrecorded 10km square SD55
high and dry without any takers. This square has always been the stamping
ground of a fairly tightly knit group of people, two of whom (Stan Craig
Rex Stott) are sadly no longer with us (see obituaries in relevant LBWS
Newsletters). It does, however, possess a wide variety of habitats and my
regular contact with Ian Savage should allow some form of coverage of the
Ward's Stone fell road, even if it means myself being there for that
(sizeable) section of the square.

The other square with a degree of uncertainty is SD46. Coverage here
not however be a problem, it is HOW it is achieved, bearing in mind
residential problems. If Eddy and Martin cannot manage, anyone
Its only half a square!! (sea)

"The" resident active birder in SD55 (Pete Wilson) is covering SD65 c/f
greater relevance to his job.

The tetrad work again leaves SD55 uncovered and Pete Wilson would like
in SD65

The next stage involves specifying the tetrads and sorting out any access
requirements. I will suggest some tetrads which are suitable (some, such
as Heysham Moss, already have been sorted) , but please feel free to
ignore me providing your choice is within the criteria already listed (no
big residential sections, no big freshwater bodies, no intertidal
no examples where the Lune valley WeBS area takes up the central chunk of
the tetrad, no cross-county examples ( must be wholly in Lancs) and no
"personal access" to significant sections which is unlikely to be
to any person taking over in the future). Please remember that these
tetrads are intended to form on-going survey units and will almost
be able to form part of the forthcoming (2006/7?) BTO Winter Atlas.

Current state of play

SD45 10km square:John Bateman & Brian Townson
Control Tetrad: Jon Carter (Conder/canal "floodplain" etc)
SD46 10km square: vacant - possibly Martin & Eddy on bicycles, given
amount of residential area. TBC soon - NOT a good square for car
Control tetrad: Garry Sharples (Heysham Moss etc) &
Williamson's Park by Eddy/Martin/Garry
SD47 10km square: J Wilson et al
Control tetrad: J Wilson (eastern fringe of L Moss etc)

SD55 Not organised yet but in hand
SD56 10km square: Jean Roberts et al
Control tetrad: negotiable with Jean Roberts
SD57 All organisation in the hands of Andrew Cadman with help
appreciated. (01524/734462)

SD65 Organisation in melting pot with SD65
SD66 10km square: Pete Marsh et al
Control tetrad: in hand
SD67 10km square: VACANT
Control tetrad: John Wood
Re: Winter Bird Surveys
December 09, 2004 06:14PM
Winter Bird Survey
Sorry but things have progressed way beyond this e-mail

There are no "essential" vacancies as such (i.e. no squares where both a 10km survey and at least one tetrad are not being surveyed) but if anyone wishes to accompany anyone else, especially learning the tetrad surveying techniques in anticipation of taking part in the forthcoming Winter Atlas,please let me know.

It seems highly likely that the Winter Atlas part of the BTO survey in 2006/7 will also form the basis of a Lancashire Winter Atlas, with the latter version receiving lengthier coverage per tetrad?

Alternatively, there is no problem surveying another tetrad so long as we all use the same comparable methodology and you feel confident enough to do this on your own.

Good examples of tetrads which are not being covered are:

SD56F covering Birkbank (Garry is familiar with this tetrad & there have been one or to postings from others in this area who might wish to add some survey methodology to their observations).

SD66L, which might be a better choice than SD66M (original control tetrad choice) because it does include a chunk of Thrushgill plantation, including the "main track"


Pete Marsh
Re: Winter Bird Surveys
December 09, 2004 07:01PM
Sorry the above posting is somewhat out of date.

We have the basic organisation sorted i.e. one full 10km survey for each of the 9 main squares & at least one tetrad per square being covered.

However, there is plenty of scope for anyone still intersted:

a) to accompany someone on the tetrad circuit if you wish to gain experience of this survey method. This may need to be flexible as weather may cause last minute date alterations

b) There are PLENTY of other good tetrads out there, if you wish to cover one. It will need to be the same comparable methodology. Tetrads which spring to mind are:

SD66L - perhaps better than the control tetrad (M) as it includes the Thrushgill conifer plantation, including the main track.
[is DAVE POLLARD interested - I cannot find a landline number & your e-mail is 'dead']

SD56F - includes Birkbank. Gary is familiar with this tetrad and there are other birders who provide records from here who may be interested in adopting survey methodology to their coverage

It looks like this work will form useful preliminary coverage with resepct to a Lancashire Winter Bird Atlas as well as the nationally-orientated forthcoming BTO survey. The methodology for the BTO Atlas is still in the melting pot and we may be able to make some constructive suggestions come the end of January.

Please make contact of interested.


Pete Marsh
Re: Winter Bird Surveys
December 11, 2004 12:48AM
Thanks for the private responses with respect to filling the survey gaps. Absence of 'public comment' on the forum perhaps surprising in view of the 'melting pot' with respect to the methodology for the forthcoming BTO winter atlas. Admittedly, its not a topic to interest the leisure industry end of birding, but impressions were that many lurkers were indeed (or had been) involved in various surveys, e.g. recent Lancashire breeding atlas? Informed comment on whether to do two or three hours per tetrad would be very welcome - it does not mean you will be pestered to take part!

We MAY still need some help, notably a car driver prepared to take one or two other people, for SD45 10 km day (or 2 x 4hr). There is some doubt over the availability of the current car driver during 8th-23rd Jan.

Plase note that petrol cost will be a private arrangement between participants and cannot be funded.

Best regards

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