Saturday, April 23, 2005

Breeding Bird Survey... Episode One

I've got a Breeding Bird Survey square to do this year (to read more about BBS, click here). Today, I walked the routes I'm going to take when I do my transect counts.

The survey squares are picked randomly so it's lucky that I've got a nice one in rural north-east Northamptonshire rather than an urban hell-hole in Peterborough... My two transects run east-west. The southern one runs through grazed pasture and arable land, while the northern one takes me through a bit of arable land and along the edge of some ancient woodland.

These are some of my co-surveyors

The purpose of today's visit, apart from checking that my routes (originally plotted on a map) are physically possible to do (i.e. no unexpected rivers, motorways or cliffs in the way), was to record the habitat along my transects. I haven't done it before so it was a matter of interpreting what I saw and learning to fill in the form.

I noted down the land use (mostly farmland, improved grassland or tilled land), the kinds of boundaries (hedges, with and without trees) and what was growing (or grazing).

The saving grace of my square is the woodland. Today I heard Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Stock Dove for starters.

Now I'm ready to go ahead and do the proper counts - starting between 6am and 7am, once between mid-April and mid-May, and again between mid-May and late June. It'll probably be rubbish but I shall be proud to record that fact.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

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