BTO Winter Gull Survey (WinGS) 2024-25


Some key sites still not allocated or need more volunteers for this winter’s count – target date January 21st

The Key Sites concerned are: -

*Inner Thames (Gravesend-Dartford)

*Stour Valley



 Please read on for for further information…

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is taking part in the BTO Woodcock Survey. Most volunteers will have conducted one or two of their dusk surveys by now, inputting their results as they go. Just to highlight, there has been a recent amendment to the survey data forms which allows the surveyor to input their habitat information on any of the survey visits.

If you have conducted two 75-minute dusk surveys without any sightings of Woodcock, please note you do not need to complete any more surveys.

Once the survey period is finished (June 30th), we will be sharing an overview of the findings and the status of breeding Woodcock in Kent.

If you are lucky enough to encounter any other crepuscular or nocturnal bird species during your survey (e.g. Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Nightjar, Nightingale) please record them on BTO BirdTrack and please also email your records of other species to Heather Mathieson (email below). This information will be included in the Survey overview.

Once again, we would like to thank everyone who is taking part. The data we gain from all your efforts plays a huge part in our ability to understand the range, population status and breeding success for Woodcock in Kent, and in the UK.

Please contact the Woodcock Survey Regional Organiser if you need any advice or have any queries regarding the survey.

Heather Mathieson

BTO Woodcock Survey Regional Organiser

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fieldwork for this survey completed on May 21st and results are now needed. Many thanks to all those who participated in this important survey, whether you recorded birds in your survey square(s) or not. Hopefully you found the survey enjoyable and, even if no Nightingales, perhaps recorded some of the other additional species, or just enjoyed being out really early in spring!

Please can all participants complete maps and recording forms and return by either of the following options: -

By post to – Nicole Khan, RSPB Swale Office, John Roberts Business Park, Pean Hill, Whitstable CT5 3BJ

Or emailing scanned copies to – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Murray Orcahrd writes: 
“The weather continues to be unsettled and volunteers may be finding it difficult to get their Nightingale survey visits done (2 needed, at least a week apart). In view of this, the end of the survey will be moved from 14th to 21st May. Please try and make two visits if you can.”

KOS Nightingale Survey  Latest News!
In view of a strong arrival of birds this year, with high occupancy already at some sites, it has been decided that the survey can commence a week earlier than originally announced ie from April 21st.
Good luck to all participants!

KOS Nightingale Survey 2023

Murray Orchard, Chair of the Conservation and Surveys Committee writes:- 'It’s over ten years since the last national Nightingale census (see 2012 map), which confirmed that Kent is the most important county for them.

 Although almost 1.5 million Woodcock visit Britain to over-winter, the resident population is believed to stand at a much lower figure of approximately 55,000 males.  Results from the BTO national Woodcock survey in 2003 and 2013 showed a population decline of 29%, prompting the Woodcock to be added to the UK Birds of Conservation Concern Red List in 2015.  The species is also considered to have a 'Vulnerable' breeding population at the GB scale based on the recently published IUCN assessment for birds.

Last year’s national Turtle Dove survey confirms the fears that numbers are precariously low with an estimate of only 2,100 pairs in England. The sobering reality is that in the 1970s the population was estimated at 125,000.  A 98% decline in such an iconic species during the lifetime of many active bird watchers means that it’s slipping from the consciousness of the wider public.  Will turtle doves only linger as a Christmas card image?

But there is hope.......

Murray Orchard, Chairman of the KOS Surveys and Conservation Committee,  writes:-

Over 275 squares have been allocated to volunteers, which represents over 80% coverage of the available survey squares. A magnificent effort – thanks to all those involved.

It’s important to make sure that all allocated squares are surveyed. We are now in the second half of the survey with second visits required between June 21st and July 31st. The period has been extended a week to match the national survey.

In view of the late arrival of many summer migrants this year, including Turtle Doves, the second visit will be all the more important, even if you didn’t find birds on your first visit.

Good luck!

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