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:-

This survey will continue in spring 2022 following on from the main 2021 survey, to help fill important gaps in the coverage. The aim will be to cover new sites in 2022, or better coverage of 2021 sites where coverage was low.  Repeat visits to sites that were well covered in 2021 are not required.   Volunteers are urgently needed!  Full instructions are available here:

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!

The KOS Turtle Dove Survey 2021 needs your help!

View the KOS Turtle Dove Survey 2021 website for details of how to take part and to select a square for survey.

Ruddy Shelduck is a rare vagrant to north-west Europe, whose status has been clouded by escapes and an increasing European feral population. The BOURC are reviewing the status of Ruddy Shelduck on the British List. The species is currently in Categories B, D, and E of the British List but is potentially also occurring in Britain as a vagrant from established naturalised populations on the near continent and is therefore a candidate for Category C5 (vagrant naturalised species from outside Britain). To help with this process, KOS is seeking any records that are not already in its database.

You can download the existing Kent records of Ruddy Shelduck, closely related species, and hybrids here.

If you know of additional records, or believe there are errors in the list, please send details to the County Recorder, Barry Wright by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Herring Gulls © Tony Morris

In 2018 a national survey was carried out of all seabird species nesting in “natural” locations. In Kent this covered all our breeding Gull species (Herring, LBB, Common, Black-headed and Mediterranean), Terns (Sandwich, Common and Little), plus Fulmar and Cormorant. Full coverage was achieved, resulting in the first assessment of Kent’s breeding seabirds for many years. Results include a total of 120 pairs of Fulmar, mostly around the Thanet cliffs, although missing from the survey will be the huge number of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls which nest in non-natural sites i.e. urban sites such as house and factory rooftops. Full details of the Seabird Count can be found here.

In 2019, however, the Seabird Count aims to conduct a national survey of urban Gulls, so this will complete the picture for Kent. This will be no mean feat as Kent has huge numbers of roof nesting Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, not just on houses in our coastal towns but inland too, particularly on warehouse and factory roofs in industrial estates. Details of the survey have been issued by the JNCC National Organiser (Daisy Burnell). I have contacted last year’s local organisers to help again, and to spread the word and enlist volunteers to assist in their areas.

Thank you if you took part in this survey which finished at the end of March – 37 squares were covered by volunteers in Kent. It has been based on existing BBS squares especially those within farmland. The data entry system is via BBS online. If you have not entered your survey data, please do so as soon as possible.

Please visit the BTO website to find out more details.

Since 1988, over 22,000 farm woods have been planted in England. The woods are mostly small, between 1 and 5 hectares in size, which will make survey coverage quite quick and straightforward. These farm woods were planted in a wide variety of settings, ranging from complete isolation through to alongside existing established woodland. This survey provides a very interesting natural experiment to assess how well birds have colonised these new woodlands on farmland.

Please note that as the survey period is 15th March to 15th July, it is now too late to sign up for this survey.

The survey organisers are Daria Dadam and Greg Conway via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the autumn of 2018, there was a national Tawny Owl Point Survey (TOPS) organised by the BTO. This followed similar methodology to Tawny Owl surveys in 1989 and 2005. Nationally it is estimated that about 54% of the tetrads were occupied compared with 63% previously. Within Kent, 75 tetrads were surveyed. Thank you to everyone that contributed to the Project Owl Appeal, and to the TOPS survey. Provisional results for the Tawny Owl Point Survey are available online.

The second survey BTO organised was the Tawny Owl Calling Survey (TOCS). This involved listening regularly from a point chosen by the volunteer (usually your garden). In Britain, over 12,000 people signed up for the survey and over 8,000 submitted records. In Kent there were 326 sites registered for the survey. The survey finished at the end of March and data is now being analysed. Please visit the BTO website to find out more details.

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