BTO English Winter Bird Survey 2018/19
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:
BTO Project Owl
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:
BTO English Farm Woodland Bird Survey 2019
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
JNCC Seabird Count 2015/19 – survey of Urban Gulls in Kent 2019
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 at:
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.
There are two arms to the survey in Kent:-
Repeat Sites Survey
This covers sites where Gulls were surveyed during the last seabird census in 2000. It will be required to count all breeding Gulls in Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington-Ramsgate, Folkestone, Greatstone-Dymchurch and Ashford.
No repeat sites have been provided for Dover or Maidstone and Canterbury, although these are known, and in the case of Dover very long established, breeding sites for which it is hoped to obtain complete counts of breeding Gull populations. Other more recently occupied towns where breeding Gulls are present include the Medway Towns and Gravesend-Dartford. Again, it is hoped to count breeding Gulls in these towns.
Random Square Survey
The aim of this is to assess the expansion of breeding ranges since the last census. A total of 182 1km squares have been selected across Kent using a stratified random sampling approach. This means that all squares will contain potential nesting habitat but not necessarily breeding Gulls, and that some known colonies may not be included.
Covering such a large number of squares for the national survey will be challenging, but I would like to ensure that we get good coverage of all known sites in the county so that that Kent population estimates of our breeding Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (combined with last year’s survey of natural sites) are as accurate as possible. This will mean covering areas that might not be included in the randomly selected squares.
Survey packs are available which contain background details, survey instructions, health and safety advice, recording forms etc. Initially I have supplied these to the local organisers who can then send out further to volunteers as required. I can also supply direct to volunteers in areas not covered by the local organisers. These packs contain the list of randomly selected 1km squares with a map link so that volunteers can print out a map of the square they wish to cover or have been requested to cover. Please make sure that the local organiser is aware of the square/s you intend to cover. All results should be returned to the local organiser or directly to me as the regional organiser. I will collate all results and summarise the data for KOS before submitting to the JNCC.
In brief, the survey of repeat sites will involve counting birds (AON – Apparently Occupied Nest; AOT – Apparently Occupied Territory or IND – count of individual adults) from suitable vantage points. The random square survey will involve making ground-based counts as above. Obviously, it may not be possible to determine counts of AON from ground level and so assessments will largely be AOT and more likely IND. Only single visits are required but volunteers may wish to make repeat visits to confirm or otherwise previous observations. The requested survey period is Apr 23rd to May 7th (just two weeks!) but I have agreed with the National Organiser that it will be ok to survey up until the end of June.