Avon BTO

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bad weather

The past two weeks have been pretty impossible for all of us. There is now a nice sentence on the website under Headlines and Regional headines, which states how many tetrads have been entered on line. So far 190 have had the first winter survey and 31 the second, which considering the weather is not bad. There has been guidance on the time between surveys- this should not be less that two weeks and ideally at least a month.

On the whole second winter surveys have greater numbers that the first ones- at least ones done originally in November, but it is surprising, and perhaps encouraging, how few new species an additional two hours provides.

Overall totals in tetrads vary considerably. I have received details of 37 so far that they species vary from 16 to 43 and the totals from 137 to 885, average 28 and 222.
Where I have had details of both counts the total species list per tetrad varies from 29 to 51. These figures are more or less as expected from the trial atlas work we did two winters ago.

HQ have been installing a new server to make things faster. So far it is not working well I found it impossible to download my most recent tetrad, so patience is needed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A few Changes

The website has had one or two changes recently. You can now enter Population Estimates for a species that you have not seen, but "know" is present. You should only do so if you know the bird was present during the winter period- November 2007-Feb 2008, but not if you have often seen it in the past and think it "must" still be around. You do this via the Edit my lists button. I am not very clear how the Population estimates will be used, except as a broad scale check on estimates produced in other ways. The Purpose of the tetrad survey is to get a feel for local density of each species, but of course most species that are not seen in two two hour surveys will of necessity probably only be present at a very low density anyway- though obviously Owls may well be ovberlooked in winter.
The first winter surveys went very well- it looks as if at least 85% of those who signed up have done them, and there may well be others who have done them but not entered them yet for whatever reason. But if first surveys have not been done, then the tetrad will have to have its winter survey during the 2008/09 winter- but it can of course have its breeding season survey this summer.
The maps on the Avon Recent Results charts look a bit thin, but this is because there are some 62 tetrads being done by paper and not computer- and they will only reach me when second surveys have been done, and then they will be sent to BTO for entering.
Incidentally a Great Bustard was present in ST66 yesterday, and I had a Peacock in Fishponds- whatever next.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

We have done well

Happy new year.
Congratulations to everyone who has completed their first winter survey in time. 280 tetrads have been signed up for, but 60 of them are being done on paper, especially in ST 35, ST36 and ST46, and their results dont appear on the website results. Of the 220 registered for computer returns 180 have so far put results in, which is 80%. Some of the remaining may have been done, but not yet input, some may have been registered for a future year ( I know of several) and some may have hoped to get out in time before Dec 31st, and not made it. In that case their winter survey will need to be done in 2008/09 winter, but their breeding season surveys can be done in 2008. Of course that does not prevent you from visiting them and putting in Roving Records for them.
Second winter visits can be made now, but try to leave a month between first and second. If we get the cold weather forecast there may be some interesting population changes between visits.