Avon BTO

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BBS and Atlas

The question has recently been asked, how will BBS records contribute to the Atlas? The answer is that they will be used as top up information if necessary for the species record at the 10km square level. As BBS records do not include any breeding status information it would be helpful if you happen to get evidence of breeding on a BBS survey to put the details in as a Roving Record.

Most people are clearly waiting for warmer weather before doing tetrad surveys, and also hoping for a bigger species list if they wait until the migrants are in and settled. The start of the breeding season surevy both locally and nationally has thus been slower than the winter survey. It is worth stressing again that when doing a tetrad survey you should note the best breeding evidence you can for every species you see. Looking at bird behaviour rather than just counting , and making a note of it, is a habit we have rather lost!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Atlas on TV

On Inside Out West this Friday 7.30 Mike Dilger will be shown doing ST47 tetrad G for the Atlas (Gordano valley). Filming was last autumn.

One or two questions have been raised about Breeding status definitions. This mainly concerns the difference between T for teritory and P for pair in nesting habitat. Both these give probable breeder status, and are better than simply S for singing male. Two males singing against each other can also count as T, and N , for visiting probable nest site can be used for Jackdaws investigating Chimneys for instance. D is any sort of courtship or display, and either D or T would cover fighting males. But the object is to get confirmed breeding status for as many species as possible, which will be easier once birds start feeding their young.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Breeding season records

I had not realised that the BTO would map breeding status at tetrad level- but if you go to the local results you can see the status in different colours. Thus please record the breeding status of each species in your tetrads. At this stage this is mostly H for seen in possible habitat, S for singing male, D for display and B for building. But ON for occupied nest is also possible.

Secondly I was muddled about the breeding status entry on the computer. You type in the relevant letter, and then up pops the definition for that letter and you click on it to confirm

Thirdly Swifts. To prove breeding is very difficult, but if you come a cross a party of screaming swifts at rooftop level ( Not high in the sky) that should be listed as D for display, as these parties are always closely associated with nest sites. John Tully and I are running a Screaming Swift survey this summer as part of a wider scheme to try to find a good monitoring method. So please make a note of every party- Date, time of day, the road or building or Grid ref, and the number of birds in the party, and send it to me or John. It is also worth sending in a Roving Record for every such party you come across

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Breeding Season entries

A couple of points about entering breeding season tetrad visits. Firstly there are now FIVE pages to fill in, four with counts and the fifth for any colonial nesting species. If there are none in your tetrad you must still go to page five and confirm it as zero- if you dont no-one will know whether you have checked or not. With Gulls I am not yet entering a colonial count because they are all just hanging around- there are almost no neste yet.
When entering breeding code- and please do this for all species you are clear are breeding species, you seem to have to press the Enter button to get the entry to register. This is irritating, and may be improved. S for singing male (which is just means possible breeder, and has the same satus as H for present in suitable habitat) and D for display, which is Probable breeder, as is B for nest building, are the obvious ones to enter at present- though before the leaves come out it is easy to get ON (occupied nest) for some species. Also note that it is easy to mistake D and DD (Distraction Display) and you need to check carefully.
Incidentally 249 was our final total for fullycomplete tetrads during the winter as far as I can see- Excellent.