BBS second visits

I completed the second visits to my two BBS squares the weekend before last. Each passed without huge incident.

On my first square it was a rather low species total over the two visits, but last year was the highest ever so not much of a trend there. I was glad that there were still a couple of Yellow Wagtails and Skylark numbers were decent. This year no Reed Bunting and no Linnet though.  This year produced the highest ever counts of Chaffinch, Blackbird and Woodpigeon – hooray!  Nothing very special but my data are just another grain of sand, in a brick, in a big wall – and that thought gives me a lot of pleasure.

My second square, completed the next morning, did produce a record species total, but again, it wasn’t because the birding was great, just that I saw a few of just about everything I could expect. And again, it felt good to be out at 6am, and finished by 8am, and it felt good to be contributing a small amount to the large pile of knowledge on bird population levels. I wonder whether David Cameron and Liz Truss are fretting or sweating over the results.

The birds are different in the two squares – the second has a portion of a village in it and is full of House Sparrows, Starlings and lots of other small birds, the first is arable land and is a bit empty. Maybe David Lindo was right all along.

Another year of BBS – another pleasant four morning counting birds. I’m already looking forward to seeing the results of last year, and then taking part again next year. If you aren’t involved at the moment, why not give it a try?

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2 Replies to “BBS second visits”

  1. Some BBS surveyors are lucky to get arable land! My 3 north of England squares all include sections of sheep (sometimes horse) pasture, where the highlights are a few corvids and woodpigeons. One such area has now changed to arable, was bare soil for the surveys, and to my surprise produced more lapwings, skylarks and my first BBS oystercatcher. Although it is of course about what is recorded within the survey rather than looking for new birds to list, it was BBS which alerted me to regular tree sparrows in an unexceptional and generally unrecorded area, and it is heartening to be seeing and hearing curlews and willow warblers still where they ought to be. I really do recommend getting involved.

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  2. Sorry, I should have added that BBS is not only about birds - mammal sightings are encouraged, and I've been sometimes lucky enough to see hares. I do repeat summer visits to one BBS square for butterflies, details on BTO website, they always want more volunteers. Not as daunting as expected - mostly the commoner species, though white ones can be a challenge! You are only supposed to do them in good butterfly weather, so you don't have to get up early, and it's a lot warmer than early mornings in spring. Always enjoyable.

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