Woodland Bird Survey 2020

This survey has now resumed (from 13th May) but ideally should have ended on 30th May. The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy (May 2020) allows travel by car to sites for exercise. There are still restrictions, read more at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884171/FINAL_6.6637_CO_HMG_C19_Recovery_FINAL_110520_v2_WEB__1_.pdf

© Garth Peacock

Cambridgeshire Woodland birds survey 2020

In 2003 the Club carried out a survey of woodland birds focusing especially on the scarce and declining species such as Marsh Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and its time to do this again.

We hope to cover as many woodlands as possible across the county, with three visits; late March, late April and late May, and the objective is to make a species list and estimate numbers of territories (singing in the same-ish area on 2+ visits). Part of the emphasis in the northwest of the county will help to provide information to the Back from the Brink 'Roots of Rockingham' Project, whose cross-border work to improve the ancient woodlands of Rockingham has so far not been as strong on the bird side of their target species.

We have listed the possible survey sites in a spreadsheet. The list is arranged by sector of the county, then by priority [1 or 2]. Each part of the county has woods we think will be the best sites, and others which it would be great to cover but might not be as good. All the sites are shown on a Googlemap

To sign up, please email Louise Bacon, via the county recorder email cbcrecorder@gmail.com

As we need to start in the last week of March for some of the scarcer species (although the first week of April will be OK for many sites) please sign up for a wood (or two) as soon as possible.

What to do and when

Accessibility: If the site has public access, e.g. Woodland Trust or other open access then please survey throughout the wood from paths and rides. Included in the list are several private woods, surveying should only be done only from public rights of way. If these do not exist or are inadequate, permission must first be sought from the landowner to enter the wood, and proceed with the minimum of disturbance.

Dates of visits: Each monthly visit should be made within the following periods 1) March 21st to April 5th 2) April 21st to 30th, 3) May 21st to 30th. Ideally, start one hour after sunrise but if started later, ensure that the survey is completed before noon.

Records: We want to find out the current status of our severely declining species but please report all species as some of our commoner birds - Jay, thrushes, and even Blue & Great Tit are under-recorded. Include numbers and the highest breeding level attained. Please either send a completed spreadsheet to Louise, or enter your records into BirdTrack, adding Woodland Survey as key words in a comments box.

Bird calls and song can be accessed on the excellent Xeno-Canto site.

Your Safety is your Responsibility. Private woods usually have rides through them but management levels vary greatly between woods, and even sections of a wood, and there is a risk of stumbling, getting eye damage from contact with branch tips, or being bashed by falling gale-damaged branches etc. When permission has been granted by a landowner, make sure you make contact just before each visit so that working staff such as gamekeepers are aware of your presence.