Monday, 18 January 2010

The BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11

With the return of decent weather I decided it was time to get out the field and get another TTV done for the new BTO bird atlas. A TTV is a timed tetrad vist, and a tetrad is a 2KM by 2KM square as defined on the Ordnance Survey may. Each 10KM square has 25 tetrads named from A-Z (there's no O), and I'm surveying five of them. What's the altlas for? Here are the words of the BTO
"It is now over 15 years since we finished the fieldwork for the last breeding atlas and over 20 years since the last winter atlas. In the intervening period much has happened to Britain and Ireland’s habitats and climate but how have our birds been affected?"

The 10Km square around here is TR24 and the tetrad I visited to day was TR34E, that includes Ashley and Studdal.

West Studdal Farm forms most of the NE corner and as well it being a great looking and well kept farm the people are helpful and friendly and seem to farm in a way that is sympathetic to wildlife and the environment.
Compared to when I did the early winter visit there were far fewer small birds about, I saw hardly any finches, just a handful of Chaffinches. This may be the result of the cold weather moving wintering birds on, trying to find better feeding areas. There were quite a lot of Blue Tits around, and there were already vocal staking out their claims for their territories. Where there were coniferous trees the clear "pseeooo" calls could be heard.
Only just lest numerous than Blue Tits their larger cousins, Great Tits were equally vocal, giving their "teacher teacher" call.

And of course the ever irresistible Long-tailed Tits were around the hedge rows and the edges of the woods. I saw just one Woodcock, but the farm manager told me that at the peak of the cold spell he saw about ten in one area, by headlights, in the dark.

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