Thursday, October 09, 2008

BTO Atlas 1st winter results

We now have the Pembrokeshire data for the first winter season of the new BTO atlas. There are almost 15,000 records for Pembrokeshire - a huge effort and many thanks to those who have contributed.

The map gives an indication of the number of species recorded so far in each tetrad.

Green patches - no records yet

Grey squares are less than seven species and probably mostly represent birds recorded while someone is driving through a square.

Darkest red squares have between 35 and 70 species recorded - the result of timed tetrad visits, and people recording in the tetrads where they live or visit most often.

We have records from 358 tetrads
152 species were recorded

A minimum of 225,573 individual birds were recorded (where no count was entered, the number is assumed to be one - so really there were lots more)

At least 59 people contributed - not all from Pembrokeshire, and indeed one person has an address in Finland.

Lots more effort is needed, especially in the middle and north-east of the county, so please do contribute in the coming season - fieldwork starts again on November 1st.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wetland Bird Survey - August 2008

We don't do a regular August WeBS count, but noting a number of observations recorded on the Pembrokeshire Birds blog, I've compiled a maximum August count for the Cleddau Estuary (not all sectors were looked at, and not all on the same dates, and not all lists were comprehensive, so these totals are just an indication of what was around):

Bar-tailed Godwit - 2
Black-headed Gull - 333
Black-tailed Godwit - 28
Canada Goose - present
Common Gull - 5
Common Sandpiper - 9
Curlew - 381
Dunlin - 433 - mostly at Angle Bay early in the month
Great Crested Grebe - 1
Green Sandpiper - 2
Greenshank - 29
Grey Heron - 5
Grey Plover - 1
Herring Gull - 1
Knot - 2
Lesser Black-back Gull - 2
Little Egret - 62
Mallard - 96
Mediterranean Gull - 9
Mute Swan - 3
Oystercatcher - 127
Redshank - 265 - half these were on the Little Milford to H-west section early in the month.
Ringed Plover - 80 - mostly at Angle Bay early in the month
Sanderling - 15
Snipe - 8
Snow Goose - 1
Spotted Redshank - 2
Teal - 94
Turnstone - 11
Whimbrel - 14
Wood Sandpiper - 1

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Breeding Bird Survey

I hope all volunteers have got their BBS forms etc by now, and are planning their first visit - if they haven't already done it.

We've just about managed to average 20 squares done each year since the foot and mouth outbreak interrupted survey work. There are still a dozen or so squares available in Pembrokeshire, so it's not too late to sign up for one if you'd like to have a go.

Data from BBS squares will be used in the BTO atlas.

Instructions can be found at

Happy counting!

Friday, March 28, 2008

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

In this annual event over the weekend of 26 and 27 January 2008, almost 400,000 people counted more than six million birds across 228,000 gardens.

I don't know how many gardens were recorded in Pembrokeshire, but the top ten species are listed below, with the average number of each per garden.

Starling 7.80
Chaffinch 5.49
House sparrow 5.18
Blue tit 3.90
Blackbird 2.31
Great tit 2.03
Greenfinch 1.85
Robin 1.60
Collared dove 1.55
Jackdaw 1.54

More information at

Monday, February 04, 2008

BTO Atlas

We are now into the 4th and final month of the first winter period of the Atlas. The weather has not always been particularly helpful, but the fieldwork effort has got off to a pretty good start.

Timed Tetrads

From records submitted on line so far, timed tetrad visits (TTVs) have been made in 73 out of 98 tetrads allocated since November. Twenty-five of these have received both early and late visits. The second visits have to be in either January or February, so there is still quite a lot to do! A minimum of one hour is all that is required per allocated tetrad, so please try to complete your second visits by the end of Feb. otherwise it will be too late!

Just to reiterate the protocols for TTVs. Both winter visits have to be done in the same winter season, so if you have not done the first visit yet, please leave this until next November and try to complete the two winter visits then. However, spring is not so far away, so you can do paired timed counts between April and July for the breeding season element - more about that a little nearer the time!


Roving Records
Thanks to everyone who has submitted on line roving records - whether directly to the Atlas web site or via Bird Track. The coverage has been pretty good so far, with records from 28 out of 29 ten km squares.
The only 10 km square that currently appears blank is SM62 (offshore islands - west side of Ramsey and Bishops and Clerks). Hopefully, Greg and Lisa Morgan have managed to get some coverage from Ramsey to help fill this gap.

However, don't assume that every dot means complete coverage of a tetrad or a 10 km square - it could be only a single species recorded there.
The Pembrokeshire Bird Group has signed an agreement with the BTO allowing us to have access to all the Pembrokeshire records for our own local atlas needs. Once we have this information, we'll be able to produce maps showing how many species have been recorded in each tetrad - so you'll be able to see where more coverage is needed next winter. Over the next 3 winters it will be great if we can add roving records from all tetrads - we are certainly well on the way to achieving this.

As the end of the winter approaches, it would useful to update the owl distribution maps. These are difficult species to find, but anybody hearing or seeing any of our owls could improve the distribution map. So please do look or listen out for them.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bird Atlas update

To date we have allocated 102 squares for timed tetrad visits, and 68 of them have had a first visit completed and entered on-line. A few more will be done on paper and entered at the end of the winter. As some people have volunteered for several tetrads to be done over the 4 years of the survey, this is a really good start.

Both winter visits to a tetrad have to be done in the same season, so we hope everyone is gearing up for their second visits before the end of February.

Spring visits start in April, so anyone who wants to volunteer for a tetrad in those areas not yet covered - there are still some 50 squares available.

We are also doing quite well for roving records, with some records entered for over 260 of the 480 tetrads in the county. Some of these are records of one species, others are lists of over forty species. So there is plenty of room for more records!

Garden Birdwatch records will be added in the spring, and some records from Birdtrack haven't come on line yet.

Many thanks to all of you who have contributed so far, and please keep up the good work.

Maps of coverage to date can be found at and more information about taking part can be found at