My First Bird Atlas Survey

It was with some trepidation that we set out today to complete the first timed visit to one of the two tetrads that I signed up for. The trepidation was in part due to the dark clouds that were massing and partly because neither of us had done a survey before.

We had planned our route to take the full two hours and take in as many habitats as possible and I think we did pretty well; we managed to include housing estates (old and new), industrial estates, town centre, playing fields, churchyard, reservoir, scrubby fields and old railway track.

It took a bit of getting used to, trying to identify, count and record the birds and trying to decide if you had already seen that one. My initial worries about my bird knowledge were unfounded as it is about commonly seen birds and at this time of year I can recognise them most of the time.

Entering the data when we got back was easy and apparently the number of blackbirds (78) and house sparrows (60) that I saw were noteworthy. I have to say that the churchyard and the old railway track were teeming with blackbirds, which seems pretty representative of Dav this year. Other things that I noted were the almost complete absence of robins (I only saw 7 in the entire tetrad) and wrens, and some areas where we tend to see birds week in week out were empty (some might say almost desolate) particularly of finches.

Another result that suprised us was that the number of birds that we saw in older housing estates with established gardens was lower than in the newer housing estates. Oh yes, we also saw only one song thrush, but I did see my first redwings.

My other tetrad covers more farmland and part of the canal so there should be some different results there.