• Surveys

      Farmland bird surveying is undertaken to track population trends and find out if conservation management is making an impact.  The list below provides information and details of surveys going on across the South Downs.

      South Downs Farmland Bird Monitoring

      National trends for farmland bird species such as skylark, yellowhammer and lapwing are showing continued declines, but is this the case across the South Downs?  To try and find out, in 2014 the SDFBI launched a farmland bird monitoring project in conjunction with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the Sussex and Hampshire Ornithological Societies (SOS and HOS).  The project matches volunteer surveyors with randomly selected 1km grid squares within the National Park boundary.  The projects aims to survey at least 100 such squares each year using the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) methodology.

      Designed to be repeated every year, the survey consists of two morning visits in April and June.  The results of the surveys will help us track the fortunes of birds such as skylark, linnet and yellowhammer.  Over time, we can use this information to map population trends for the South Downs to see how species are faring, and how it compares to the national picture.  The information gathered can also be used to inform and target future conservation action for farmland birds.

      The surveys are designed to be completed from public rights of way, but in cases where this is difficult, some volunteers may approach landowners for access.  If you fall within a survey square and are contacted, it would be much appreciated if you are able to allow access as it enables the full survey to take place.  If you are approached, remember to ask for sightings to be sent back to you, you never know, it may throw up some surprises!

      A list of the survey squares can be found here, and a map showing their distribution here

       

      SDFBI Bird Monitoring results

      The table below shows the percentage of survey squares in which the priority farmland bird species were recorded in over the first 4 years of the project (2014 - 2017).  The number in brackets after the survey year indicates the number of 1km grid squares surveyed in that year. 

      Species

        2014 (112)  

        2015 (120)  

        2016 (118)  

        2017 (127)  

      Corn bunting

      14%

      14%

      11%

      13%

      Grey partridge

      3%

      5%

      4%

      4%

      Lapwing

      11%

      10%

      10%

      9%

      Linnet

      66%

      59%

      63%

      55%

      Skylark

      82%

      82%

      74%

      79%

      Yellowhammer

      67%

      58%

      59%

      64%

      Click here for maps of the key species from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 surveys.

      The maps below show the results from the 2017 survey:

      New for 2017, the map below shows the number of red listed birds recorded in each survey square.  The list is defined using national data from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).  Further details can be found on their website

      Corn bunting

      Grey partridge

      Lapwing

      Linnet

      Skylark

      Yellowhammer

      Maps for other species of interest can be found here.

      All maps have been kindly produced for the SDFBI by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT)

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