News Archive

Here you can find an archive of all of the News items related to the Bedfordshire Bird Atlas in reverse chronological sequence.

The most recent news items can be found on the Home page.

February 2015 update

It is completed!!

Thanks to a lot of hard work by many people we finished the last field work in summer 2011. This site now shows the final state of play as of the end of survey work. It is intended that this shall remain on-line for the forseeable future.

Beds Bird Club : February 2015

April 2011 update

Four years down!!

We go into summer 2011 with much achieved – in fact due to the successful progress to date we have decided to raise the threshold level. Now we are aiming to get all squares recorded up to 90% of the 88-92 coverage levels.

We start our final summer with only 70 tetrads below this target level. Which ones still need attention at the time of reading can be checked by looking at the live website on the status page where the remaining orange and red squares will hopefully reduce in numbers as we go through the breeding season.

As always anyone can contribute sightings to close existing gaps. Please have a look at the distribution maps for the current survey to see how recording is progressing in areas you know well, perhaps your favourite walk or around where you live / work. The record card can be easily viewed by clicking on any of the squares on the maps and from here there is a simple form to fill in to submit your records.

Here’s hoping for a successful fieldwork season in 2011.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 16th April 2011

March 2010 update

With three of the project’s five years completed we are making good progress.

The year starts with only two of the 378 squares having no records at all although there are still 21 squares for which less than 30 species have been recorded.

Our objective this year is to try and get the majority of the 79 squares which are still below the 80% threshold better recorded, these areas can be identified by going to the status page and looking at the Coverage Map and the Status Map for the New breeding Atlas

Although there are many people doing targeted fieldwork there is always scope for an individual to assist with single, casual sightings. Please have a look at the distribution maps for the current survey to see how recording is progressing in areas you know well, perhaps your favourite walk or around where you live / work. The record card can be easily viewed by clicking on any of the squares on the maps and from here there is a simple form to fill in to submit your records.

Here’s hoping for a successful breeding season in 2010.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 20th March 2010

December 2009 update

With three years data now loaded onto the website it is clear that we are nicely on course to achieve a successful third, tetrad level, breeding survey for Bedfordshire. We have used 60% of the allotted time and we have already gathered over 19,000 individual records – this represents 111% of our first survey and 90% of the survey completed in 1992.

In June this year, we used a new tactic that proved both effective and enjoyable. On 21st about a dozen people descended upon nominated squares in the far north west of the county around Poddington and Wymington. This not only produced many records but also took many of us to interesting areas that we had not visited before. I would like to extend my thanks to Poddington CC for allowing us to use their car park as both a meeting point and a barbeque venue.

It is the intention to use year four (2010) to get as many as possible of the outstanding 90ish, incomplete, squares surveyed so that in the final year of the survey we can try and resolve obvious gaps in the data. To see a graphic representation of how we are progressing look at the coverage map on the status page it is the orange and red squares where we particularly require people to visit.

Plans are already afoot to organise another “Blitz” visit although this year it will probably be spread between the SP95 and TL05 squares, broadly centred on Pavenham. Please keep an eye on “The Hobby” for details or contact me directly to get involved.

As always, we appreciate any records we receive so please feel free to use the online submission facility to make us aware of any of your sightings, which can plug gaps on the maps.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 9th December 2009

BTO Atlas update

The third winter of fieldwork for the BTO Atlas began on Nov 1st 2009. There are still plenty of gaps to fill in the species lists for Bedfordshire's 10km squares. The lists can be seen in the BTO Atlas updates section of the bird club website.

Nigel Willits, BTO rep for Bedfordshire : 4 December 2009

January 2009 update

The Beds Bird Club is working in partnership with the BTO, sharing any data gathered by Beds fieldworkers and in response any data gathered as part of the national project is passed in the opposite direction.

With the task of processing all of the records which were received from the BTO in December now completed we have a better understanding of how the Beds Atlas is progressing.

Of the 378 tetrads which we are intending to survey, 217 (57%) have reached the initial target level of 80% when compared to the last county atlas. This is about what the organising committee were aiming for as, although everyone has performed marvellously to reach this level after only two years surveying, the returns will diminish as fieldworkers are asked to travel further from home to get to their tetrads.

2009 promises to be an exciting year with lots of potential – will we find Hawfinches or Willow Tits anywhere ? Will the species that bred for the first time in 2008 (Red Kites and Egyptian Geese) consolidate their fragile status ?

Please consider getting involved and taking on an area to investigate – who knows what you will find.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 7th January 2009

BTO Atlas update

The second winters work for the BTO atlas starts in November 2008. Please see the UPDATE PAGE on the Beds Bird Club website to see how you can contribute to this work.

Nigel Willits, BTO rep for Bedfordshire : 28 October 2008

Autumn 2008 update

With autumn firmly upon us we are well into the process of gathering this summers data.

A glance at the coverage map reveals that 203 of the 378 tetrads have now reached our initial 80% threshold and this figure will, no doubt, improve when the data from the shared tetrads which have been surveyed by fieldworkers in adjacent counties reaches us via the BTO as part of the national survey.

With two years work complete we are well on target but we now move into the phase where people are generally asked to travel a little further to survey in areas which are short of cover. If your 10-km steward asks if you are prepared to do this please try to accept – even if you have to reduce the number of squares you can visit. Your participation is what the survey is all about – thanks.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 23 October 2008

New Coverage Map Available

Please take a moment to visit the coverage map (available through the Status page) - it gives an immediate view of where fieldworkers have been active and shows clearly where effort will need to be directed in future.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 24 June 2008

Bedfordshire Bird Atlas / Bird Atlas 2007-11 Co-operation

To allow the data which we are gathering as part of the local atlas project to be usable by the BTO for Bird Atlas 2007-11 we need to be able to provide a date for each record. Therefore, in future, when you submit on-line records to this site you will have to enter a minimum of month and year; of course if you are able to add the day as well please do so. The majority of records already received meet this criterion, so for most people there will be no obvious change.

As we enter the second month of the site's existence we have gathered more than 2500 records through the on-line record submission facility. It has always been a major driver behind the website initiative to make taking part in this survey as simple and as accessible to all as possible - we seem to be making some progress in that respect.

Rob Dazley, Bedfordshire Bird Atlas Organiser : 24 June 2008

Submission form problem resolved

A change to the online submission form made on 21st June incorrectly required a comment to be entered. This has now been resoved and comments are again optional.

Chris Dee, Bedfordshire Atlas Website Developer : 22 June 2008

Bird Atlases 2007-11

As most of you know, the first breeding season of fieldwork for the new Bedfordshire Breeding Atlas was completed during 2007, while the first winter season of fieldwork for the BTO Bird Atlas was completed at the end of February 2008. Many thanks to those who participated and helped in various ways. A good start was made and results continue to be collated. Details can be found on the bird club's website and on the BTO's atlas website.

Much remains to be done over the next four years, and in the forthcoming breeding season both surveys will run concurrently. We hope that existing volunteers will continue their fieldwork and that many more of you will join in. The results of these important projects will in many ways set the agenda for ornithological research and conservation action for many years to come. It is an exciting opportunity to get involved, whatever your level of experience. Records from your garden, general birding, dedicated atlas visits or anywhere you happen to be are all valuable. When you go out atlasing, it doesn't matter how many or how few birds you see; the records you submit will all be equally important.

For the county breeding atlas, recording cards are obtainable from the organisers and the 10-km square stewards. All you have to do is note what species you see in a tetrad (2-km x 2-km square) and what evidence of breeding you observe, from territorial singing to adults collecting food for chicks. If you plan to make dedicated visits to specific tetrads, it would be most helpful to notify the organisers and stewards, so that coverage can be coordinated across the county.

For the BTO atlas, two survey methods are being used:

  • Roving Records of species seen and their breeding status can be submitted by anyone for any location within the county or indeed anywhere in Britain & Ireland. Paper forms are available or you can enter your records directly on the website. These records will be used to compile comprehensive species lists for each 10-km square. Please note that there are a couple of minor differences between the breeding codes used by the county and the BTO. Details are on the forms and cards.

  • In addition, the BTO use a quantitative method called Timed Tetrad Visits (TTV). This involves walking a route for one or two hours (the choice is yours) through a tetrad counting all the individual birds seen or heard. From these figures, we will be able to compare the relative abundance of each species between 10-km squares throughout the country. Two winter visits and two breeding season visits are required for any one tetrad. The tetrad needs to be allocated to you first to avoid duplication of effort, after which recording forms are available to you on the website, or paper forms can be posted. Details of tetrad allocations can be seen on the website, where you can also make a request, or contact the organiser directly.

We encourage people doing one or other of the atlases to do both, which in many cases simply means filling in two forms instead of one. A staggering total of 32 counties are running local atlases in conjunction with the British & Irish one. Without doubt, it is the most ambitious atlas project ever undertaken anywhere. Please help us make it a resounding success.

Rob Dazley, Local Atlas Organiser

Nigel Willits, BTO Atlas Organiser for Bedfordshire