Seeking Bird Survey volunteers

The Society carries out a number of surveys each year for submitting to several interested bodies such as the BTO and Elmbridge County Council for trend records and analysis. These are important surveys to better understand the state of our bird population trends and in some cases direct action is taken to support some species. These records also get added to our own Society records for publication in our Annual Bird Report compiled by our Society Recorder, Tony Quinn. We are therefore very keen to encourage our members to take part in these surveys for which we will train you in bird observation and song – so if you are interested do please contact or speak to Thelma Caine, Tony Quinn or Graham Avison. Give it a try!


We need to record our House Martins! – can you please help!

The BTO need our help with their House Martin Survey. Last year 2015, with supporters help, they collected data on how the population as a whole is faring. This year the BTO is taking a detailed look at nesting House Martins to investigate breeding success in different places and habitats. They need all the help they can get, so if you have House Martin nests near you, please take part by using the link:


Winter Bird Count Reports


SDBWS Red Data Species Survey


New BTO Winter Thrush Survey

Over the next two winters, BTO need people across the UK to record where and when they see any of our six thrush species (Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare and Ring Ouzel), observed on migration or during the winter. Populations of all six species have declined over the last 40 years. Blackbird, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush are resident in the UK but in the case of Blackbird, there are winter arrivals of immigrants from Scandinavia and continental Europe, along with an influx of Redwing and Fieldfare. The aim of the survey is to discover what food and habitats the birds favour and to determine seasonal and geographical patterns of how thrushes use the countryside.

Anyone can take part in this survey, whether experienced or new to birdwatching. The BTO have provided online assistance from species identification videos, photographs and audio material, to guides on berries, fruit and crops that am likely to be important for thrushes. Thrushes like berries such as hawthorn, blackthorn, ivy and holly in the first part of the winter, then forage, especially for earthworms, snails and other invertebrates later in the season. An important aspect of the survey will be to record which food sources the birds are using at different times and places. It will also look at how changes in the countryside have affected thrush populations and how important food resources in gardens, orchards, hedgerows and woodlands are to their winter survival To take part in the survey, and help find answers to these questions, all you will have to do is record the thrushes you see in your garden or on a regular winter walk, observe their habitat and behaviour and report details using a simple online recording system. The survey began on 12th September and will run until eariy April 2013 and again in winter 2013/14, A parallel survey launched on 30th September examines how wintering thrushes use the berries and other fruits available in gardens. This second survey, the ‘Birds and Garden Berries Study, will identify which fruits (both native and non-native) are used at different points throughout the winter. It will also establish whether birds show preferences for particular types or colours of berry. Full details are available from the BTO website at Those wishing to take part who do not have internet access should contact Thelma Caine for advice.


Request for Bird Recording in Hampton Court Park

The Club has been approached to undertake official bird recording in Hampton Court Park. They would like us to cover the whole park and are particularly keen to monitor skylarks and also reedbed habitat. There are several interesting areas inside the Palace grounds to which the recording team would be given access. We are looking to set up a small team of 4-6 people including a team leader to conduct survey visits. As a minimum, a record of birds present at each season of the year would be needed with an bird report produced at the end of the year. Depending on time available, a breeding survey could be conducted. This would require a minimum of five visits between the beginning of April and end of July. Recording forms and maps would be provided.

For those who have not carried out survey work before but who are interested in doing so, training in bird recording and survey methods would be provided by experienced members of SDBWS. If you would be interested in taking part in this survey or would like to find out more about it, please contact Thelma Caine. Email: Thelma Caine