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Sussex breeding Firecrest survey 2018: update

In 2018 there will be a Sussex-only breeding Firecrest survey. The aims of this survey will be to estimate breeding densities of Firecrests in Sussex, to obtain a better undertstanding of their distribution in the county, and to find out in detail what kinds of habitats these birds are using. The survey will run in April, May and June 2018 and the survey sites will be 1-km squares largely self-selected by volunteers but distributed as widely as possible across the county and also randomly-selected 1-km squares confirmed to include at least some suitable breeding habitat.

To assist with the selection of suitable survey sites in good time before the 2018 breeding season commences, volunteers are being sought NOW who are willing DURING THIS WINTER to search 10-km squares or smaller areas for sites with habitats that are potentially suitable for breeding Firecrests. Detailed advice about suitable habitats is availableĀ here but essentially mixed coniferous/deciduous woodland is thought to be preferred, especially if there is douglas fir, western hemlock, norway spruce or holly. In addition, volunteers are being sought who can visit one or more of the following 1-km squares during January or February to check for the presence of suitable breeding habitat:

SU7901 West Itchenor
SU7911 Stoughton
SU8103 Bosham
SU8113 Wildham Wood
SU9113 East Dean
SU9123 Cowdray Park
SZ8997 Pagham
TQ0103 Littlehampton
TQ0113 Bury
TQ0123 The Mens
TQ1103 Durrington
TQ1113 Washington
TQ1123 Coolham
TQ2005 Shoreham Airport
TQ3309 Stanmer
TQ3113 Clayton
TQ3133 Worth Abbey
TQ4103 Peacehaven
TQ4123 Sheffield Park
TQ4133 Kidbrooke
TQ5103 Alfriston
TQ5113 Lower Vert Wood
TQ5123 Buxted
TQ6103 Langney
TQ6917 near Penhurst
TQ6123 near Broad Oak
TQ7113 near Ninfield
TQ8113 Baldslow
TQ8123 Mill Corner
The following are squares that have already been identified as having habitat suitable for breeding Firecrests, and so volunteers willing to survey these squares in the breeding season are being sought:

SU7408 Southleigh Forest
SU7714 Compton
SU7818 South Harting
SU8110 Kingley Vale
SU8515 and SU8516 Westdean Woods
SU8530 Stanley Common
SU8722 Woolbeding
SU8815 Singleton Forest
SU9125 Bexleyhill Common
SU9311 and SU9312 Selhurst Park
SU9710 and SU9810 Madehurst
SU9908 Arundel Rewell Wood
TQ0107 Arundel Swanbourne Lake
TQ2832 Brantridge Forest
TQ3232 Paddockhurst Park
TQ4726 Fairwarp (Ashdown Forest)
TQ6421 Dallington Forest
TQ6720 and TQ6721 Brightling
TQ6722 Legget’s Wood
TQ6919 and TQ7019 Darwell Wood
TQ7115 and TQ7215 Beechdown Wood
TQ7217 Ashes Wood
TQ7623 Wellhead Wood

Please contact Helen Crabtree at hcrabtree@gmail.com if you know of sites near you that hold breeding Firecrests, or if you would be willing to search an area or one of the squares listed above over the winter for suitable habitat, or if you woud like to undertake surveys in the breeding season. The breeding season surveys themselves will involve three visits to each 1-km square to search all suitable habitat and to record numbers of singing Firecrests and Goldcrests.