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Surveyors needed – Nightingales and Turtle Doves in Chiddingfold Forest

We have been asked by Andy Page, Forestry England to organise surveys of breeding Nightingales and Turtle Doves in Chiddingfold Forest. The Forest straddles the Sussex/Surrey border just to the south and east of the village of Chiddingfold. It consists of a collection of woods, largely designated as SSSIs, five of which are within Sussex with the majority in Surrey. The woods are well known for their butterflies, most notably Wood Whites, and there is a programme of habitat management by Forestry England, private owners and Butterfly Conservation to improve the conditions for them.

The woodland management for butterflies is also beneficial for some key species of birds and the woods are thought to support good numbers of Nightingales and Turtle Doves. The objective in 2020 is to carry out systematic counts of these two species through the complex of woods. The survey is being organised jointly by SOS and the Surrey Bird Club to ensure a consistent approach for the whole Forest.

The Nightingale survey will be based on the methods developed by the BTO involving two daytime visits between Apr 21 and May 14 to walk round the site and find and map all the singing and calling birds. We will not be asking you to make any night-time visits.

Turtle Doves breed later in the season and for them we will follow the methods used by SOS for the county survey last year. This used two visits; visit 1 between May 11 and June 20 and visit 2 between June 21 and July 24. With a bit of judicious timing you can even combine visit 2 for Nightingales and visit 1 for Turtle Doves!

All observers will be provided with maps and recording forms together with full instructions. Many of the sites are open access land but, for those that are not, Forestry England are seeking access permissions from the private owners.

There are five woods that lie in Sussex which we would like to cover; Ashpark Wood, Kingspark Wood, Birchfield Copse, Weald Bankfield Copse and Hog Wood/copse.

If you would like to take part, please contact me and I will arrange to send you all the maps and forms you will need.

Ken Smith
01 243 786079