BTO Breeding Bird Survey and optional butterfly surveys

Volunteers with Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) squares have the option to survey their squares for butterflies during July and August, as part of the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) which is a collaboration between the BTO and Butterfly Conservation. Volunteers taking on new squares now can take part in the WCBS and then have the option to survey their squares over the winter for the Sussex Winter Bird Survey before breeding bird surveys begin next April.

The BBS is a national monitoring scheme administered by the BTO and jointly funded by the BTO, JNCC and RSPB. It has been running since 1994 and its primary aim is to provide population trends for common and widespread bird species in the UK.

Survey plots are randomly-selected 1-km squares of the National Grid, and the same squares are surveyed each year. Volunteers visit their squares three times each year during the breeding season, once to record simple habitat data, and twice to walk a fixed route, recording birds seen and heard. There are more than 150 BBS squares across Sussex, covering every type of habitat, and new volunteers are always needed.

Volunteers must be able to recognise common and widespread birds, but previous experience of survey work is not necessary. Help and support from experienced volunteers can be arranged if required.

For the WCBS, volunteers walk their usual BBS routes and record butterflies. Volunteers must be able to recognise common butterfly species but no special expertise is required.

The BBS squares (asterisks indicate priority squares that have been surveyed before) in Sussex which currently need volunteers for the 2021 breeding season are (updated 6/9/20):

SU7802 Cobnor Point
SU8612 West Dean
SU8624 Tote Hill near Midhurst
SU8926 Henley Common
SU9017 Heyshott*
SU9113 near East Dean*
SU9216 Graffham Down*
SU9228 near Blackdown*
SU9906 Binsted Woods
SU9915 near Bignor
SZ7996 East Wittering*
SZ8199 near Birdham
TQ0124 near Kirdford*
TQ0502 Rustington
TQ0826 Billingshurst
TQ1323 Dragon’s Green
TQ1531 Broadbridge Heath
TQ1917 near Bines Green
TQ2536 Gossops Green
TQ2631 Tilgate Forest*
TQ2721 near Goddard’s Green*
TQ3122 near Haywards Heath*
TQ3428 near Ardingly
TQ4002 Telscombe*
TQ4136 Ashurst Wood*
TQ4313 Upper Wellingham*
TQ4630 Old Lodge
TQ4738 near Blackham*
TQ4800 Seaford*
TQ4817 near Isfield*
TQ4900 Seaford*
TQ4933 Friar’s Gate
TQ4938 near Blackham*
TQ5026 High Hurstwood
TQ5130 central Crowborough
TQ5228 near Crowborough*
TQ5435 near Eridge Station*
TQ5514 near Chiddingly
TQ5738 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ5901 Willingdon
TQ6000 Eastbourne Upperton
TQ6313 near Herstmonceux
TQ6419 Earl’s Down*
TQ7028 near Hurst Green
TQ8013 Baldslow*
TQ8413 near Three Oaks
TQ8518 Udimore*
TQ8613 Guestling Green
TQ8722 Peasmarsh

For further information, please contact Helen Crabtree at