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 June, 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 are (updated 27/7/21):

SU7800 near West Itchenor
SU8612 West Dean
SU8624 Tote Hill near Midhurst
SU8926 Henley Common
SU9017 Heyshott*
SU9113 near East Dean*
SU9216 Graffham Down*
SU9228 near Blackdown*
SU9400 Lidsey Rife*
SU9705 Walberton*
SU9915 near Bignor
SZ7996 East Wittering*
SZ8199 near Birdham
TQ0124 near Kirdford*
TQ1004 West Durrington*
TQ1323 Dragon’s Green
TQ2536 Gossops Green
TQ2721 near Goddards Green*
TQ2817 Hurstpierpoint*
TQ3122 near Haywards Heath*
TQ4136 Ashurst Wood*
TQ4313 Upper Wellingham*
TQ4738 near Blackham*
TQ4938 near Blackham*
TQ5026 High Hurstwood
TQ5130 central Crowborough
TQ5128 near Crowborough*
TQ5228 near Crowborough*
TQ5231 Crowborough*
TQ5435 near Eridge Station*
TQ5738 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ5901 Willingdon*
TQ6313 near Herstmonceux
TQ6414 Bodle Street Green*
TQ6419 Earl’s Down*
TQ7111 near Ninfield*
TQ7224 near Robertsbridge*
TQ7811 Hollington*
TQ8013 Baldslow*
TQ8413 near Three Oaks
TQ8518 Udimore*
TQ8613 Guestling Green
TQ8722 Peasmarsh

For further information, please contact Helen Crabtree at