BTO Breeding Bird Survey: latest news

Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of so many amazing volunteers 175 squares have been surveyed for the BBS in the Sussex region this year. It is fantastic that after such a difficult year in 2020 we have achieved coverage similar to that achieved in the previous several years. Coverage in 2020 was much reduced but BTO analyses of the data will easily be able to take into account the missing data and so long-term trends will be unaffected.
Now is a good time of the year to consider taking part in the BBS, because if you take on a square you will also have the option to take part in the Sussex Winter Bird Survey (SWBS) by surveying the same square over the coming winter, beginning on 1 November 2021.
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. Population trends for Sussex are also produced annually. 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 200 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, and some informal group practice sessions will hopefully be planned for March 2022 to which new volunteers will be invited.

The BBS squares (asterisks indicate priority squares that have been surveyed before) in Sussex which currently need volunteers for the 2022 breeding season are (updated 30/12/2021):

SU7800 near West Itchenor
SU8102 near Bosham Hoe*
SU8307 near West Stoke*
SU8605 central Chichester*
SU8624 Tote Hill near Midhurst
SU8926 Henley Common
SU9017 Heyshott*
SU9113 near East Dean*
SU9127 near Fernhurst*
SU9216 Graffham Down*
SU9228 near Blackdown*
SU9304 Westergate*
SU9729 near Northchapel*
SZ7996 East Wittering*
SZ8199 near Birdham
SZ8698 Sidlesham*
TQ0124 near Kirdford*
TQ1004 West Durrington*
TQ1323 Dragon’s Green
TQ2022 Cowfold*
TQ2122 Cowfold*
TQ2721 near Goddards Green*
TQ2817 Hurstpierpoint*
TQ2836 central Crawley
TQ3122 near Haywards Heath*
TQ3128 near Balcombe*
TQ3722 near Scaynes Hill*
TQ4313 Upper Wellingham*
TQ4612 near Ringmer*
TQ4738 near Blackham*
TQ4821 Uckfield*
TQ4938 near Blackham*
TQ5026 High Hurstwood
TQ5130 central Crowborough
TQ5128 near Crowborough*
TQ5220 Blackboys*
TQ5228 near Crowborough*
TQ5231 Crowborough*
TQ5435 near Eridge Station*
TQ5639 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ5738 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ5901 Willingdon*
TQ6313 near Herstmonceux
TQ6414 Bodle Street Green*
TQ6419 Earl’s Down*
TQ7111 near Ninfield*
TQ7224 near Robertsbridge*
TQ7811 Hollington*
TQ8326 Northiam Station*
TQ8413 near Three Oaks
TQ8518 Udimore*
TQ8613 Guestling Green
TQ8722 Peasmarsh*

For further information, please contact Helen Crabtree at