BTO Breeding Bird Survey: new squares available

Now is the ideal time to sign up to take part in the BTO Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) for this breeding season and to arrange to come along to an informal practice session with other volunteers. Some squares have recently become available and there are plenty of squares available right across the county.

This national monitoring scheme is 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 and published in the Sussex Bird Report.

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 are planned for late 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 (updated 21/3/2022) are:

SU7800 near West Itchenor
SU7907 near Funtington*
SU8102 near Bosham Hoe*
SU8307 near West Stoke*
SU8605 central Chichester*
SU8612 West Dean
SU8624 Tote Hill near Midhurst
SU8926 Henley Common
SU9113 near East Dean*
SU9228 near Blackdown*
SU9304 Westergate*
SU9729 near Northchapel*
SU9915 near Bignor
SZ7996 East Wittering*
SZ8199 near Birdham
TQ0124 near Kirdford*
TQ1323 Dragon’s Green
TQ1533 Warnham*
TQ1612 near Steyning*
TQ2022 Cowfold*
TQ2122 Cowfold*
TQ2828 Staplefield*
TQ2836 central Crawley
TQ3122 near Haywards Heath*
TQ4738 near Blackham*
TQ4821 Uckfield*
TQ4938 near Blackham*
TQ5026 High Hurstwood
TQ5130 central Crowborough
TQ5128 near Crowborough*
TQ5220 Blackboys*
TQ5228 near Crowborough*
TQ5435 near Eridge Station*
TQ5639 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ5738 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ6414 Bodle Street Green*
TQ6419 Earl’s Down*
TQ7111 near Ninfield*
TQ7811 Hollington*
TQ8326 Northiam Station*
TQ8413 near Three Oaks
TQ8518 Udimore*
TQ8613 Guestling Green
TQ8722 Peasmarsh*

For further information, please contact Helen Crabtree at hcrabtree@gmail.com.