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 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 by sight and sound, 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 18/6/2024):

SU7907 near Funtington*
SU8527 near Milland*
SU8615 Westdean Woods*
SU8718 near Cocking*
SU9113 near East Dean*
SU9729 near Northchapel*
SU9923 near Petworth*
SZ7996 East Wittering*
SZ8199 near Birdham
TQ0124 near Kirdford*
TQ0322 near Codmore Hill*
TQ0601 East Preston*
TQ0826 Billingshurst
TQ1004 Durrington*
TQ1323 Dragon’s Green*
TQ2536 Gossops Green
TQ2638 Langley Green*
TQ2836 central Crawley
TQ3319 Ditchling Common*
TQ4716 near Isfield*
TQ4821 Uckfield*
TQ4938 near Blackham*
TQ5023 Buxted*
TQ5026 High Hurstwood
TQ5128 near Crowborough*
TQ5211 near Golden Cross*
TQ5220 Blackboys*
TQ5228 near Crowborough*
TQ5435 near Eridge Station*
TQ5639 Tunbridge Wells*
TQ6817 near Penhurst
TQ7624 near Bodiam
TQ7811 Hollington*
TQ8518 near Udimore*

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