Clyde Atlas – Urgent appeal for survey volunteers

06 June 2014

Clyde Tetrad Atlas 2007-14 -

UPDATE 6 JUNE 2014

We are making this appeal in the hope that more Clyde Branch SOC members will volunteer to cover at least a single tetrad in the final season of this valuable project. Many thanks to those who have taken part so far.  This is not a survey requiring great expertise – only basic identification skills are required, and we would hope that the project gives greater purpose and enjoyment to local birdwatching.

The Clyde SOC, with invaluable support from BTO, is now halfway through the final breeding season of the Project.  Over seven years, 734 observers have gathered in excess of 300,000 records, an average of almost 7,000 records per 10-kilometre square, a tremendous achievement.  We are well on our way to holding enough data to produce a comprehensive avifauna, Birds of the Clyde Area, including atlas maps for breeding and winter distribution of all species.

However we are struggling to achieve full coverage for the breeding season.  It is almost always the case with such surveys that a small number of observers carries out a high percentage of the fieldwork, but currently we have fewer than ten Clyde SOC members contributing over 95% of the effort.  This is simply not sufficient to achieve adequate coverage in the time left to us.  So we are making this URGENT APPEAL for all members to contribute during the two months remaining of this final breeding season. In reality we have only five weeks to make the most of it, as recordable bird activity diminishes significantly after the first week in July, particularly in woodland.

Even if every member took on only one tetrad it could make a significant difference. (A ‘tetrad’ is a 2km x 2km square on the national grid as shown on OS maps, with each 10-kilometre square dividing into 25 tetrads.)  Some may even find that records from around their own home could make a difference!  An experienced birdwatcher can achieve reasonable coverage of an average tetrad in a single visit lasting two hours, whilst those who are new to the game may require longer, or perhaps two visits of a similar duration. However there is no time limit. Our most active and experienced atlas fieldworkers are currently completing four or five tetrads a day.  The objective is to visit as many habitat types as possible within the tetrad (by foot, car or bike), noting all bird species and attempting to record behaviour indicative of breeding.  The BTO Atlas website at  http://blx1.bto.org/atlas/main/data-home.jsp?Refresh=true is where to find the methodology and to contribute results for the local atlas.  You will require to log in or register to use the BTO website, a simple procedure.  Note that Timed Tetrad Visits are not required for the Clyde Atlas, only Roving Records, which simplifies the fieldwork.

If you would like to help, local organiser Alan Wood will be happy to answer any questions, and can provide maps and up-to-date information about a tetrad urgently in need of attention near your home or local patch.  Please contact Alan on  a.wood67@ntlworld.com or by phone on 07799 433407.  For anyone who would like to volunteer to cover remote tetrads in South Lanarkshire or northern parts of Loch Lomondside, more than 50 miles from their home, a vehicle allowance of 30p per mile is available, courtesy of an SOC Endowment Fund Grant.  Alan Wood can provide you with a claim form if you volunteer to help in this way.

*Images courtesy of Davie Abraham*

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