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Breeding Waders of Wet Meadows & Agri-environment Schemes & Lapwing Plots

A BTO & RSPB Organised Survey


The survey, once again, will remain dependent on the government restrictions in place during the survey period. The BTO are optimistic that the situation regarding outdoor activities will have improved sufficiently for BTO volunteer surveys to take place and we need to plan on this basis at this stage, in order to leave sufficient time to organise everything before surveys should begin.

Therefore, we have taken the decision to ask you to sign up for site(s) that were previously allocated to you (or to choose different ones) if you can take part this year. Please select and request your site(s) by logging into the survey webpage (via Go to data entry):

This is an online survey: You can access all the project information and documentation yourself by visiting:

The purpose of this survey is to assess the importance of both existing and new wet grassland and also other breeding wader habitats in England (as provided by agri-environment schemes) for declining breeding birds such as Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe. The survey will re-visit sites from the 1982 and 2002 surveys, including sites from the 2009-10 RSPB targeted areas, as well as other new sites since 2002.

The survey will involve up to four visits between mid-April and end of June to count and map all waders within allocated sites featuring wet grassland and/or farmland sites containing specific agri-environment scheme (AES) options. Simple habitat and land management measures will also be recorded during the field work. All regions of lowland England will be covered. Surveyors will need to be able to identify several common wader species by sight and sound, and also to be familiar with display and territorial behaviour.

The survey will require three daytime visits, with at least one week separating each, and a single dusk visit for Snipe during May - only if present at the site. It is important to make the first visit in April if possible, as this is an optimal time to survey Lapwing. Daytime visits should be carried out preferably between dawn and midday – avoiding cold, wet or windy weather.

A map will be provided showing you the boundary of your site. Cover all of the area indicated to ensure results are comparable to the 2002 surveys. Sites will need to be surveyed systematically, field by field, walking 100m of each part of the site. Record all waders on maps provided using standard BTO species codes.

Ducks should also be recorded and we are also keen to use the opportunity to record Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. Only wader species need to be mapped.

Key survey points

· Surveyors must seek permission entering private land before survey work commences – we can help with identifying landowners and may be able to provide contact details, if available.

· All Waders (and other birds) need to be recorded at the field level.

· Habitat details need to be recorded for every field within the site on the first visit, and any changes to habitat or ground conditions need to be recorded on all subsequent visits.

· It is important that survey timings are adhered to and evening Snipe visits are carried out within the specified time of day.

RSPB sites - As mentioned, the survey has been jointly organised with RSPB who will be coordinating staff/volunteers on all RSPB managed sites/reserves or other sites where they are overseeing wader survey work. So as a consequence, the list of sites attached that I am coordinating for the BTO do not include the RSPB sites.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

If you have any questions or need further information about the survey please contact me.

Mick Wright BTO RR Suffolk Email:

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