A.G.M. and Peregrines

Urban Peregrines

At a town near you?

The Society is holding its Annual General Meeting at 7.30pm Thursday 24th April at the Farmers Arms, Guiting Power – worth the trip for the menu and beer alone.

As if that wasn’t enough, our guest speaker will be Ed Drewitt (note spelling; not the musician) on Urban Peregrines. Ed is involved with the Peregrines at Christ Church, Cheltenham (amongst other sites), where he comes along to check the nest-box and identify the various species the young are fed on.  There is no charge for this talk.

It’s particularly topical as the BTO has a national survey of Peregrines this year. Always a great bird to see, and gradually becoming a more common breeder in our part of the world.

The Breeding Bird Survey – guest post from Gordon Kirk, BTO regional representative for Gloucestershire

The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), organised by the British Trust for Ornithology, is the most important survey for monitoring the fortunes of our more common breeding birds. All over the country, thousands of volunteers survey “their” 1km square every spring, recording all the birds they encounter. These randomly-selected squares are surveyed every year and this constant effort provides a huge and valuable set of data from which population trends can be calculated, providing important feedback on the state of the environment. Currently, about 70 people survey squares in Gloucestershire.

Why not join this happy band?…..if you enjoy doing a NCOS summer or winter survey, you will love BBS! You need to be reasonably confident that you can recognise common birds by sight, call and song. You survey your square twice – once in April / early May, and again in late May /June. Most observers also visit their square in March to walk the course and record some details about the habitat – is it woodland, farmland, urban etc? Each visit might take about one and a half hours. Almost all observers submit their sightings online, but you can fill in paper forms if you wish.

Currently there are fourteen available, unallocated squares in the NCOS area, listed below. Have a look on a map to locate them, and if you taking on one of them or finding out more, please contact me on Gordonkirk (at) aol.com. It may be necessary to seek permission from landowners in order to survey some squares (those marked with an asterix below are probably in that category, but don’t let this put you off – most landowners are happy to agree to this, and it is always great to survey otherwise inaccessible areas); I may be able to assist, and can certainly provide a BTO letter of introduction. There is a BBS training session on Sunday 6th April (9am -12noon) at Frampton on Severn, designed to introduce new observers to the survey (and each other!) – again, contact me if you would like to attend. It’s free but I need to know numbers.

Available squares:-

SO9026*  NW of Cheltenham
SO9108  N of Bisley
SO9809*  NW of Cirencester, just off the A417
SP0306  Baunton Downs
SP0403*  NE of Cirencester
SP0426*  SE of Winchcombe
SP0637  SE of Aston Somerville
SP0715*  W of Northleach
SP0935  N of Snowshill
SP1009  N of Ablington
SP1203*  NW of Fairford
SP1602  NE of Fairford
SP1736*  NE of Blockley
SP1930*  SW of Moreton-in-Marsh