Planned Surveys

The HOS Scientific Committee has reviewed its Survey Strategy which can be read here.

Breeding season records – including breeding evidence – is welcome for Nightingale, Turtle Dove, Cetti’s Warbler, Water Rail, Firecrest and any species that fall under the remit of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.

2024 New Forest Woodlark Survey

Woodlark, Steve Laycock

This survey is in full swing!

100 HOS members volunteered to help, covering 307 1km squares across the New Forest. They are surveying their allocated squares between 15 February and 31 March, and again between 1 April and 31 May.

We hope to find at least as many territories as there were in the last survey in 2019, when 172 were found.

The survey was commissioned by Forestry England as part of their commitment to monitor certain bird species within the New Forest Special Protection Area.

To see a map of where Woodlarks have been found so far, please visit https://hoswoodlark.birdsurvey.org.uk/map.php?View=r.

National Winter Gull Roost Survey (WinGS) – 2023/24 to 2024/25

Black Headed Gull by Brian Cartwright 31st Oct Anton LakeThe Winter Gull Survey (WinGS) is running over the winters of 2023/24 and 2024/25 and is intended to collect updated information on the numbers and distributions of wintering gulls in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
WinGS volunteers visit gull roost sites, counting six key species: Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull. These gulls are all of conservation concern, and their breeding populations are either Amber- or Red-listed in the UK. Gathering more detailed information about wintering populations, and which roost sites they rely on, will help protect them and develop more effective conservation strategies. Further information can be found here (https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/winter-gull-survey).

The Hampshire coast holds a significant population of gulls in winter and for the survey 39 sites/subsites were identified for counting. Most were counted by individuals, but Langstone and Portsmouth Harbours were each covered by a co-ordinated team. The counts were scheduled to take place in the two hours before dusk on Sunday January 21st. Storm Isha blew in that weekend, so several counters, including the Langstone Harbour team moved their counts to the Saturday, or nearby dates with a better weather forecast.

Of the 39 count sites on the coast, 35 were counted. Two sample sites were not counted and one other was regarded as unsuitable for roosting gulls. The remaining uncounted site was actually counted as part of an adjacent site. The counts have all been entered into the BTO system specifically built for the survey. In total, almost 20 thousand gulls were counted, including more than 11 thousand Black-headed Gulls and three and a half thousand Herring Gulls.

There are two further phases in this survey. The count carried out in January 2024 will be repeated in January 2025, using the same methodology. In autumn 2024, there will be further counts, to help establish the gull population going into the winter. We would like to thank all the volunteers who took part in the first phase of the survey. If you would like to help with the remaining phases of the survey, please get in touch.

The survey is being co-ordinated in Hampshire by Glynne Evans – inland (hantsbto@hotmail.com) and John Shillitoe – coastal (jshillitoe@googlemail.com).