• Puffins by Alan Tilmouth
  • Whitethroat by Alan Jack
  • Black Grouse by Chris Barlow


WeBS Counts in Northumberland

Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds. Continuing a tradition begun in 1947, around 3,000 volunteer counters participate in synchronised monthly counts at wetlands of all habitat types, mainly during the winter period.

Monthly counts by volunteers are made on almost all the important wetlands in the UK, with most counts in the winter and the majority on specific dates. In Northumberland monthly counts are undertaken at the following ‘waterbodies’:

  1. up to 47 inland waters
  2. Lindisfarne NNR
  3. around 85km of open coastline, and
  4. at the county’s 5 major estuaries (Aln, Blyth, Coquet, Tweed and the Tyne)

The monthly counts in Northumberland involve up to 60 regular volunteer counters each month. At the moment all our sites have been ‘taken’ but if you would like to get involved at a future date please don’t hesitate to contact one of our two Local Organisers:

Inland Waters:  Tim Daley   Email:  tim.birdman (at) gmail.com
Coastal and estuarine:  Kathy Evans   Email:  kathyevans121 (at) gmail.com

WeBS is a partnership between the British Trust for Ornithology, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (the latter on behalf of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage) in association with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) – 2018
Thanks go to everyone who helped. 

The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey is the main scheme for monitoring the changing fortunes of the UK’s common breeding birds, generating population trends used to set conservation priorities.  In Northumberland and Tyneside, over 70 1km squares have been surveyed since the survey began in 1994, many for over 20 years. The squares are chosen randomly and cover all available habitats, reflecting the percentage of land use in the area.

After an initial reconnaissance visit in March to set up the transect route, two morning field recording visits are required:  Early – April/May: Late – late May/ June, at least four weeks apart. All birds seen and heard should be recorded, as well as habitat details.  There is also an optional mammal section to this.  The object is to visit the site at the same time each year, or as close as possible, to enable comparisons to be made.

To find out more about both these surveys visit the British Trust for Ornithology’s BBS website at www.bto.org/bbs

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) – 2019

The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common breeding birds. It is a national volunteer project aimed at keeping track of changes in the breeding populations of widespread bird species in the UK. Wild bird populations are an important indicator of the health of the countryside, and knowing to what extent bird populations are increasing or decreasing is fundamental to bird conservation.
This survey involves two early-morning visits through April, May and June to a randomly selected 1-km square, to count all the birds seen or heard while walking two 1-km transects across the square. Basic habitat details are required, with an option to record mammals. For those with free time later in the season another visit can be made for a Butterfly Survey.
Northumberland has 120 1km squares assigned for coverage, with nearly 100 allocated. Below is a list of accessible available squares. Of you’d like to take part please either register with BTO on the BBS website or contact Muriel Cadwallender at tomandmurielcadwallender@hotmail.com.

For a list of available squares   Click Here

Willow Tit Survey 2019/20

The RSPB and Rare Breeding Birds Panel are running a UK Willow Tit survey in 2019 and 2020, working with bird clubs across England, Scotland and Wales in order to estimate the population of this rapidly-declining species. We are looking for volunteers to help Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club survey Willow Tits in Northumberland by visiting pre-selected tetrads ( 2-km squares) throughout the species’ range in the county. Surveys will require two visits to search suitable habitat between mid-February and mid-April. For more information please contact Mark Eaton at mark.eaton@rspb.org.uk