So, that's the first visit done and out the way. I have entered all my data online and set a date for the second visit. Overall I was pleased with how the visit went, considering it was my first time at attempting this survey. There were however some things that I could improve on, and others that I think I will speak to my regional representative about. In north Wiltshire this is Bill Quantrill, who has been very helpful to me so far.
Firstly, I should say that I enjoyed doing the survey a great deal. It was in no way a hardship or chore. However, it was quite hard to juggle clip-board, binoculars and other paraphernalia whilst simultaneously keeping one eye on the bird code list, one eye on the birds and my third eye on the road ahead, in-case of traffic. This illustrates two points for me.
- I need to spend some time studying the bird code list and try and memorise it a bit better.
- I'm not altogether happy about my chosen route.
This is because due to time constraints and my initial reluctance to speak to farmers and ask for access permission to their land, a large portion of my route consists of walking down a road. I would be happier if I could get access to a few fields which would therefore enable me to walk a route that fitted the criteria better. However, I am not even sure the route can be changed now. I will have to speak to Bill Quatrill about this.
I also need to improve my bird song recognition skills. I am not a complete novice at this, I can distinguish most of the common species and a few of the less common, but it is something that I could improve with a bit of work. Bill has come to the rescue here as he has sent me a CD entitled 'learning bird songs and calls for bird surveys in lowland Britain' by Geoff Sample. The introduction for each species even includes the relevant BTO two-letter species code. Bingo! Just what I'm looking for. I can now 'kill two birds with one stone', as they say.
Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) penciled in for next weekend and Bird Track (BT) observations ongoing. That's all for now.