Curlew Survey 2016

As many of you will remember we did a survey of Cuckoos in the club area last year. A lot of people contributed records and the results will be written up in the 2015 report and will give us valuable information in assessing how well (or how badly) Cuckoos are doing in our area.

We wanted to survey another species in 2016 and it was decided to focus on the Curlew. They occur fairly widely across the club area with an obvious stronghold in the Lower Derwent Valley. However there was a 46% decline in the UK’s Curlews between 1995 and 2013 so this is a species in trouble. During 2016 we aim to make a special effort to record Curlews in the Club area during the breeding season (which for these purposes will be April, May and June).


Any records of Curlews seen during April to June will be especially welcome and we would encourage people to publish them on the YorkBirding email group – it will give everyone an update on where Curlews are being seen and remind us to submit our own sightings. The basic information is where, when and how many birds were seen and also whether there was any behaviour indicative of breeding (e.g. song, display flight, distraction display etc).


We also hope that some members will provide more detailed sightings. The intention is to adopt the methodology used in the BTO Breeding Bird Survey. This will involve two visits to a 1 km square of your choice. Each visit will take about 30 minutes, walking the same two 1 km transects each time. The obvious value of this is consistency of recording and compatibility with the Breeding Bird Survey data. If you would like to take on a specific square then please email me and I will liaise with Rob Chapman (our BTO representative) to ensure there is no duplication.

Two Curlews were back on my local patch by the River Wharfe this morning so it seemed appropriate to give everyone a first mention of this survey. There will be further reminders as spring approaches.

Paul Doherty
22nd February