Waterways Breeding Bird Survey 2017

The Bird Club survey for 2017 is a Waterways Breeding Birds Survey.  So, if you would like to enhance a walk along your local river or canal, please consider giving it a go.

When you have chosen your survey route, make a note of the start and finish points using 1km squares or specific grid references; plus place names where applicable.

Please inform Graham Goodall (email: g.goodall052@btinternet.comof your chosen route in order to avoid duplication.

Survey methodology

(Download as document HERE)

The route you choose should keep as close as possible to the edge of the watercourse; ideally, within 25 metres of the water’s edge.  The length of the survey is up to you, but please bear in mind that you will probably need to retrace you route to get back to your car if you have driven to the site.  The survey route should be a minimum of 1km (one way); 2km or more would be better.  Record the birds you see or hear with 25 metres either side of your route.  Surveys should be carried at least four weeks apart, as follows:

  • First survey: mid-March to mid-May.
  • Second survey: mid-May to mid-July.

Surveys should be conducted during the morning; ideally, between the hours of 6 – 11am and should be conducted in good weather conditions.

1. Use the survey sheet to record the birds you see during the two surveys.  It is important that you include breeding codes for each species; see below.

2. Please enter all your survey records on to BirdTrack, BTO website.

3. Send your survey sheet to Graham Goodall, Research Officer (email:g.goodall052@btinternet.com). This is very important and will enable the results to be analysed and a paper produced for the Bird Report.

 Surveys should be conducted during the morning; ideally, between the hours of 6 – 11am and should be conducted in good weather conditions (categories 1 and 2).


Cloud cover                 Rain                             Wind                            Visibility

0-33%      – 1                none       – 1                 Calm    – 1                     Good         – 1

33-66%   – 2                  Drizzle    – 2                   Light    – 2                     Moderate – 2

66-100% – 3                   Showers – 3                  Breezy – 3                     Poor          – 3

Breeding Codes.


  • H: species seen in suitable nesting habitat.
  • S: singing male in suitable breeding habitat.



  • P: pair in suitable nesting habitat.
  • T: permanent territory (defended over at least 1 week).
  • D: courtship and display.
  • N: visiting probable nest site.
  • A: agitated behaviour.
  • I: brood patch of incubating bird (seen on bird in the hand).
  • B: nest building or excavating a nest hole.



  • DD: distraction display or injury feigning.
  • UN: used nest or eggshells found from current season.
  • FL: recently fledged young or downy young.
  • ON: adults entering or leaving nest site in circumstances indicating occupied nest.
  • FF: adult carrying faecal sac or food for young.
  • NE: nest containing eggs.
  • NY: nest with young seen or heard.



Name of watercourse:                                       Grid references: names, start – finish.              Length (km).


Survey Dates: 1.                                               2.


                                                Survey One.                                         Survey Two.

Species Count Breeding code Count Breeding code
Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Barnacle Goose
Egyptian Goose
Mandarin Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian Teal
Northern Shoveler
Red-crested Pochard
Common Pochard
Tufted Duck
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Water Rail
Northern Lapwing
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Sand Martin
Willow Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail