Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

2018 will see the second major Willow Tit survey across the Dearne Valley NIA!

As part of the Back from the Brink project, we were able to run a survey training session for volunteers who wanted to help seek out these secretive little birds.

The turnout was brilliant, with 14 volunteers from Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Wakefield and York - braving the cold weather to learn the playback survey technique and habitat evaluation methods. Many of these volunteers came with fantastic local knowledge, and gave us insight into new areas where we could focus some of our efforts this year.

We started the day in the Barnsley Council offices at Cudworth, where we fuelled ourselves on tea and biscuits and had a great presentation from Geoff Carr, Willow Tit guru, about where to find these birds and what signs to look out for.

After lunch, we began a practical session at Carlton Marsh nature reserve, where the team braved the bitterly cold weather and used the playback - a two minute recording of a mix of Willow Tit songs and calls - to identify territories. Playing the recording often provokes a response from Willow Tits at this time of year, as they are defending their territories as pairs, or single males are looking to find a mate.
Sadly, the birds were having none of it, as it was so cold they were probably focussing their energy into finding food and staying warm. Our RSPB tracking team were also out the same day, and informed us that the Willow Tit they were tracking from Carlton Marsh had travelled about a kilometre north of the site, up towards Rabbit Ings Country Park.

Despite no response from the survey, the volunteer team maintained a wonderfully high level of enthusiasm, and are ready to get out and survey once this cold weather subsides.

With the help of this new survey army, we will be able to cover more ground than before, and hopefully find some new territories within this northern stronghold. We should be able to update on this year’s territories later this spring…

In the meantime, if you spot a Willow Tit around the Dearne Valley, please send in your sightings to willowtit@bftb.co.uk

 

Sophie Pinder

Project Officer

 

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2 thoughts on “2018 will see the second major Willow Tit survey across the Dearne Valley NIA!

  1. I have seen this little guys all over Rabbit Ings for the past few years and thinks they must be doing quite well 🙂

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