Monday, 18 May 2009

Waterways survey along the River Frome

Last Monday I did my BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) Waterways survey which takes me along the River Frome. I've been doing this particular survey for about 10 years now and what is great is that you get a good feel for what birds are doing well or badly when you survey the same area for several years. The survey starts at the Mill House that you often see in my pictures of Rodden Nature Reserve which is just on the outskirts of Frome. I then walk 5 x 500metre stretches of the river noting down the birds I see and hear along the way. This year I've noticed that there were no Willow Warblers singing (they seem to be doing badly nationwide too) and I haven't seen Spotted Flycatcher for a few years now. On the plus side, the Kingfishers seem to be holding their own and Lesser Whitethroat seems to be hanging on here too.The Railway line crosses the River along the stretch that I survey a couple of times, but doesn't seem to create much disturbance thankfully.There are some parts of the river that are quite difficult to walk along which doesn't help when you're trying to concentrate on birds without falling in! However, other stretches are really lovely and make up for those awkward sections.
This is where my Lesser Whitethroat was singing away trying to attract a mate. They come to Britain to breed from NE Africa and are generally quite skulking birds, normally only making their presence known through their rattling song.The river narrows towards the end of my survey area and this is where I normally hear or see Kingfishers.This is the end of my survey coverage. It's then just a question of enjoying a leisurely walk back along the river and a full English breakfast back at home!

12 comments:

Eve said...

Such a beautiful walk Jenny and I'm glad you didn't stumble in the drink! Do you ever go back a little later on to see what you can find? I just love that bridge, I reminds me of one near my good birder friend's home back up in NY.

dog trot farm said...

What a lovely area for a stroll Jenny. Do you have Black flys or Ticks in your area?

Shellmo said...

This is a beautiful and peaceful walk!!

Mary said...

I think it is wonderful that you do this. You have enough knowledge to do the job well and accurately. I love the scenery and would think all that lovely cover would attract lots of birds to the area. Glad you didn't fall in at the "awkward" parts...I'm sure I would.

Jenny said...

Hi Evie, I don't go back often, too much else to do I guess. I've been meaning to go back to that wild Daffodil wood and haven't managed it yet. We're having wet and windy weather over here right now.

Hi Julie, I'm not sure about black flys (I don't think so) but we do have ticks, mainly on heathland. I've never had any in the general countryside over here, but PLENTY in Iowa when I've been over to visit friends.

Hi Shelley, It certainly is peaceful and beautiful, I guess when I'm doing a survey I'm concentrating too much, but the walk on the way back is when I can appreciate it more.

Hi Mary, it really is full of bird song, specially at 6am in the morning. I'm glad I haven't fallen in as I can't swim!!! (-: I did once walked into a tree on that survey when I was concentrating on some birdsong and fell in a puddle of water. I got wet, but at least I didn't drown!!! (-:

Kelly said...

...a beautiful walk. I enjoyed the scenery and your narration. Looks like a lazy, peaceful river. No wonder the birds like it so much, but I bet with storms it can become quite turbulent.

Roy said...

Lovely walk and lovely part of the country Jen, but then I would say that wouldn't I.
We have W/Warblers, but no S/Flycatchers as yet. Heard one Lesser Whitethroat. Located two Nightingale sites.

Quiet Paths said...

What a calming and serene walk that must be. How early do you get out and do these surveys? I don't imagine there are too many others on the path.

Jenny said...

Hi Julie, yes I've seen it after lots of rain, it has burst its banks in that area occasionally.

Hi Roy, I think Spot flys are just coming in at the moment so I hope we both bump into one soon! I used to have a Nightingale on my survey when I first started 10 years ago, but not since that first year alas!

Hi Christine, for that one I start it around 6am, for others around 7am more or less. 'They' like you to stick pretty much to the same routine year after year. Actually when I did this survey I bumped into two different dog walkers and some rabbits and some horses and some cows! Apart from that it was very peaceful! (-:

Steve B said...

wow, I can hear the birds singing. Beautiful photos.

Chris said...

This is a wonderful place to walk around. For sure, life should around and willow warbler are simply late maybe.
The bridge pictures are excellent.

Jenny said...

Hi Steve, sometimes birds like Winter Wrens and Song Thrushes sing so loud that you really have to concentrate to get the other birds that are around too. A great way to start the day! (-:

Hi Chris, I've heard Willow Warbler this year around the nature reserve which is just across the river, but on my survey and along the river, there were none this year. I have to do the survey again in about a months time so we shall see if I get any then. Digits crossed! (-: