What is it?
For the first time the partnership of the British Trust for Ornithology, BirdWatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists Club are combining the results of breeding season and winter fieldwork into one National Atlas. Winter fieldwork started in the winter of 2007/2008 and lasted for four winters. Breeding season fieldwork took place in the summers of 2008 to 2011.
There were two complementary field methods:
1. Roving Records. For national distribution maps to be comprehensive completed species lists for every 10-km square were needed in both winter and the breeding season. Roving Records are a means of submitting lists for grid squares, one-off records of hard-to-find species, and anything in between. They are also a means of accumulating evidence of breeding and providing records of nocturnal species. Everyone could take part by supplying Roving Records.
2. Timed Tetrad Visits. Timed Tetrad Visits (TTVs) were principally concerned with discovering broad patterns of relative abundance by counting birds for fixed periods in tetrads. Tetrads are 2km x 2km squares and are labelled A to Z within each 10-km square. TTVs did not aim to produce a complete species list for the tetrad, but a sample of what one can find during a pair of visits in winter and/or the breeding season.
These methods resulted in the incredible national totals of 216.3 million records on 546 species For full details of the national Atlas project and progress towards publication of the National Atlas, click here.
What is happening on Arran?
In Arran, alongside the fieldwork for the National Atlas, the Arran Natural History under the direction of their bird recorder, Jim Cassels, has organised additional fieldwork with the aim of producing a detailed local atlas of distribution and abundance for all bird species. To gather enough data to do this, every tetrad in Arran has been surveyed. In all there are around one hundred and forty tetrads to be surveyed across Arran. Each tetrad has been surveyed twice during winter and twice during the breeding season, using the same methodology of TTVs as used for the National Atlas. In addition, as many Roving Records as possible have been collected by tetrad, in order to build up comprehensive species lists for every tetrad.
In order to achieve this coverage the fieldwork for the local atlas was continued for an additional year. For the local atlas, winter fieldwork started in the winter of 2007/2008 and lasted for five winters. Breeding season fieldwork took place in the summers of 2008 to 2012.
The last of the data was uploaded onto the Bird Atlas data base on 30 September 2012.
The local atlas was published in June 2014.
Click here for details of the publication