Species Count Reaches 90

Surveys show extra species and firm population numbers

Short-eared owlShort-eared owl (right) was recorded in the annual breeding season survey at Fylingdales Moor for the first time in 2011. Other species not recorded in previous surveys were nuthatch, raven and fieldfare, bringing the total number of different bird species recorded since 2005 by the Hawk and Owl Trust Fylingdales Moor Bird Surveys to 90.

Our annual surveys have shown that the bird population of Fylingdales Moor appears to be holding its own, despite recent harsh winters.

Annual records over the past seven breeding seasons have shown little evidence of significant change, and the 2011 surveys show that the great majority of species seemed to have survived well. The only species showing evidence for probable decline in 2011 was the skylark, although this result follows several years of more or less continual increase. Wren numbers appeared to fall as well, but not enough to give convincing evidence of any long-term decline.

Of the 66 species recorded during the 2011 surveys, 12 (skylark, song thrush, starling, linnet, cuckoo, herring gull, lapwing, yellowhammer, willow tit, wood warbler, spotted flycatcher and fieldfare) are ‘red-listed’ as species of high conservation concern.

A further 24 species (golden plover, greylag goose, mallard, merlin, kestrel, red grouse, snipe, curlew, black-headed gull, house martin, swallow, swift, green woodpecker, meadow pipit, stock dove, dunnock, redstart, mistle thrush, wheatear, whinchat, whitethroat, willow warbler, reed bunting and short-eared owl) are currently ‘amber-listed’ as species of medium conservation concern.

Their presence on the Moor is an indication of the ecological importance of the Moor as a conservation area for birds.

To see what has been recorded for various species between 2005 and 2011 download the table (in pdf) showing comparative abundance and change values for Fylingdales bird surveys. The change index is calculated to give an indication of possible, short-term increase or decrease in populations by comparison with the previous year. Marked downward changes are indicated by red boxes, and marked increases by bright green boxes. Less substantial changes are indicated by orange boxes (possible decrease) or light green boxes (possible increase) respectively. It should be remembered that these indications are not statistically valid, but serve to give a rough guide to possible trends for the birds present on the moor. Longer-term changes can be deduced by comparison of the comparative abundance values for individual species over time.

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