Bird Monitoring at Langley Vale Wood
Article submitted by Alan Matthews, Wildlife Monitor at Langley Vale Wood
Five years after the Langley Vale Wood site was acquired by the Woodland Trust, volunteers conducted regular surveys in 2019 to monitor the numbers and species of birds seen. A comparison with a baseline survey conducted by experts in 2014 revealed a number of key findings;
- The total number of species identified remained approximately the same at 57 with a number of species such as fieldfare in much greater abundance than the 2014 survey suggested.
- The number of breeding lapwing nests remained steady at four with the added bonus in 2019 that they all appear to have fledged and four chicks were ringed.
- Numbers of breeding skylarks have increased to 40 with some evidence that they are migrating from areas with recently planted young trees into open grazing areas as expected. As the open areas are no longer farmed and harvested, this will give ground breeding birds such as skylarks and lapwings a better chance of success.
- A few species, normally be expected to be seen and breeding in this type of habitat, such as yellow hammers, have not improved between 2014 and 2019.
- Importantly, number of ‘red listed’ species identified had increased slightly to13 with a number of resident species such as marsh tits and song thrushes as well as migrants such as spotted flycatchers and fieldfare.
The RSPB/BTO BirdTrack website has created a dedicated location for anyone keen to record their findings and local volunteers hope that additional eyes and ears will help to create a comprehensive picture of the birds at this important site.
Most recently dedicated nest boxes have been erected to encourage barn, tawny and little owls as well as kestrels (all seen at the site) to breed.
Wildlife Monitoring on the Woodland Trust estate is incredibly important. It can help inform our management of the site, contribute to national databases such as BirdTrack, and consequently lead to positive change in policy and practice to benefit wildlife. If you are out and about in our woods and would like to record sightings, we recommend you use the mobile app iRecord to record any flora of fauna. iRecord makes it easier for records to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support decision making at a local and national level.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Wildlife Monitor for your local wood, please contact Lucy Shea – LucyShea@woodlandtrust.org.uk