Return to Fylingdales Moor

Alex Cripps – Conservation Graduate Trainee

A week or so ago Kirsty Brown, our Conservation Projects Assistant, and I carried out our second bird survey for the Hawk and Owl Trust, covering a one kilometre square on Fylingdales Moor in the North York Moors. It was a perfect early morning – the sun was shining, the wind was calm and the birds were singing! We recorded all the birds we could see, including those in flights and any we could hear. The most abundant bird we recorded was Meadow pipit, closely followed by Skylark, both are beautiful little birds frequently seen on our moors, with characteristic calls and flight. Both species are in decline nationally.

Linnet, siskin, stonechat and willow warblers were some of the other species we recorded. Six mute swans also flew overhead which is a first for the Fylingdales Moor Bird Survey.

These results combined with the results from our first survey in June have been sent to Dr John Edwards of the Hawk and Owl Trust. Dr Edwards compiles an annual report, looking at the numbers of different bird species present on this Moor as reported by a number of surveyors, and compares the results to previous years. The survey will run again next year which will be the tenth year in a row of the survey – a fantastic achievement. Consistent repeat surveying can build up evidence of trends. This research is used to help manage Fylingdales Moor in the best way for biodiversity to flourish.

During our survey it wasn’t just us and the birds that were out and about – amongst the heather and cotton grass we also encountered a common lizard, tiger beetles, a noctuid moth larvae, many Northern/Oak eggar moth caterpillars and several spiders!

Listening to the tweeting

Alex Cripps – Conservation Graduate Trainee

Up very bright and early a week or so back, the Ecology Team and I carried out our first 2013 bird survey on a one kilometre square on Fylingdales Moor. We recorded all the birds we could see or hear (including curlew, kestrel, linnet, red grouse, skylark, willow warbler, yellowhammer and many meadow pipits), and I will be repeating the survey in the next few weeks to provide a fuller picture of what birds are using the Moor this year.

The results go to Dr John Edwards of the Hawk and Owl Trust who compiles an annual report looking at the numbers of different bird species present on this Moor which the Trust manage on behalf of the owner. This is the 9th year of the survey and it is a valuable piece of research helping to provide information about possible changes in the Fylingdales Moor bird populations. The Trust can use any evidence of detrimental trends to try and adjust their management if that could help.