This morning, 12 June, I did made my twentieth visit to Prestwood in Bucks for the British Trust for Ornithology’s breeding bird survey. I go twice a year, usually in early May and mid June, and have now completed ten years. I walk the same two routes across a one-kilometre grid square, the parallel transects are each divided into five sections for recording.
It was dry when I left home at 5.30 am but it began to rain when I was in the sixth of my segments. I checked my records and see that it has only rained on four of my visits, and today was probably the wettest.
While it wasn’t very pleasant, the birds kept on singing—though I suspect that some songs and calls got lost in the sound of dripping leaves in the beech woods. However, robins, blackbirds, wrens and song thrushes seemed not to mind at all. Top of my bird list this time were wrens (24), robins (20) and blackbirds (19).
I normally see and hear fewer birds on this late survey (138 compared with 186 in May 2016, and only 17 species compared with 24), and the young birds make songs and calls which are not so easily identified, confusing the sound picture. But I was pleased to hear a yellowhammer singing in the hedge where I saw one on 1 May; I have seen one there in previous years so it’s good to know that this threatened farmland bird finds a home here.