Calling birdwatchers - help needed with exciting local project

Wednesday 26 October 2016

The River Thame Conservation Trust is working locally to better understand the freshwater habitats and species of the River Thame catchment and to monitor changes in them. As part of this it is launching a major new bird surveying project to find out what birds use the river to over winter and/or breed and is asking for the support of keen local birdwatchers to get involved.

The River Thame catchment abuts the Chilterns between Tring and Princes Risborough, stretching north to Stewkley and west to Oxford.

The River Thame runs for approx. 40 miles from its source north-east of Aylesbury to Dorchester where is joins the River Thames. The broader catchment covers 682kmsq with 340 km of waterway (river/tributary) including large areas of flood plain.

It includes birding sites such as Otmoor and Tring Reservoirs. It also plays host to a number of BBOWT reserves (College Lake, Bernwood Meadows, Wells Farm and Weston Turville Reservoir.)

More importantly it holds opportunities to go birding in new and under watched areas of countryside many that act as vital floodplain for the River Thame. To date 40 wetland bird species have been recorded and 112 species in total in under a year of WeBS surveying.

The River Thame Conservation Trust has joined forces with BTO and other local birding/wildlife organisations and is looking to recruit experienced birdwatchers to get involved in :

River Thame Conservation Trust Bird Atlas :

  • The catchment has been divided into over 200 2km ‘Tetrads’. It is hoped each Tetrad will be surveyed once in a 5-year period with 2 visits in winter and 2 in spring recording and counting all birds that are present and evidence of breeding.

BTO Wetland Bird Survey :

  • The River Thame has been divided into 16 WeBS sites along its main river channel. The Survey involves a monthly visit to count all wetland birds (Ducks, Waders, Gulls and Terns)

Both surveys are simple to carry out and offer a wide range of options for time commitments. They both will be run via BTO online data entry which is quick and easy to use and requires only the minimum amount of time whilst offer back the opportunity for easy to access listing, reporting and analysis.

All data will be used to help inform local work in the catchment. In addition, data sets will be shared freely to local conservation organisations and to the BTO. Every bird recorded will therefore will informing local and national conservation work.

To find out more about the opportunities available  and/or sign up to get involved, please contact Nick Marriner via nickmarriner@outlook.com

For more information on the River Thame Conservation Trust and its activities you can visit the website: www.riverthame.org or email the Project Officer for the Trust, Emily Godfrey emily@riverthame.org



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