With the anticipated relaxation of the “stay at home” rule on 29th March, we plan to start our breeding season survey programme at the beginning of April. The government’s roadmap indicates that meeting outdoors with up to six people will be allowed (though social distancing measures should be maintained). Furthermore the voluntary or charitable activities exemption is considered by the BTO to apply, which means that volunteers can continue survey activities without restrictions on travel or group size (see below). The BOC surveys planned are:
- farmland specialist birds on several downland sites in West Berkshire, organised by Neil Bucknell. The target species include Lapwing, Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting. If you would like to help, contact Neil firstname.lastname@example.org
- breeding Peregrines across the County. Please let Patrick Crowley know of any Peregrines that you think may be breeding. We are seeking surveyors to monitor both urban sites and rural sites where there are structures, such as pylons, on which Peregrines may breed. Contact email@example.com
- Aldermaston Gravel Pits breeding bird surveys.
BTO Surveys The British Trust for Ornithology’s guidance for England is reproduced below:
BTO volunteers in England can carry out fieldwork under the ‘voluntary or charitable activities’ exemption. This means that survey volunteers can continue survey activities without restrictions on travel or group sizes.
This element of the legislation does not impose specific restrictions beyond the need to maintain social distancing. It is, however, vital that volunteers consider the risks of their activities in relation to both disease transmission and sanctions being imposed by the authorities, noting that interpretation of guidance by the latter may vary from region to region. Both risks are likely to increase with the distance travelled and the size of the group undertaking the activity, so lone/pair working undertaken locally is the ideal in this respect. If you are in a location where you are conscious of heightened risk (e.g. active testing for a new variant is ongoing), please exercise extreme caution.