During lockdown, we were very disappointed to have to temporarily suspend some of our conservation and research activities. Fortunately, we have since been able to resume most of them. This time, however, did allow us to focus our efforts on projects we usually don’t have time to get to. For Dr Matt Stevens, our UK Conservation Biologist, this included developing a new app to aid the survey work he carries out with the help of a loyal band of volunteers. This app allows volunteers to record their research in a more streamlined way and this feeds, in real time, to Dr Matt Stevens, our UK Conservation Biologist, who manages this project. Even more exciting though is that through the app we are working on creating a new online dashboard where you will be able to access this information as well!
For Dr Matt Stevens, our UK Conservation Biologist, late summer is the time for making plans to recruit volunteers, sort out maps and ensure all of the relevant equipment works and is ready in time for the resumption of our ongoing UK survey work. This project now covers 18,500km2 across the eight counties of south-eastern England. It involves walking pre-determined routes and recording target species: Kestrel, Buzzard and Red Kite. The aim of this work is to provide more robust estimates of regional population sizes of these species. This work should also help us to monitor seasonal and annual changes in populations over a number of years.
Having been able to generate an uninterrupted dataset from surveys performed in spring and autumn since 2017, it was disappointing to have to reign-in our loyal band of volunteers in March and call a halt to the surveys following the imposition of lockdown. There is always a positive to be found somewhere though and, with the time that this freed up, we were able to develop and produce a new survey app designed to make the lives of our survey volunteers easier and to improve efficiency in data collection. Not only this, the app and the automation that this introduces will enable us to give you more of a feel for the type of data generated from these activities by displaying a live dashboard on our website. This will display regular updates on transects walked, distances covered, numbers of birds seen and other statistics associated with the project. Look out for more details when we launch this very soon. This is the first of our projects to get such treatment but we plan to introduce more of this across our website in the coming months to give you, our generous supporters, a more interactive experience when reading about our conservation and research work.
For now though, we have several new volunteers trained and ready to take part in the forthcoming autumn surveys. Their efforts will help in generating even more data to assess the population sizes of raptors across the study area and help inform on relevant conservation strategies. Let’s just hope that the survey season continues uninterrupted which, in turn, will mean that everyone’s lives will also start to show signs of returning to normality.