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Non-Estuarine Waterbird Survey (NEWS)

News about wildlife-related events in the Outer Hebrides.
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Non-Estuarine Waterbird Survey (NEWS)

Post by UistBTO » 31 Oct 2015, 20:53

Hi everyone, i'm currently looking for counters for the BTO's third Non-Estuarine Waterbird Survey (NEWS) which involves a single count of a 2km (approx.) stretch of coast between 1st December 2015 to 31st January 2016.

I'm the local organiser for this survey and am covering both Lewis and Harris plus the Uists, Benbecula and Barra - counters are still needed in most areas (thanks to those who have requested sectors already!). As always your help with local surveys is very much appreciated! If you would like any further information before signing up please email me on

Full information on the BTO website: ... survey-iii

I've taken the liberty of pasting in the info from the BTO site below including what the survey is all about and how you can sign up:-

The United Kingdom is internationally important for its numbers of wintering waterbirds, and many of these are monitored annually by the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) counts. However, the WeBS counts are mostly made on estuaries and inland waterbodies, therefore leaving the majority of the coastline uncounted. The 2015/16 Non-Estuarine Waterbird Survey (NEWS) will focus coverage on these important and under-recorded habitats.

Why is a new survey required?
It is known that important populations of several species such as Purple Sandpipers and Turnstone occur around our shores outside of estuaries, and consequently are not monitored annually.  Following the original Winter Shorebird Count carried out in 1985 and NEWS counts in 1997/98 and 2006/07, the third repeat of NEWS will be carried out this coming winter.

How the survey works
The non-estuarine coastline is broken up into count sectors approximately 2km long, though some are shorter and some longer.  There are 10 priority sections which have been selected at random in each region.  These priority sections will be allocated first and then the others will be available for allocation.  The survey runs from 1st December 2015 to 31st January 2016 and just a single count is needed, with all birds and mammals using the section recorded.

How to take part
  • The survey will be carried out in conjunction with the Wetland Bird Survey, so if you are an existing WeBS Counter who uses WeBS Online, the NEWS options to select sectors will automatically appear on your WeBS Data Home page. 

    If you are not a WeBS Counter but you have taken part in one of the BTO's online surveys (BBS, Atlas, BirdTrack etc) then please visit Survey Home where you will find a NEWS bar in your list of available surveys.  Click on the word "Setup" to gain access to the online interface to be able to request your sectors and input your counts.

    If you have not used WeBS Online before or do not have a BTO username you will need to register for an online username and password, then please visit Survey Home to see the NEWS bar.  Click on the word "Setup" to gain access to the online interface to be able to select your sectors and input your counts.

You can request any sector to count, though we do ask that if possible you choose one of the priority sections.

Video tutorials

There are video tutorials specifically for the NEWS survey covers viewing and choosing a sector how to print maps and forms once you have a sector allocated to you.

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