Over the last 10 years CAWOS members have participated in and contributed to a number of surveys, largely for the BTO including :


We have also contributed to countless planning applications and in some cases raised objections to proposed developments. It is important that should members become aware of a significant planning or proposal for wildlife areas that would have an adverse impact we have the opportunity to review and if necessary raise formal objection. For us to do this we do need members to contact us. Please send an email to with as much information as possible. One key development that we were involved with and continue to be is the Frodsham Windfarm where we have a representative sitting on the Habitat Creation and Management Committee.



The BTO have a number of surveys that run continually that members can participate in, primarily WeBS (Wetland Birds Survey) and the Heronries Census.



WeBS surveyors monitor the UK's internationally important non-breeding waterbirds. Following a tradition begun in 1947, wetland sites are counted once per month, providing data for population and trends in abundance and distribution. The network of sites legally protected for their importance to wintering waterbirds depends fundamentally on the WeBS counts.   "Waterbirds" includes wildfowl (ducks, geese and swans), waders, rails, divers, grebes, cormorants and herons. Gulls and terns are optionally included. In a typical year over 220 waterbird species, races or populations are counted in WeBS, including non-native, feral and vagrant species. National trends are produced for the most numerous 110 of these.


If you are interested in taking part as a counter you will find more information on the BTO website. The first step is to use the WeBS Vacant Sites tool using this link to see if there are any sites in need of help near you. Tip: It is probably easier to find vacant sites by using the List View rather than Map View tab. You need to be able confidently to identify and count all the waterbirds at the site - this might be a few common species at a small lake or river, or it might be a wide range of species at a coastal site with many habitats present. Filling out the online form will put you in touch with your volunteer Local Organiser. There are 140 of these, each covering a region such as a county or estuary. If there are no vacant sites near you but you are keen to get involved, contact the relevant Local Organiser who may be able to set up a new site for you or add you to an existing team.


When you have been assigned a site as a new counter you will receive a new starter pack with more details of the methods. After registering for the WeBS Online data entry system you will be set up for your count sector by your Local Organiser and be able to add your counts each month and see all the previous data for the site. All counters receive a summary annual report and an annual newsletter by post each year and are contributing to the understanding and conservation of our internationally important waterbird populations.


Heronries Census

Heronries are the places where Grey Herons, Little Egrets and sometimes other waterbirds gather to nest. Nesting often persists for many decades at the same location and becomes very well known to birdwatchers. Grey Herons in particular are monitored efficiently and accurately by counting 'apparently occupied nests' in their heronries. The BTO's Heronries Census has gathered nest counts annually since 1928 at the UK's heronries.

The main species covered is Grey Heron but Little Egret is fully included, as are rarer species of colonial waterbirds such as Cattle Egret and Spoonbill. Nest counts of Cormorants are also collected, especially where they are nesting alongside herons. Data are shared with County Recorders and for rare species with the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. 


If you are interested in taking part in this survey simply go to the BTO website using this link .


You do not have to be a BTO member to participate in either of these. There are also a number of other ongoing surveys detailed on the BTO website that you can participate in should you wish.


From time to time we also try and promote relevant surveys to members that our County Recorder would like help with. These will be detailed in Bird News and at meetings.


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