Over the next few years the BTO will be running a series of surveys aimed at increasing our knowledge of the various owl species found in Britain. The first of these surveys is the Tawny Owl Point Survey (TOPS), for which volunteers are now being sought, and which will run from 15 August to 15 October this year, with follow-up surveys in early spring next year and then again in autumn 2019 and spring 2020.
TOPS is based on pre-determined 10km squares, three of which (ST93, ST96 and SU26) are in Wiltshire. Within each square the 25 tetrads are divided into “Primary Tetrads” (which were covered in previous surveys and are important therefore for providing evidence of changes) and “Secondary Tetrads”, which may be covered if there are sufficient volunteers available, once the Primary Tetrads have been surveyed. Volunteers are asked to pay two visits to their allocated tetrad, ideally within two weeks of each other. The visits should be planned to fall within the two hours after sunset and should last 20 minutes, to be spent at a point as near as possible to the centre of the tetrad, recording any Tawny Owl hoots or calls that may be heard.
Full details about TOPS are available on the BTO website at https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/project-owl/tawny-owl-point-survey . If you are interested in taking part, follow the links to the tetrad allocation system where you can select a tetrad to survey, which Bill Quantrill, BTO Regional Representative, will be able to allocate to you if it is not already allocated.