FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Bird Surveys

Each month during the winter we monitor wildfowl as part of the national Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). There has been a more intensive study of the Great Crested Grebe, which re-colonised in 1973 after a break of almost 30 years. Breeding was recorded on at least three years in the 1930s, and again in 1945, but rarely of more than one pair.

Swallows, wagtails and warblers are all studied as part of a bird ringing programme. From 2002 to 2006 Swallows entering the regular autumn roost were caught and ringed as part of the BTO/European Swallow Roost Project. Monitoring Wagtails (Motacilla alba) has been carried out since 2002. This has demonstrated the White Wagtails (Motacilla alba alba) migration from Iceland and Pied Wagtails (Motacilla alba yarrellii) winter influx from other areas of Britain to escape freezing weather.  The reedbeds are important for breeding Reed Warblers and the whole site is important for breeding Cetti's Warbler. Slapton was the first place in Britain colonised by Cetti's Warblers in 1976, numbers have grown until they reached a maximum of 52 territorial males in 1996.