23rd January 2017 | Patrick Crowley
The area between Bracknell and Camberley, and Crowthorne and the A322, comprising the Swinley Forest and the Sandhurst MoD, is part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA), which was designated on the strength of important numbers of three key heathland birds, Nightjar, Woodlark and Dartford Warbler, found there. These species need to be surveyed every year, to support the SPA. At present this is being done by four people, but we really need some more help, particularly in the Wishmoor area of the MoD, and in the northern part of the Swinley forest where more clear felling is taking place.
Woodlark surveys ideally start in mid-February, and finish by the end of June, while Dartford surveys can start in early April and finish in July. For each species, ideally four to five visits would be carried out. Nightjar surveys in the MoD are done by a large group on one evening, but in Swinley Forest at present are done by individuals between late May and early July.
These surveys are an opportunity to help preserve a vitally important area of forest and heathland, and learn about some fascinating species. Even if you can only make a limited number of visits, please do get in touch with Patrick Crowley at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you can help.