SITE SURVEY AND EVALUATION
The Problem - Poor Practice
West India Quay, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Black redstarts are not shy birds but they are elusive. The very nature of the sites where they breed make the location and proof of breeding difficult to ascertain. Noise levels, sight obstructions (large buildings, high walls, etc.) mean that thorough surveys should be undertaken during the breeding season. There have been many examples of consultants merely doing a single walk over visit concluding that no black redstarts are breeding. On at least three occasions these sites have been well known historical breeding localities.
Black Redstarts on rubble mounds - Peruvian Wharf, L.B. of Newham
The Solution - Good Practice
The following survey criteria has been drawn up by the BLACK REDSTART Action Plan Working Group for London and are recommended by the lead conservation agencies in London.
- In principle a known breeding site or likely breeding site should be surveyed throughout the breeding season; from May to August.
- At least one visit a week of 3hrs should be undertaken under favourable weather conditions (warm, windless days) in the early hours of the morning. Black redstarts are notorious for singing an hour before dawn and the visits should be timed to begin 1 hour before dawn.
- During 3rd and 4th week of May further visits should be undertaken during the day to locate nesting sites.
- In the event of a nest being located English Nature should be contacted for advice to ensure that birds, the nest and the dependent young, are not disturbed in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981(as amended).