The Safari has devised a (sort of) simple hedgerow survey for you all to try out.
Please have a go at doing one or more...
Autumnwatch 2011 Viewers Hedgerow Survey
Reason – To discover how much food is in the British countryside this winter
The usual hedgerow species are Hawthorn – small round red berries, Blackthorn – larger deep purple plum like berries sloes, Elder – clusters of small black berries, Holly – small bright red berries, Dog Rose – larger red berries hips, Crab Apple – large fruits like small apples could be yellowy-orange to red in colour. Other species may be present locally.
We need at least 100 participants from the Scilly Isles to John o’ Groats and Cape Clear to the Giant’s Causeway to show what’s going on
Drive/cycle/walk(!) around between 10 and 20 miles of lanes/fields where you know there are plenty of hedgerows. Get the family involved use the survey as a nature safari. You could do five miles, visit a favourite wildlife spot then do five more on the way home.
Stop every mile or so where it is safe to do so until you have at least 10 record points.
2. What to record
At each stop have a look at a twenty yard stretch of hedge
How many berries are there?
Score 1 for zero or very hard to find
Score 2 for only a very few
Score 3 for a reasonable amount eg some bushes with fruit some without
Score 4 for a good crop
Score 5 for a bumper crop, the bushes are bedecked with berries.
Once you have done your circuit add up the total and divide by the number of stops to give an average score.
Also record how well berried any lone hedgerow trees are, those in awkward field corners or the middle of fields that don’t get cut – use the same scoring as for the roadside hedgerows
Please also note, this is where the family could be useful, any wildlife disturbed from the 20 yard stretch of hedge being surveyed; it could flocks of fieldfares, rabbits, even a stoat or weasel if you’re lucky – anything that is/was in the hedge when you arrived.
If you are a flickr user you could post photos of the general area.
1. The date of your survey
2. Your county
3. Your route – eg Marton – Staining – Singleton - Weeton - Marton
4. Your hedgerow average score
5. The score for a ‘normal’ shrub in the area you surveyed
6. The bird & animal species seen in your hedgerows
7. Your (Autumnwatch) flickr link – if you uploaded any pictures
Also let us know if there are any future changes ie if you do the survey this week and there are plenty of berries but the area gets flailed before the end of the series.
Good hedgerow hunting! Stay safe on the roads and remember you can do more than one survey – I can’t go west (no hedges in the Irish Sea) but I could survey to the north, east and south!
Post your results here - you may need to set up an account
Alternatively you could put them on the comments here and we'll copy and paste them for you
Where to next? A hedgreow of your choice...off you go
In the meantime we'll sit here with a big map of the British Isles and lots of coloured pins...who's going to be the first agent to report back to Base Camp...