Today marks the publication of the report of the
Breeding Bird Survey of Bridport and West Bay 2021, the first of its
kind. For details, please see the press release below. And to download a copy
of the 46-page report, please click the link below the cover shot.
To download a copy of the report, please click the link
Bridport provides home to some of the UK’s most threatened
Bridport and the West Bay area are an important home to some of
the UK’s rarest and most threatened birds, the first ever survey
of the town’s breeding bird populations has revealed.
National rarities such as the Peregrine Falcon, the tiny
Firecrest and the Hobby, a falcon that is a summer visitor to the
UK, were all recorded in the immediate area.
And some of the UK’s most threatened species that appear on the
Government’s ‘Red List’ including the Nightingale, Swift and
farmland species Yellowhammer, were recorded.
The survey found 81 species breeding or attempting to breed
within a mile of the urban areas of Bridport West Bay and proposed
development land at Vearse Farm, far more than expected and 14%
more than the national average for a 10 km square search
The survey, carried out last year by the newly formed Bridport
Bird Club, is one of the most comprehensive reports every carried
out on the breeding birds of an entire town and bordering
countryside in the UK.
Surveyors walked more than 2,000 miles over a 70-day period
across the area’s streets, parks, gardens, golf courses, farmland,
cliffs and campsites. Added to these findings were 700 hours of
night-time bird calls recordings.
Particular attention was placed on surveying Red Listed (rapidly
declining and most threatened), and Amber Listed (declining, less
threatened) Species of Conservation Concern, as well as the
remaining Green List (not declining) species.
Some 14 Red Listed (representing 23% of the regularly breeding UK
species total) and 23 Amber Listed species (27% of the UK total)
Highlights included Redstart, Dipper, Spotted Flycatcher, Corn
Bunting, Yellowhammer, Marsh Tit and an important population of
But some of the survey’s findings were worrying. More than a
fifth of species (22%) were either sporadic or likely failed
breeders or at population levels close to extinction.
Of the 63 regular breeders with stronger population levels, a
number of those such as Swift, House Martin and Starling are in
steep decline nationally and potentially in the Bridport and West
The results are important as they provide a baseline of the
breeding birds living in the area and will also help inform
conservation work in the Bridport and West Bay area.
Bridport resident, Dr Tom Brereton Research Director for
conservation charity Marinelife, and Head of Ecology at Mapperton
Estate lead the survey for the Bridport Bird Club. He explained:
“Traditionally, birders living in Bridport used to leave the area
to go birdwatching elsewhere. But the Covid-19 lockdown meant many
local birders had stay and explore what was on their doorstep and
what we found has been a real surprise.
“The Bridport area is actually quite good for bird species with
some rare and threatened species breeding here. But conservation
action is needed to give these and other species the space and
habitat to thrive.
“The survey found that a number of species such as Yellowhammer,
Reed Bunting and Linnet are clinging on in the area and without
conservation help could soon go the way of other once locally
common but now extinct species such as Grey Partridge and Tree
Currently, there are no targeted efforts to conserve specific
threatened breeding birds underway in the area, which is a concern
given the many threats they face including agricultural
intensification, recreational disturbance by dogs, predation by
cats and habitat loss in gardens. The group hope that the
information provided in the report will help change that.
Tom Munro of Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB),
which part-funded the study said: “We are delighted to have
supported this project as it gives a fantastic baseline from which
to measure conservation efforts.
“Though birds face many threats, the challenge is not
insurmountable. Small-scale changes to management of surrounding
farmland and town and village gardens could really help boost bird
Sir Philip Colfox, owner of the Symondsbury Estate and Founding
Trustee of the charity West Dorset Wilding said “This report is as
illuminating as it is detailed. For farmers and landowners
deciding how and where to implement crucial measures for wildlife,
the level of information in the Bridport Breeding Bird Survey is
The Bridport Bird Club was formed during then national Covid-19
lockdown. The area is home to many experienced naturalists and
To download a copy of the report and for more details about
Bridport Bird Club go to
A talk about the Breeding Bird survey is being held at the
Tithe Barn, Symondsbury on ##/##/2022 [date to be announced].
Further details here https://symondsburyestate.co.uk/