The 'What's Up?' project


More than half of Scotland is upland. The beautiful mountains and glens are special places for both people and wildlife. Land use and climate are changing. How are Scotland’s wild lands responding and what are the impacts on our cherished wildlife?

The truth is we don’t know - not enough people are looking.

The 'What's Up?' project aims to address this problem by working with a range of audiences to increase biological recording in upland habitats. We need your help to make this project a success.

If you visit, work or play in the uplands, you can help! Just pick the option that suits your skills and the time that you can spare:

1. Submit bird sightings from uplands habitats

You can submit sightings of interesting species or complete lists of everything that you see. Even if you only enter one record this will still be useful. Records can initially be submitted by whatsup [at] (email) (include the species, number seen, date and grid ref). Ideally we would like you to use of the BirdTrack system, online or via phone app. Read more about submitting your sightings.

An upland transect

2. Take part in the Mountain Bird Survey

Do you enjoy spending time in Scotland's mountains? If so, you could help us to monitor snow buntings, ptarmigan and other birds of the high tops. Add another dimension to your walk with this easy structured survey. You can choose where to go and you only need to visit each area once, so this should fit in brilliantly with your summer hillwalking plans! Learn more...

BBS in action - photo by Ben Darvill

3. Monitor your own upland Breeding Bird Survey square

Taking on a BBS square is very rewarding and it's easier than you might think. A crisp early morning out in the hills, surrounded by singing birds and other wildlife is a memorable experience. Only two visits are required! If you are an experienced birder, sign up now! If you lack confidence, consider a training course.

4. Mentor a less experienced BBS recorder

Would you like to see your bird-watching skills passed on? Could you show someone else the basics of carrying out a BBS survey? Your support and encouragement could make all of the difference... Mentoring can be very rewarding for both mentor and mentee. Why not give it a go?

Register your initial interest in volunteering to help with this project.

For more information, email ben.darvill [at]

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Organisations funding Whats Up project

The What's Up? project has been generously funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Ornithologists' Club. We are very grateful to these organisations and also to the many other partners who we will be working closely with during the course of the project.

These What's Up? project webpages will be developed as the project progresses.