The survey is based on a number of randomly selected 1km squares. These squares have been chosen to cover the critical range of land types, and are selected at random to maintain scientific integrity of the data collected.
Each square should be visited three times: once in April, once in May, and finally in June. The whole of the square should be surveyed checking all suitable habitat for the three target species. The online system will allow surveyors to print out field maps of their squares and provide simple aids to habitat recording. All individual chats found should be marked on your map together with a short note on habitat and any features the birds might be using i.e. fence post as a singing perch, a hole in a stone wall used as a nest site. There is also an option to record the presence of a small number of other species of conservation concern. It would seem a shame if you made the effort to survey a square and it contained one of these species and it was not recorded. We have deliberately kept this list very short.
On returning home your data is submitted via the online interface. You are prompted by a series of drop-down menus and mouse clicks to simply copy the data from your field sheet and submit it.
It has been recognised that not all squares selected will be suitable for survey in practice. There may be a number of valid reasons for this, such as access permission, health and safety, etc. In such cases your Regional Representative may be able to 'nudge' your allocated square to one of the nine adjoining squares.