The Red Grouse survey began in 2011 and runs for six weeks each spring. It was adopted by the SACWG in 2012, as many members already participated in the project.
The aim is to record males defending their territories on the Long Mynd tops around sunset. Population estimates were 63-66 territorial males in 2012, 53-54 in 2013, 56-58 in 2014, and 57-59 in 2015. It appears that numbers were hit by the bad weather in early spring in 2013, but recovered a bit in 2014 and 2015. There were not enough observations of territorial activity in 2016 to produce an estimate, but there were at least 42.
In 2017, at least 49 territories were identified but this number may have been depressed by poor weather on some of the count days. The survey was repeated in 2018, resulting in the highest count to date, an estimated 64-66 territorial males. In 2019 an estimated 54 territorial males were counted, but there was a low level of Grouse activity on the dates when the southern part of the hill was surveyed, and there were probably a few more.
Annual reports have been produced, which include the cumulative results from previous years (see “Red Grouse Count report” section below). The local weather forecast is consulted before planned surveys, and they are re-arranged if icy, wet or windy is forecast, so no-one should be out in bad weather, and we are often treated to glorious sunsets.
If you would like to read more about the objectives, methods and results of the Red Grouse count, annual reports for 2012-2017, entitled Red Grouse on The Long Mynd: Survey and Population Estimate, are available as downloadable documents in pdf format below.
Information for volunteers who want to participate in the 2020 survey can be found here. Weather permitting, counts will be held every Thursday, starting on 2 April 2020. Seven Thursday counts are planned, ending on 14 May. A briefing meeting for new participants will be held on Thursday 26 March 2020, but there’s no need for experienced counters to attend.
If you have any enquiries about the survey, please contact Leo Smith at email@example.com.