The WeBS (Wetland Birds Survey) counts are done every month and take between one and two hours. We normally meet at 8.30am on a Sunday (occasionally on other weekdays) at the main dam car park and decide who is counting which section of the reservoir. At the end of the count we all meet up in the Devon Birds hide at the top (north) end of the reservoir to total up the count and enter it in the book, and have a coffee! Obviously, for one reason or another, people are not able to count every month, which is why we have a team of counters.
These counts have been carried out nationally since 1947 and are coordinated through the BTO, WWT and RSPB. All our data is entered online to the WeBS database, and it is all used for conservation and research purposes.
For various reasons we need a counter fairly soon if possible, since it takes a few visits for someone to become familiar with the different sections of the reservoir. If anyone is interested, I would stress that we do help people who may not be familiar with all of the wildfowl we may get here. It does help to bring a telescope as well as binoculars, but this is not essential to start with. We also don’t expect volunteers to turn up every month!