How to carry out the Buds, Berries and Leaves Survey
2. Decide if you would like to walk one of our existing transects or set up your own. If you would like to use an existing transect, consult our map and choose a location. If you would like to set up your own, please contact us with details of your suggested route.
3. Gather the things you will need to take with you on your survey:
- Download a survey guide which will tell you how to conduct the survey and what information you need to collect.
- Download a recording form to take out with you on your survey.
- Download a growth stages definitions sheet.
- If you're going to walk an existing transect, download a transect pack and optional GPS points.
- Take a guide to identifying our target species if you feel you need to (browse our resources).
- A camera may be useful if you'd like to check your sightings later.
- Binoculars can be useful for looking at rowan trees away from the footpath.
- Download health and safety guidelines.
4. Carry out the surveys:
- Fill in the top of the recording form. 'When', 'where' and 'who' are important. Remember to check how many sections your transect has before you set off.
- Walk the transect at a slow and steady pace, observing the growth stages of the shrubs. (bilberry, crowberry and heather) up to 2m to each side of the path and rowan trees up to 20m to each side of the path.
- At the end of each transect section; tick the box relating to the plant growth stages observed in that section. Consult the 'growth stage definitions' sheet for more detail on what can be counted. If the species was present but a growth stage was not observed, put a cross in the box. If a species was not seen at all in the section, write 'absent' or 'A' in the relevant box.
- When you reach the end of the transect don't forget to note your finish time.
- For more detailed instructions, download our methodology document.
For each section of the transect, submit only the latest (newest) growth stage observed. For example if you see a transect section containing rowan trees with ripe berries but no leaves; then we would record the growth stage for the species in that section as 'plant bare' - since leaves falling off is a phenologial stage which occurs later in the year than berries ripening.
If a plant was not seen an a transect section, then this should be submitted in iRecord as 'Plant absent'. If a plant was seen, but none of the phonological stages were noted, then this should be submitted as 'Uncertain'. See our iRecord guidance document for more details.
If you would like to - take part in one of our free survey training events. Check our events page to see if there is one near you, or contact us to suggest a location where you would like us to run one.