SOCC at Els Ports Nature Park
Monitoring Common Birds in Catalonia (SOCC) is a long-term project for monitoring birds which was initiated by the Catalonian Ornithological Institute (ICO) and the Generalitat de Catalunya Land Use and Sustainability Department. The SOCC is a scientific project open to public participation, whereby any ornithologist can take part by periodically carrying out a simple itinerary census.
This project has taken place in Catalonia since 2002 and is included in the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme, where all common bird monitoring information in 25 European countries is gathered. The SOCC is based on the transect method of bird census. Transects consist of carrying out systematic censuses on the same itineraries of 3km in length, which are subdivided into sections of 500m. All of these censuses take place in the morning between sunrise and the following four hours, and involve noting down all of the bird species which are detected either visually or aurally.
The SOCC results are undeniably interesting in scientific terms and are extremely useful for determining tendencies of different species and evaluating their state of conservation as well as that of their habitats. Likewise, as birds are bioindicators, the information collected has contributed to understanding the state of the main ecosystems in this country and the effects of climate change.
To understand the tendencies of bird populations in the nesting season and during the winter, two censuses take place during the breeding season (the first between the 15th April and 15th May, and the second between the 15th May to 15th June) and a further two during the winter (the first in December and the second in January).
Since June 2006, the nature park has done this work with its own personnel on three SOCC itineraries in different habitats: 368 Llinars TM Alfara de Carles, 445 Corral de la Bassa TM La SŽnia and 483 Les Eres TM Horta de Sant Joan. Apart from these itineraries within the Park limits, 3 others were carried out by volunteers.
For more information you can consult the SOCC section of the ICO web.