Additional Surveys

I-WeBS does not include some habitats which are used by large numbers of some wintering species. A number of additional surveys are undertaken:

  1. Non-estuarine coast: significant numbers of several waterbirds occur along open rocky and sandy shores that are not monitored by I-WeBS - especially Oystercatcher & Purple Sandpiper. These surveys also record substantial numbers of offshore species such as divers and grebes and seaducks such as Common Scoter and Long-tailed Duck.
  2. Swans & Geese: these wildfowl species typically roost on water at night and many feed by day in nearby fields. Because of their dispersed nature, special surveys are undertaken regularly to generate the most appropriate estimates and trends.
  3. Dispersed waders: during the winter, Golden Plover, Lapwing and Curlew regularly occur considerable distances from wetland sites, usually on grassland.
  4. Gulls: As gulls are not routinely counted at all I-WeBS sites, special surveys are required to monitor their abundance and distribution. Gulls congregate to roost at night, so counts at dusk allow a more accurate estimation of their populations compared to day time counts, when the birds are likely to be widely dispersed.  

Other waterbird projects that BirdWatch Ireland has undertaken include:

Low-tide waterbird monitoring programme: focussed on an assessment of how wintering waterbirds are distributed, and at some of the factors affecting their distribution at coastal sites began in winter 2009/10. This project is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Assessment of long-term trends: a review of how trends in numbers have changed in the longer term, extending back to the 1970s. This work was funded by a 2010 Heritage Council Grant.

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