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IWSG Banner. Photos by Jan van der Kam and Simon Gillings

International Golden Plover Survey 2008

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Belarus Republic of Ireland Britain & Northern Ireland Iceland Norway Sweden Estonia Denmark Latvia Lithuania Poland Germany Netherlands Belgium France Spain Portugal Italy Ukraine Russia Finland Bulgaria Hungary Czech Republic

Golden Plover by Tommy HoldenIn October 2008 there was a coordinated count to better assess the population size, distribution and trends of Eurasian Golden Plovers throughout north-western Europe and eastern Europe/Russia. Throughout this broad area many countries are signed up to protect the Eurasian Golden Plover, yet few have good counts, nor the larger picture of totals numbers, as an accurate framework within which to work.

Following coordinated counts in Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark in the early 1990s, a coordinated count across several north-west European countries took place in October 2003. That survey recorded approximately 1 million individuals and provided new distribution information. However, there was room for improvement as many countries with significant passage populations were unable to participate, or were only able to provide incomplete data. Data are still being collated, but it is hoped that the 2008 survey will yield a more complete count, provide opportunities to assess trends and generate updated information on the important sites used during autumn migration.

The survey took place over the 7-day period centred on 18th October 2008. October was chosen as the month when the greatest proportion of the entire population is concentrated in the smallest area, thus facilitating a more complete count. This is the situation now, but with ongoing environmental change, phenology and distributions could change. Therefore, countries were strongly encouraged to provide information during October 2008, even if very few birds were traditionally present at that time, so that a complete baseline is available. To facilitate the survey a series of Country Organisers kindly offered to coordinate survey effort and collate counts in each country/region. They were in charge of local promotion, finding and coordinating volunteers, fund raising (where necessary) and collating counts. The precise field methods varied from one country to the next because in some Golden Plovers are concentrated in well-defined areas whilst in others they are widely dispersed.

Though the 2008 survey is now completed, if you happened to see large numbers of Golden Plovers during the count period, or if you would like to help with plover surveys more generally, contact your Country Organiser by clicking on the relevant country on the map below. Note that some countries do not yet have an Organiser so if you are interested in providing counts, please contact the overall project coordinator, Simon Gillings (details below). He is also keen to hear from anyone prepared to act as a Country Organiser where none is yet in place.

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