Wader populations on non-estuarine coasts in the Republic of Ireland: results of the 1997/98 Non-Estuarine Coastal Waterbird Survey (Ireland-NEWS)


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1 January 08

K. Colhoun, G. Austin, S. Newton

Kendrew Colhoun
BirdWatch Ireland, 1 Springmount, Newtonmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow, Republic of Ireland


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A survey of waders on non-estuarine coasts in the Republic of Ireland was carried out in December 1997 and January 1998 as part of the Europe-wide Non-Estuarine Coastal Waterbird Survey (Europe-NEWS). Almost 1,100 km of coast, equivalent to around 53% of the entire non-estuarine coastal length as defined for survey, was covered. Waders represented 65% of the waterbirds recorded; most numerous were Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (10,552), Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria (9,895), Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (6,643) and Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata (6,555). Eurasian Oystercatcher and Eurasian Curlew were the most frequently encountered species, occurring in 87% and 63% of all surveyed sectors, respectively. Total numbers of the target species typically associated with non-estuarine coasts include Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (2,750), Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres (2,226), Sanderling Calidris alba (915) and Purple Sandpiper C. maritima (447). Bootstrapped population estimates for these species further highlight their reliance on non-estuarine coastal habitats. Respectively these were 7,734, 5,956, 4,186 and 2,700. Comparison of totals counted by Ireland-NEWS expressed as a proportion of the totals recorded during this and the January Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) Core Counts showed that over 45% of each were recorded at Ireland-NEWS sectors alone. Comparison of densities suggests that numbers of all four species declined by between 33% and 81% over the 10-year period since the last survey.