Survey progress

215 survey sites have been registered (as of 11/04/2021) from 43 countries for the African – Eurasian Shorebird Survey before the first survey weekend in January 2021. Checklists from 182 unique locations have been shared with the program so far. This looks to be a very good participation ratio, however, some surveyors have not registered locations at all yet submitted checklists, while others submitted checklists from more locations than they previously had registered. All in all, the number of submissions is promising considering that surveyors have not reported any survey results from 11 countries! The Covid-19 pandemic certainly affected the participation rate of the first survey weekend (e.g. weekend curfew in Turkey or restrictions in Greece). In some cases, surveyors did not go out due to freezing conditions, assuming there would not be any shorebirds at the survey site anyway.

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The ideal scenario is when the pink columns are reaching the blue line, meaning there are no unsurveyed sites. In January only 14,13% of all the registered sites have been missing mainly due to the local Covid-19 restrictions (e.g. in Greece from where we initially got a good number of sites registered). New surveyors with a variable number of new sites are still being registered due to local or global campaigns. The chart was created on 11/04/2021. Click on the graph to see in full size.

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In the northern and central Asian countries like Russia or Mongolia, the survey wasn't carried out due to the harsh winter conditions with extreme snow and ice covers. From a few sites, reports have been received about delays in reporting. Sadly, due to a misunderstanding and miscommunication, the survey wasn't conducted at most Taiwanese sites in February despite a promising start in January. The chart was created on 11/04/2021. Click on the graph to see in full size.

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This chart compares the number of registered sites (dark grey columns) versus the number of surveyed sites (olive columns) in March 2021. The chart was created on 20/03/2021. Click on the graph to see in full size.

This graph summarises the cumulated number of shorebirds counted in each country. A country with 0 values means that there were survey efforts, but no shorebirds were recorded. Where no number is visible, no report has been received at all as of 14 April 2021. Click on the graph to see in full size.

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The species frequency represents the percentage of the occurrence of each species in the total number of reported locations across the entire survey region. The following expression was used: nx100/N (n = the number of checklists a shorebird species has been reported with the quantity greater than 0 and N = the total number of checklists submitted). The chart was created on 14/04/2021. Click on the graph to see in full size.

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Distribution of habitat types of all survey sites. Click on the graph to see in full size.

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Cumulative total counts per species from all survey sites. Click on the graph to see in full size.

The 1% population threshold helps to identify important bird areas for a single species or bird communities. Population estimates are an important part of this selection process and wetlands international has been making these figures available from the mid-winter counts.

Based on the results of the January 2021 AESS, at least one survey site reached, and exceeded, the 1% threshold for the European population of Pied Avocet. The lagoons around Venice, Italy are known to be important for waterbirds and shorebirds what supports a significant number of Pied Avocets during winter. While counts from a single month and year are not enough to nominate a site, long-term data makes it possible to list is as a Shorebird Sites of International Significance (SSIS).

It is unquestionable that bird monitoring programs such as the African–Eurasian Shorebird Survey are a fundamental part of future conservation decisions.

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1% threshold of the European population of the Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) compared to the surveyed numbers in January and February. The chart includes the Middle East what is questionably part of the European population however, a large part of the European population of the Kentish Plover winters in the Middle East where it mixes with the local breeding population. The breeding population figures of the Kentish Plover for the Middle East is not available yet so the threshold level might increase slightly. Click on the graph to see in full size
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Source: BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Charadrius alexandrinus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/02/2021.