Cooney, T. 2017. Occurrences of non-breeding waders in summer on the east coast of Ireland. Irish Birds 10: 475–482


This study investigated the occurrence of fifteen non-breeding wader species at North Bull Island in Dublin Bay between spring and autumn. This is a period when species diversity and populations at coastal wetlands in Ireland are believed to be at their lowest. Weekly observations from May to mid-July 2012 to 2015 and in 2017 confirmed that Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Curlew Numenius arquata, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Dunlin Calidris alpina occur continuously throughout summer. Another seven species were absent intermittently, mainly in mid-June, and three species rarely occurred. Diversity and total numbers were highest in May and from late-June to mid-July. However, a minimum of nine species and 450 birds were recorded in the first three weeks in June. Although populations in summer 2017 varied according to the species, Curlew and Oystercatcher were on average the most numerous. In June both species dominated summering populations representing 79% to 90% of all birds present. Although weekly counts were only carried out in 2017, it is noteworthy that seven species occurred in concentrations in excess of their respective thresholds for national importance. The results show that North Bull Island is an important site in summer for a range of wader species some of which have an unfavourable conservation status not just in Ireland, but globally. It is likely that a coordinated systematic monitoring scheme at a range of coastal wetland sites would establish the importance of Irish coastal wetlands for non-breeding and migratory wader populations in summer.


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