Guernsey Wader Counts

Summary of results


Over half the regular wintering waders are in serious decline and are either Red or Amber listed. Purple Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Ruddy Turnstone have all shown declines in excess of 50% and show little sign of recovery. Grey Plover was added to the Red List in 2007 after a catastrophic decline over recent years. Some of these species are rare (Golden Plover) or at the edge of their range (Purple Sandpiper) but other such as Dunlin and Turnstone were once our two most common wader species. Thes have now have been relegated and Oystercatcher is now the most common wader.

In contrast, most non-wader species are doing well. Little Egrets have colonised and are now a common sight on the foreshore where they feed in rockpools along with Grey Herons. Brent Goose numbers continue to increase, probably due to relaxation of hunting pressure across their range.

There has been an enormous increase in large gulls mostly, but not entirely due to the presence of the Mont Cuet tip which has undoubtedly increased gull numbers in the census area. This may partly be a redistribution of birds from other, previously unsurveyed, areas but there has undoubtedly been a genuine increase in numbers as well.

One of the most interesting changes has been that of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This species is changing its migration pattern. It used to be a summer visitor only but increasing numbers are staying in the islands in winter.

There is only one regularly occurring species that is doing poorly. Black-headed Gull numbers have declined by almost half over the past 20 years. They have raised long term red alert.

Analysis current to 2010/2011 winter
Percentage change over
5 years
10 years
25 years