What is WeBS?

Ever heard someone referring to webs and then when they started talking about birds instead of spiders were a bit thrown? Well that's because they were talking about WeBS, the British Trust for Ornithology's monthly Wetland Bird Survey. It is a UK-wide survey that monitors non-breeding waterbirds. Those involved count all the wetland birds they see at the scheduled time and this means that the BTO is provided with data for population and trends in abundance and distribution.

At WWT Caerlaverock, we go to the hides on the reserve and also travel to the northern holdings to carry out the survey. We did the March WeBS count on Monday the 11th and here is what we found over the whole reserve.

  • 2166 barnacle geese
  • 3 Canada geese
  • 28 mute swans
  • 110 whooper swans
  • 92 common shelduck
  • 46 northern shoveler
  • 2 gadwall
  • 225 Eurasian wigeon
  • 46 mallard
  • 10 northern pintail
  • 219 Eurasian teal
  • 5 tufted duck
  • 1 greater scaup
  • 1 little grebe
  • 8 little egret
  • 4 moorhen
  • 43 lapwing
  • 501 European golden plover
  • 26 curlew
  • 1 ruff
  • 959 dunlin
  • 43 redshank
  • 6 greater black-backed gull
  • 1 oysterctacher

Lots of these birds will be on their way home to their summer breeding grounds soon. Come down while you can to get your fill of these winter beauties.

Words by Marianne Nicholson

Feature image of redshank by Malcolm Ivison

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