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WEBS counters wanted

Many of you will already know about, or take part in, WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) counts on one of the Suffolk Estuaries or reservoirs such as the Stour, Orwell, Deben or Alton Water, or further north along the coast. These counts are one of the most important data gathering exercises which conservationists can do. They provide a year-in, year-out run of data on our massive wintering waterbird populations around the UK, which conservation organisations use to help protect our most important wetland sites. For example, the RSPB Suffolk Conservation Officer will be using WeBS data to help form our position on any forthcoming planning applications on the Stour and Orwell Estuaries.

Rick Vonk (RSPB) is looking for a few new counters, to help us ensure that data continues to be collected effectively on the Stour Estuary. As a new counter, you would spend a while shadowing some experienced counters on their actual counts, to help you build up ID and counting skills and to get to know the estuary. The counts take place on a set Sunday over the high tide period, once per month, from August through to April (inclusive) each winter. Don't worry if you can't manage every date below as cover can be found for occasional counter absences.

Training can be provided (there’s a local BTO WeBS course in early January, for instance).

Being out in all weathers on our fabulous estuary would mean that you would really get to know the place, and probably see some excellent birds along the way – currently we’re playing host to a small flock of Scaup and some Common Scoter, but other WeBS highlights include Osprey, Red-necked Phalarope and (more importantly) massive flocks of Knot, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin.

Please contact Rick if you’re interested –

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