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dc.contributor.authorSuddaby, Dave
dc.contributor.authorO'Brien, Irene
dc.contributor.authorBreen, Dermot
dc.contributor.authorKelly, Séan
dc.date.accessioned2020-03-11T10:02:15Z
dc.date.available2020-03-11T10:02:15Z
dc.date.issued2020-03
dc.identifier.citationDave Suddaby, Irene O'Brien, Dermot Breen, Séan Kelly, 'A survey of breeding waders on machair and other coastal grasslands in Counties Mayo and Galway', [report], National Parks and Wildlife Service. Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 2020-03, Irish wildlife manuals, No.119, 2020en
dc.identifier.issn13936670
dc.descriptionThirty-four coastal grassland sites in Counties Mayo and Galway were surveyed for breeding waders by National Parks and Wildlife Service staff in 2019. Sites were visited up to three times from April to June,following the same survey methods as in previous surveys at these sites. A total of 280 pairs were recorded, comprising seven species: Oyster catcher Haematopus ostralegus, Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Dunlin Calidris alpina, Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Redshank Tringa totanus and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, all of which are ground-nesting species.Twenty-four of the sites had been surveyed previously, in both 1996 and 2009. Comparisons with these surveys revealed total breeding wader population declines of 51% since 1996 and 62% since 2009. All breeding wader species have declined by 28% or more since 2009, with Dunlin showing the largest decline in numbers at 91%. Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Common Sandpiper declined by 70% or more since 2009, whilst Snipe and Lapwing declined by 28% and 30% respectively since 2009. The recorded wader population declines were most evident on the offshore islands,where the total number of breeding pairs dropped by 65% since 1996 and 81% since 2009, with each breeding wader species declining by between 69% and 91% since 2009. During the 2009 survey, the Inishkea Islands Special Protection Area held the largest numbers of breeding waders at 377 pairs; however, only 68 pairs were recorded in 2019, a total decline of 82%. These declines are alarming and have likely primarily been driven by habitat change and increased predation pressure; both of which have been cited as root causes of global breeding wader population declines.Changes in the habitat structure were recorded at the surveyed grassland sites;for example,the coverage of tussocks, which many waders require for nesting, has decreased. This change is likely a result of increased grazing pressure in the recent decade; estimates of livestock grazing from this survey support this, with sheep densities noted to have increased markedly at numerous sites. These changes in habitat structure likely also exacerbate predation pressures, often with site-specific factors at play.In some instances, where interventions such as predator exclusion fences and/or targeted predator control measures have been put in place,some wader species have responded positively.However, there are significant concerns for some species, such as Dunlin, which seem to have shown no response to these interventions. It possible that, due to the small and isolated breeding populations,Dunlin are suffering from significantly reduced genetic diversity, which could increase the risk of extinction for Dunlin as a breeding species on Irish coastal grasslands. Two conservation strategies that are commonly employed across Europe to address the decline of breeding waders are site protection and agri-environment schemes. For these coastal grassland sites, nine are within four Special Protection Areas (SPAs) that list breeding Dunlin as a Special Conservation Interest; however, breeding Dunlin were only recorded in the Inishkea Islands SPA. The main agri-environment scheme applicable to these coastal grassland sites is the Green Low-carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS). Initial findings from an assessment of a sample of farms participating in the GLAS Breeding Wader measure suggest the measure is not meeting the ecological requirements of breeding waders. Greater collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders for the design and delivery of improved breeding wader management in SPAs and the wider countryside is urgently required. The creation of a unique agri-environment scheme for breeding waders on machair and other grasslands is likely required for improved and more focused management within target areas. The majority of these coastal grasslands are commonages and this factor will likely present a significant challenge to the successful design and implementation of any management measures. Site restoration measures need to be considered at multiple sites, and additional measures at key sites to reduce the impact of predation, a key factor limiting population recovery, are almost certainly required. Furthermore, improved knowledge of the role of, and interaction between,habitat and predation is required to understand how breeding success can be improved. However, improving the fortunes of Dunlin may prove more complicated and challenging.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherNational Parks and Wildlife Service. Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltachten
dc.rightsYen
dc.subjectBreeding wadersen
dc.subjectMachairen
dc.subjectCoastal grasslanden
dc.subjectMayoen
dc.subjectGalwayen
dc.titleA survey of breeding waders on machair and other coastal grasslands in Counties Mayo and Galwayen
dc.typereporten
dc.type.supercollectionedepositireland
dc.contributor.corporatenameIreland. National Parks and Wildlife Serviceen
dc.publisher.placeirelanden
dc.rights.ecaccessrightsopenAccess
dc.relation.ispartofseriesdate2020en
dc.relation.ispartofseriesissueNo.119en
dc.relation.ispartofseriestitleIrish wildlife manualsen
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2262/91759


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