Shorebirds 2020 summer counts

Shorebirds 2020 summer counts

The main annual summer Shorebirds 2020 count is upon us once again!

For this coming season, we'd like to encourage everyone to conduct their (primary) count between 1st December and 28th February. As always, the ideal date to conduct the summer count is 15th January.

As well as altering the summer count window, we're also encouraging counters and count coordinators to conduct their counts during the month of January, aligning with the survey window for the Asian Waterbird Census.

The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) is part of the global International Waterbird Census (IWC). This citizen-science program is supporting conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds worldwide. The information helps to promote the designation and management of internationally important sites such as nationally protected areas, Ramsar Sites, East Asian - Australasian Flyway Network Sites and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) as well as identifying and protecting new sites of importance for waterbirds. If S2020 summer counts are conducted within January, we are able to include this data in the AWC, strengthening this flyway-wide dataset.

In addition, we have another request. Current drought conditions in many parts of inland Australia are already influencing the movement of inland wetland specialist species to coastal areas around Australia. This has already been observed by several counters monitoring shorebirds at coastal sites in recent weeks.

We believe that this provides a unique opportunity to get a better estimate of species that are usually hard to survey, and document the consequences of dry inland conditions for shorebirds. Species of interest include the critically endangered Curlew Sandpiper, as well as more common species associated with inland wetlands such as Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Red-kneed Dotterel.

In light of this situation we are asking shorebird counters to survey their coastal and freshwater wetland sites at least three times over this austral summer – we suggest a count in November, January, and March. We understand that logistics and travel arrangements at many sites make surveying them difficult, so there is no obligation to do three surveys, only if you are able and willing.

Interested in helping out with S2020 monitoring? Chances are there is a Shorebird Area near you regardless of where you live, especially if you are situated in proximity to the coast.

To see if there is a site near you, all you have to do is visit the Birdata website, here, and zoom to your local area.

Each designated "Shorebird Area" in most cases will have a nominated site coordinator; someone who schedules the surveys and coordinates a team of counters, especially at the larger sites. If you are keen on getting involved and helping with surveys, but don’t know where to begin, send us an email at  and we will put you in touch with the local survey coordinator(s) in your area.

To join Shorebirds 2020 or get involved again and be updated on volunteer opportunities, training workshops and to get involved with field work please contact

All the best,

Dan, Steve and Lindall

Migratory Shorebird Program Team

Photo: Dan Weller


The Cowra Woodland Birds surveys 9-10 Feb, NSW

The Cowra Woodland Birds surveys 9-10 Feb, NSW

Sign the petition and stand up for our migratory shorebirds

Sign the petition and stand up for our migratory shorebirds