Monitoring programme: Biodiversity - Birds
Programme topic: ​Birds

Sub-programme: MARINE wintering BIRDS ABUNDANCE AND DISTRIBUTION

Updated on 15 June 2016
 

​table of contentS

Regional coordination

Purpose of monitoring

Monitoring concepts table

Assessment requirements

Data providers and access

References


 

REgional Coordination

The monitoring of this sub-programme is: partly coordinated


 

Purpose of monitoring (q4K)

Follow up of progress towards:

Baltic Sea Action Plan​ (BSAP)​ ​ ​ ​Segments ​Biodiversity
​Ecological objectives ​​Natural distribution and occurence of plants and animals
Viable populations of species
Marine strategy framework directive (MSFD) ​ ​ ​Descriptors ​​D1 Biodiversity
D4 Food webs
D6 Seabed habitats
​Criteria (Q5a)
​1.1 Species distribution
1.2 Population size
4.3 Abundance/distribution of key trophic groups/species
6.2 Condition of benthic community
​Features (Q5c)

Biological features:
A description of the population dynamics, natural and actual range and status of species of seabirds occurring in the marine region or subregion.

Other relevant legislation (Q8a)

​​Habitats Directive
​Birds Directive



 


 

Assessment of: (Q4k)

State/Impacts ​​X temporal trends,
spatial distribution

Pressures
Human activities
causing the pressures
Effectiveness of measures
Scale of data aggregation for assessments: (Q10a)
HELCOM assessment unit levels
1 - Baltic Sea
​2 - Subbasins
3 - Subbasins with coastal and offshore division​ x
4 - Subbasins with coastal WFD division

Monitoring concepts table

Coordination Elements
Q9a (Q5c)
Parameter
Q9a (Q5c)
Method
Q9c, Q9d
QA/QC
Q9e, 9f

Frequency
Q9h, 9i
Spatial resolution
Q9g, 9i
Link to HELCOM core indicators Link to
MSFD GES characteristics

Q5b 
Spatial scope
Q4i
Monitoring started
Q4h
CPs monitoring
​National Coastal birds Population size (abundance) ​Transects (3),
20 days, Ground/Plane
​National Every 6 years ​3000km Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass ​Territorial
Waters
2000 (1968) ​DK
​National Coastal birds Population size (abundance) ​Transects (3),
15 days, Ground/Plane
​National Every 3 years ​8000km Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass ​Territorial
Waters (EEZ)
2000 (1968) ​DK
​National Whoopers Swan, Bewicks Swan Population size (abundance) ​Ground counts ​National ​Yearly, jan+feb Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass ​Territorial Waters/
Terrestrial
​2000 ​DK
​National Geese Population size (abundance) ​Ground counts ​National ​Yearly Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass ​Territorial Waters/
Terrestrial
​2000 ​DK
National Winter census in Åland Islands Population size (abundance) Midwinter-waterfowl counting in ship-based strip transect. National
Yearly  Three selected areas
Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass Territorial
Waters
1968 FI
National Winter bird census. Population size (abundance) Coastal transects  National Yearly Whole Coast
Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season  1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass Coastal Waters
 Mid 1950's FI
National Key wintering areas of waterfowl Population size (abundance) Aerial surveys and expeditions by boats for identifying key wintering and staging areas  National Yearly  Åland islands
Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season  1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass  EEZ 2000 FI
National Coastal survey for all waterfowl species Population size (abundance) Ground-based  National Yearly Most of the ice-free coastline Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season  1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass   1967 EE
National Beached bird survey Mortality rate Ground  National Yearly  
8.2.2 Occurrence, origin, extent of significant acute pollution events and their impact on biota physically affected by this pollution   1992  EE
National Offshore counts Population size (abundance) Plane and ship  National One-off Gulf of Riga, NW Estonia, Saaremaa Island, Hiiumaa island (plans to cover the whole coast), Irbe Strait, Gretagrund Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season  1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass   2007  EE
National Coastal Population size (abundance) Ground  National Yearly Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season  1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass   1965  DE
National 3 strips (2200km): Gavia arctica, Gavia stellata, Melanitta nigra Population size (abundance) Plane  National Every 3 years Entire area Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season  1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass   2009   DE
National German EEZ Population size (abundance) Plane and ship  National Every 3 years All areas by plane every 3 years, Pomerania by ship every 2 years. Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass   2008   DE
National Schleswig Holstein: Somateria mollissima, Melanitta nigra, Clangula hyemalis Population size (abundance) Plane  National Yearly Coastline since 1980, offshore since 2004 Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass   1980   DE
National All wintering waterbirds   Population size (abundance) Ground and ship  National Yearly Latvian coast Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
1991  LV
National All wintering waterbirds
Population size (abundance) Ship  National One-off Gulf of Riga (LV) Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
1998 LV
National All wintering waterbirds Population size (abundance) Plane  National One-off Irbe strait and banks NW from Ventspils Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
2011  LV
National All wintering waterbirds Population size (abundance) Ship  National One-off Shallow parts of Riga Gulf and Orbe strait with banks NW from Ventspills Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
2011  LV
National Wintering waterbirds Population size (abundance)    National Every 2 years Lithuanian coast line, Nemunas river delta, Curonian's spit national park area Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
2007  LT
National Wintering waterbirds Population size (abundance) Ship  National One-off Three areas offshore Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
      LT
National All waterfowl Population size (abundance) Ground  National Yearly Western part of the Gulf of Gdansk Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
1984  PL
National All waterfowl Population size (abundance) Ship  National Yearly, during the winter season
Whole Polish 12 miles zone. Two offshore areas: Slupsk Bank and Pomeranian Bay Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
2011  PL
National Wintering waterbirds Population size (abundance) Ground  National Yearly Neva estuary within ST Petersburg Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
     RU
National Waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans, cormorants, divers etc.) Population size (abundance) Ground  National Yearly Swedish Baltic Sea Coast up to Kattegatt
Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season
1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
1967 SE
National Waterfowl Population size (abundance) Plane and ship  National One-off Skane to Stockholm Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
2007-2011  SE
National Waterfowl Population size (abundance) Plane  National One-off Kattegat Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
2009 SE
National Waterfowl Population size (abundance) Plane  National One-off SW Scania, Blekinge and Hanö bukten Gävlebukten, Stockholm archipelago Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season 1.2.1 Population abundance and/or biomass
      SE


 

Brief description of monitoring

Detailed information on monitoring frequency and spatial resolution has not yet been collected from all countries but will be added.


​Element / parameter

Wintering birds/Population size (abundance)

​Method

Ground count based coastal surveys by volunteers, offshore surveys by plane and ship.

QA/QC National, but guidelines from the Wetlands International are used.
Frequency

The temporal resolution of the monitoring of wintering birds varies greatly among the countries. Data is available from the year 1991.

In Finland winter bird census has been organized by LUOMUS (Finnish Museum of Natural History); the first censuses were done as early as the mid-1950s.

Spatial Scope

Different spatial scope in different countries.

Spatial resolution ​​Spatial resolution varies between countries and specific parts within the country waters depending on site importance for wintering waterbirds


 

assessmenT REQUIREMENTS

Monitoring requirements and gaps

Monitoring is to be carried out to fulfill assessment requirements of HELCOM ecological objectives that are specified through HELCOM core indicators. The requirements on monitoring can include number of stations, the sampling frequency and replication.

Monitoring
requirements

All Baltic Sea countries are currently monitoring wintering birds and collecting data on species numbers and distribution; however, counting methods, timeframe and type of financing varies greatly among the countries. Ground count based coastal surveys are carried out in all countries and mostly by volunteers.

Offshore surveys by plane and ship are being carried out in all countries, except Russia. Further coordination will be needed between the countries to harmonize monitoring methods and timing.

Monitoring of wintering birds will support the core indicator 'Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season'.

​Gaps

​​Offshore monitoring in the winter time lacks coordination and is geographically not representative. Because of the very uneven survey coverage across the Baltic region, assessments of some species, such as long-tailed duck or common scoter are not possible with the current monitoring.

Experts have suggested improvements in offshore monitoring in the Baltic Sea during the winter time. In addition, there is an attempt to evaluate the usefulness of spring migration count data from bird observatories in Gulf of Finland as the estimate of annual abundance changes of the long-tailed duck winter population. There is also a need for revision of the winter population monitoring system, as it can be expected that due to general climate warming, iceless winters in the Northern Baltic will become more frequent in the future. Thus, in order to monitor total Baltic populations, there has to be readiness for spatially larger-scale censuses than nowadays.

Coordination should be enhanced by building a platform for seabird monitoring in the Baltic and agreeing on common guidelines and a metadabase for seabird monitoring. Activities should be coordinated with neighboring countries as much as possible.


 


Adequacy for assessment of GES (Q5d)

Monitoring should provide adequate data and information  to enable the periodic assessment of environmental status, and distance from and progress towards GES as required by MSFD under Article 9 and 11.

​Adequate data?​
Adequate data exist already for coastal and inshore parts across the Baltic, e.g. Finland (the annual International Waterbird Census counts starting from 1960's), reliable datasets for the whole region starting with 1991.
For offshore areas: NOT YET
Established methods for assessment?
Yes by Wetlands International
​Adequate understanding of GES?
Under development
Adequate capacity to perform assessments? Nationally


 


Assessment of natural variability (Q5e)

Natural variability is assessed from the long-term data series and scientific studies have assessed the effects of climate change on the seabird winter distribution and abundance


 

Data providers and access

​Data access point
Database under development
Data type (Q10c)
Processed datasets​
Data availability (Q10c)​

National databases

​Data access (Q10c)
Access by request
​INSPIRE standard (Q10c)
​Species distribution
When will data become available? (Q10c)
Data for coastal/inshore parts of the Baltic: available already              
Offshore: differences between countries
Data update frequency (Q10c)
Coastal/inshore: Annual
Describe how the data and information from the programmewill be made accessible to the EC/EEA

On request

​​Contact points in the Contracting parties

Contact point to national monitoring programmes will be added.

​Has the data been used in HELCOM assessments?
​Yes, e.g. BSEP116B Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea.


 

REFERENCES

Aunins A., Nilsson L., Hario M., Garthe S., Dagys S., Petersen I.K., Skov H., Lehikoinen A., Mikkola-Roos M., Ranft S., Stipniece A., Luigujoe L., Kuresoo A., Meissner W., Korpinen S. 2013. Abundance of waterbirds in the wintering season. HELCOM Core Indicator of Biodiversity. HELCOM, Helsinki, 25 pp.