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Tayside Wader Survey

Female lapwing in rushy pasture, Northumberland

Image: Andy Hay

The aim of the Tayside Wader Survey is to provide up to date information on the breeding distribution and population trend of five wader species in Perthshire and Angus. These areas have traditionally held large numbers of waders. A survey carried out by the RSPB in 1992/93 found the highest densities of curlew, lapwing, snipe, oystercatcher and redshank in Tayside. Twenty years later we want to find out if this is still the case.

There is considerable evidence at both a Scottish and UK level to suggest there have been significant declines in the populations of several wader species over the last 15 years. We are keen to discover if the wader populations in Tayside have followed this trend.

The Tayside Wader survey has been launched to help discover where waders are still breeding in this area. Gathering this information is required to support our advisory and conservation work. Advisory visits to land managers will provide information and help target and support agri-environment applications.

Project objectives

  • Identify a regional population trend for five species of lowland farmland waders; lapwing, curlew, redshank, snipe and oystercatcher in Tayside.
  • Identify key wader sites with the aim to improve or maintain breeding waders on these sites through partnership with land managers, agents and representative bodies.
  • Collect data on habitat management to inform wader trends and inform effectiveness of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
  • Contact with 100 land managers to promote wader management through key site management plans.
  • Effective targeting of beneficial land management for waders through the SRDP.
  • Improved sensitivity mapping for planned expansion of renewable, biofuels and forestry.

Key dates so far

  • March 2012 - Survey of the key wader sites and random squares carried out in the 1992 to gain a baseline of the current breeding distribution and populations of lapwing, curlew redshank, oystercatcher and snipe in Tayside.
  • Launch of publicity campaign to obtain information on breeding waders from the public, land managers, bird clubs etc.

Work planned or underway

In 2012, we plan to resurvey 74 key sites and random squares last surveyed in 1992/93. 

We need help from farmers, landowners and the public to send us sightings of breeding waders in Tayside to help identify new ‘key sites’ for survey in 2013. Sightings can be emailed to

The information collected will be important in identifying target areas within Tayside to promote beneficial management for waders.

Who to contact

Karen Cunningham
Conservation Officer