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Free Content Revised estimate of numbers of wintering Red‐throated Divers Gavia stellata in Great Britain: Capsule An estimated 17 000 Red‐throated Divers winter around Great Britain.

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Aim To produce an up‐to‐date assessment of the numbers of Red‐throated Divers wintering around Great Britain.

Methods A revised Great Britain (GB) wintering population estimate for Red‐throated Divers was compiled using data primarily from systematic line transect surveys by aircraft over marine nearshore areas conducted during 2001–06, supplemented with county bird records and Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) counts, both from 1995 to 2005. Population estimates for each survey area around GB were calculated as the mean of either annual means (aerial surveys) or annual maxima (WeBS, county bird records) of all data collected within January and February of each year. These were summed to give a revised GB wintering population estimate.

Results A total of 17116 (13198–21034, 95% confidence interval) Red‐throated Divers were estimated to winter around GB. Distribution was uneven. By far the greatest numbers were found off southeast and east Britain (59.3% of the total was between Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, and Dungeness, Kent), with large concentrations off the English south coast (10.9%), north Wales and Liverpool Bay (9.8%), and eastern Scotland (6.1%).

Conclusion This is a minimum plausible population estimate and the true population size may be larger. The new 1% of population threshold for statutory conservation work is 170 birds.
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Keywords: Gavia stellata; Red‐throated Diver; Red‐throated Loon; Special Protection Area; Wetland Bird Survey; aerial survey; county bird records; population estimate; seabirds

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Dunnet House, 7 Thistle Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1UZ, UK 2: Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK

Publication date: 01 July 2008

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