Dear observers,

together with a network of shorebird enthusiasts ranging (so far) mainly across Europe we are aiming to assess percentages of juveniles within Sanderling flocks. This we do in order to get an idea about the Sanderling´s breeding success up in the high arctic and its fluctuations between years. Besides that, we also are interested in within year variation of juvenile percentages at single sites (during migration and wintering) and also between different sites (e.g. northern latitudes vs. southern ones etc.). Given its huge distributional range, such work on a species like the Sanderling can only effectively be pulled off with a network of many volunteering observers working at many different sites desirably across the coasts of both Europe and Africa. We are happy to have gathered already some very exciting data since our first season in 2012/13. Following each season we inform all observers about the last season´s results by sending out a newsletter showing all the maps and figures made by using the joint data pool.

For this season we expect the Sanderling´s breeding success to be nearly zero as observations from the breeding grounds on Greenland suggest. This year a tremendous amount of snow fall during Mai/June made it hardly possible for Sanderlings to start any clutch. Now, we are of course very curious how this will relate to the age ratios within Sanderling flocks at the non-breeding range, which for the Greenlandic population mainly corresponds to  the eastern shores of Africa. However, any age ratio data of Sanderlings from the western shores of Africa are certainly not less interesting and moreover a potent tool for comparing the breeding success of those two populations (greenlandic vs. siberian).

We now hope to stimulate birders in whole Africa to participate on this work. Any help is appreciated and will certainly be very useful! We have prepared a manual for ageing Sanderlings and also scoring juvenile percentages which provides the methodological basis, which all observers are kindly asked to follow in order to make the data comparable. You can download the manual here. It is also available in French, Spanish and German. Any effort should focus on the period ranging between August and November, when ageing Sanderlings is best possible. Further, if possible, repeated counts on different days from the same site are very useful.

Together with the link further below containing some more details on this year´s situation on Greenland, we hope to reach as many observers as possible, who enjoy shorebirding and, at the same time, like to gather unique data on the fascinating high arctic breeding Sanderling.

Thanks a lot for your help and kind regards,

Hilger Lemke and Jeroen Reneerkens

PS:  Some further background news about the poor breeding season can be found here:



Posted by: Hilger Lemke <>