The latest UK bird indicators, announced today by Defra, have highlighted a short-term decline in our wintering waterbirds. Although overall numbers were shown to be 93% higher than in 1975/76, there has been a gradual decline since the late 1990s, with a 7% drop between 2007/08 and 2012/13. The assessment included 46 species, races and populations, of which 41% were shown to have decreased in the short-term, 28% were stable, and 30% had increased.
Scaup, Pochard and European White-fronted Goose were among those wildfowl shown to be declining, with populations in the UK having decreased by nearly 60%, 45% and 55%, respectively, since 1975/76. However, Svalbard Light-bellied Brent Goose, Gadwall and British Greylag Goose have increased 13-, 15- and 10-fold, respectively, over the same period.
Among the waders, Ringed Plover and Dunlin showed the most rapid declines since 1975/76 (38% and 49%, respectively), whilst Avocet has increased almost 13-fold since 1989/90 when it was first included in the indicator.
Further details can be found here.