This year will be the 10th Wader Conservation World Watch (WCWW) event. Every year on the first weekend in November, to celebrate the start of Rick and Elis Simpson’s quest for waders around the world in support of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in 2012, Wader Quest (now a charity) holds an annual worldwide event.
This event celebrates not just waders, or shorebirds if you prefer, but also celebrates those who are involved in their conservation, preservation and research.
Wader Quest has two aims, the first of these is to raise awareness about the plight of wader species around the world, many of which (probably around half) are in decline with around a third of all species categorised as being Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered, some of the latter now presumed extinct.
The second aim is to raise money to help support wader conservation projects around the world, especially those involving local communities.
But it is the first of these aims that WCWW is designed to fulfil. The idea is simple:
1. Go out wherever you are in the world on the 4th and 5th of November 2023 and look for waders/shorebirds.
2. Make a note of what you see. There is no obligation to count numbers, but we are always interested to hear how many are around if you do.
3. Send your list of species seen via eBird (if you have an account) by sharing your list with WaderQuestTeam. Or go to the Wader Quest website and send your report via the form.
A downloadable pack about the event is available.
The number of species you see is not important, this is not a competition, indeed every year we get some zero species reports, but they are all equally valued. Whether you see 0 species or 30 species, it is the taking part and declaring that you are aware, and that you care, about the problems waders face that is the essence of WCWW.
It is important to list all participants’ names (if not all names are known, group numbers) as we create a Roll of Honour of all those who take part. This is then published in the special newsletter that we create showing the participants, species seen, and where the observations took place.
We actively encourage people to take photographs of the birds they see (without disturbing them) and also of the participants themselves to include in the newsletter, or, if you have an artistic talent, send us your sketches.
How does this raise awareness for Wader Conservation? Most birdwatchers do not exist in isolation, so if you take part, you can get your friends and colleagues to do so too, and they in turn can then get their friends and colleagues to join the fun.
In this way many people who may not have heard about Wader Quest and the problems waders face, will be made aware of them. By participating you are highlighting the world’s dwindling wader populations and shrinking habitat suitable for their survival and standing up proudly to say, ‘I care!’.
Remember that caring is the first step to conservation.
Our idea is simple; the greater the number of people that are aware, the greater the number of people there will be who care. The greater the number of people that care, the better our chances are of influencing decision makers.