Population sizes of wintering seabirds
Population monitoring of wintering seabirds was started in certain areas in the mid-1970s, but first occurred on a nation-wide basis in 1980. This monitoring is conducted from the Swedish border in the south to Varanger Fjord in the north, with the following ten primary areas: Østfold, Vest-Agder, Rogaland, Smøla, Trondheim Fjord, Vega, Salten Fjord, Vesterålen, Troms and Varanger Fjord.
The monitoring of winter populations is conducted as counts from set counting points on land by members of the local chapters of the Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF). On an annual basis, up to 100 people participate in this work. The monitoring was originally started to follow the development of populations of species that overwinter in such large numbers in Norway that we have an extra management responsibility for them: the great northern and white-billed divers, red-necked grebe, common eider, king eider, Steller’s eider, long-tailed duck and velvet scoter. With the exception of the common eider, these species nest near freshwater, and spread over large and isolated areas; it is therefore easier to monitor populations in the overwintering areas along the Norwegian coast.
The original monitoring areas covered the inner parts of the coast, and Svalbard was not included. SEAPOP has therefore established such monitoring on Spitsbergen and in several new areas on the outer parts of the Norwegian coast. The new areas constitute a considerable contribution in terms of space, and they are located in Telemark, Sogn og Fjordane/Hordaland, Leka in Nord-Trøndelag, Andøya in Nordland, the western parts of Kvaløya and Vannøya in Troms, the area from Hasvik to Sørvær on Sørøya in Vest-Finnmark and the area from Berlevåg to Kongsfjord in Øst-Finnmark. The work is carried out by a combination of hired, professional field workers and members of the local branches of the Norwegian Ornithological Society. On Svalbard, the work is conducted on the west coast of Spitsbergen, from Isfjorden to Bellsund.