Between 2005-2012 Sociable Lapwings were systematically surveyed in the Korgalzhyn area of Kazakhstan as part of an intensive research project by ACBK and RSPB. Nests were located and monitored and the population fluctuated annually, but it was relatively stable with between 83-126 nests. In 2012, the number of nests dropped to just 36. Surveys since 2012 have been sporadic. This year a team is aiming to survey the same area and assess the Sociable Lapwing breeding population.
Ruslan and Dennis Urazaliyev, Timur Iskakov and Rob Sheldon started surveys on the 3rd May and will continue until the end of the month. So far the spring weather has not been good, with cold winds from the north and regular rainfall. Interestingly, on the 13th April Maysa, the one remaining satellite tagged bird had returned to Abai village where she was tagged in 2015, before unusually heading 300km south-east to the Karaganda area. Clearly Maysa is not impressed with the weather conditions either! Some initial surveys and the first full day of surveying on the 3rd resulted in very few Sociable Lapwings being found. By now we would usually expect small breeding colonies to be getting established in the suitable habitat around the villages. So far only one male has been located. Despite the weather conditions, the habitat looks to be extremely good, with lots of short-grazed artemesia steppe in the villages where Sociable Lapwings have been historically located.
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The survey work is funded by ACBK, Tengizchevroil, RSPB and Swarovski Optik through the BirdLife International Preventing Extinctions Programme.