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Fokker KC (2023) Wintering Water Pipits Anthus spinoletta in Zwijndrechtse Waard. LIMOSA 96 (4): 147-157.

Relatively little is known about the wintering population of Water Pipit in the Netherlands. In Zwijndrechtse Waard, in the province of Zuid-Holland, a RAS-project (Retrapping Adults for Survival) was started in 2018 to gain more knowledge of the winter ecology of this Alpine breeding bird. Since that winter 134 Water Pipits are caught and ringed on their night roost in the reedbeds along the former river Devel, of which 81 were fitted with colourrings in the winters 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23. The number of roosting Water Pipits varied during the winter, with a peak in February (max. 100 individuals; Fig. 2). In the middle of winter (December and January) the first Water Pipits arrived a quarter before sunset, whereas at the start and the end of the winter birds already arrived at least half an hour earlier (Fig. 3). The majority of the caught Water Pipits were males and first winter birds. The condition of the birds was lowest in October and increased during winter with a maximum in January (Fig. 4). During the day the Water Pipits foraged on arable fields in groups up to 120 individuals. The same fields were used for weeks. Colour-ringed individuals were found up to 5.2 km from the night roost (Fig. 6). In total 49% of the colour-ringed Water Pipits were seen back in the field. These individuals were seen on several fields around the roost. Fifteen individuals showed side fidelity and returned one or two years after ringing. Also during the winters Water Pipits were very stable around the roosts, mostly up to 3 km and seemed hardly to disperse. Based on the ring density and the number of colour-ringed birds, the winter population was roughly estimated about 140 individuals.

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limosa 96.4 2023
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