White-throated dipper monitoring results – 2024

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The annual count of white-throated dippers migrating to larger rivers in winter took place between 20-25 January. Since 2020, the monitoring programme, which initially took place on the banks of the Mures River, was extended to several other rivers in the country. This year, 94 participants covered the banks of 9 watercourses, recording a total of 283 white-throated dippers.

For two rivers, the Mures and the Crișul Repede, we organised public events, which attracted a large number of nature lovers.

The team of volunteers which monitored the Crișul Repede river, before starting; Photo: Lőrinc Ferenc

The 50 km section of the Mures Valley (between Deda and Toplița) was covered by 34 volunteers, organized in six teams. Again, this year, observation was made harder by the flooding, unfrozen river, but nevertheless many dippers were counted.

On the Crișul Repede river and two longer tributaries (Valea Iadului and Valea Drăganului), 45 volunteers signed up to complete 12 shorter and longer sections. The flooding water made it difficult to spot the birds, as the larger stones in the riverbed on which this species prefers to stand, were submerged. Also, dippers were much harder to spot in the cover of riparian vegetation. For these reasons, it is thought that the small number of individuals observed may in fact have been higher.

This year, for the first time, we were also able to count dippers at the Olt river, and we repeated the observations made in previous years on the Jiu, Târnava Mare rivers and the smaller tributaries flowing into the Danube in the Iron Gate Natural Park.

The exact number of birds seen on each river section is shown in this table.

In the case of the Mures and Crișul Repede rivers, we attempted a so-called trend count for the first time this year, using the software TRIM. Unfortunately, this shows a slightly decreasing trend for both sites.

We are grateful to all the volunteers involved in the monitoring and to the staff of the two natural parks (Iron Gate Natual Park and ”Defileul Jiului” National Park)!

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