I’m Johannes Kamp and I work for the RSPB’s International Research Team.
During the last few years I have supported virtually every facet of the Sociable Lapwing project though my primary focus is fieldwork and data analysis. Working alongside colleagues from RSPB and ACBK (our project partner in Kazakhstan), I have been surveying large parts of the Kazakhstan steppes, from the Western Siberian plains along the Irtysh river to the Ural-Caspian lowlands.
I also work closely with students from Kazakhstani universities, supervising and training them and introducing them to survey techniques like nest and chick survival monitoring, and colour-ringing.
Back in the office, I analyze the scientific data that is gathered during field research as well as keeping the worldwide Sociable Lapwing observations database up to date.
While Sociable Lapwings are my favourites, I have a great interest in Steppe birds in general. Within another large Darwin-funded project, also jointly organized by RSPB and ACBK, we have been evaluating the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union for species such as Black-winged Pratincole, Pallid Harrier and White-winged and Black Larks. Since 1991 the large-scale abandonment of arable land and changing livestock grazing regimes in the steppes led to great benefits for several species. However, the situation is changing again due to the massive economic growth of Kazakhstan and there is now a great need to model and predict future threats for this unique group of grassland birds and take remedial conservation action where necessary.
Within my job at the RSPB, I also support international projects in other parts of the world. Currently, I am evaluating how casual observations from birdwatchers (Citizen Science) can be reliably used to derive trends and detect changes in population size.
You can find databases for virtually every country in the world at www.worldbirds.org – any observations entered from your birdwatching trip to Kazakhstan will help us to preserve the fascinating landscapes that are the home of the Sociable Lapwing! Please help us if you can. To submit records of Sociable Lapwing sightings you have made anywhere in the world please click here.