Range & Status
Holarctic; in Britain and Ireland 53,000 winter.
Cornwall: winter visitor and passage migrant to coastal rocks and lower reaches of estuaries throughout Cornwall. Winter total 5-700 in recent years, with a marked decrease since 1960s. A few oversummer. There are no large concentrations, with few sites holding 75-100: Camel estuary, Mount' s Bay, Looe and Tamar estuary. Isles of Scilly: present in good numbers throughout the year although not breeding, with a winter population estimated at 600-700, possibly up to 1000 - a figure of International Importance.
Habitat & Ecology
Feeds in small parties along rocky shores and estuary mouths.
Few, except perhaps a major inshore oil spill.
The main sites are SSSI. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).