We would like to invite  you to participate in a Coastwatch Shore Biodiversity Survey  in Biodiversity Week (May 18th -24th). This is addressed to Coastwatchers within 5km of an estuary or seashore. Its a truncated version of our autumn survey with focus on nature questions, plus special findings. You will need to input results immediately so we can do rapid analyses. Publication of key results is planned for June 8th World Oceans Day.

  • Who? Anybody within 5k of an estuary or seashore.
  • When? Biodiversity Week (May 18th  to May 24th 2020). The surey period has been extended until Monday the 25th.
  • Where? All Ireland

Scout: before carrying out the Biodiversity Week survey, would you go for a ‘nature scout’ really alertly and quietly to see if anyone is nesting or otherwise needs peace down on that shore you know? If you come across a special find like a Ringed plover trying to distract you, or a some other vulnerable nature, take a note and walk on without disturbing or alerting predators.

The scout activity has been planned (i) so you don’t disturb nesting birds if doing a Coastwatch biodiversity survey afterwards with more people (ii) to record any nesting, resting or feeding animals which may have moved in since COVID reduced human activity and (iii) to consider action to protect wildlife from disturbance from people who are likely to flock back to the coast very soon.

The COVID frame

This is set in a frame where everyone has to be extra planned and alert.  As usual unless you always walk on your own, its better to survey in pairs or family groups.

Before surveying, it is very importat to make sure that the area is clean with no signs of sewage and that there are few people around (practice physical distancing!).

In the Republic of Ireland, you can travel up to 5km from home since May 5th already for exercise and anglers are out on the shore since then.  Refresh your understanding of government guidance on social distancing and precautions to take (see official information). From May 18th:

  • Up to 4 people who don't live together can meet outdoors.
  • Outdoor spaces and tourism sites (car parks, beaches, walks etc) will be opened.



The Coastwatch Nature survey works just like our normal autumn survey, but only for the nature questions which we have put onto one A4 sheet short form.  Rember to photograph all the intresting things you find, in particular those having to do with biodiversity! You can upload them directly from this page (see link at bottom of page).

Spring tides (new moon) will be around World Biodiversity Day May 22nd ± 2 days. That would be an ideal time to go out!

Below you will find all relevant documents and links. If you have any questions, email Please, if possible, submit your results immediately after carrying out the survey. We plan to analyse the data sent in extra fast so that highlights can be shown on World Oceans day June 18th.

Overall Coordination: or +353 (0) 868111684

Step 1. Find and area and plan your survey

Go to the map to choose a survey area to scout/survey. Zoom in and click the blue/white lines denoting a 500 meter survey unit; the ID code will pop up.

Check the tides and plan your survey to start about 1 or 1.5 hours before low tide.

Step 2. Download the materials and go out to survey

Step 3. Data return – submit the results of your work online

Please, submit data for each survey unit (500m) individually.

NEW!!!!! Send us your pictures/videos - You can also send them by email to

By submitting content you agree that it can be used by Coastwatch in publications.We may use your photos or videos in our reports, informative materials, website and social media, crediting you as the author (unless you specify otherwise).