Benjamin Gnep

Global Flyway Network associate. I have the privilege to regularly join the shorebird research of the Royal NIOZ as ring reader and field assistant in the Dutch Wadden Sea and at the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania.

Originally based in the German Wadden Sea and its islands, my first contact with Theunis’ team  was on the uninhabited Dutch Wadden Sea island Griend. In 2015, I spent three month on the island to read colour-ringed Sanderlings for my Master thesis under the supervision of Jeroen Reneerkens. Reading colour-ringed Sanderlings and Red Knots has become one of my greatest pleasures since. Luckily I was invited to work on Griend again, and to join NIOZ-expeditions to Mauritania.


A colour-ringed Red Knot on Griend, The Netherlands. Photo: Benjamin Gnep

Working on the mudflat has become a profession for me - at least for some time of the year. Griend is a beautiful place and the vast open mudflats only limited by the horizon, offer a fantastic scenery for ring-reading. Spending the entire day among huge numbers of Red Knots and following the foraging groups for many kilometers on the mudflat is a real treat for me and most likely the best job I will ever have.


A "Knuttschwarm", a flock of Red Knots. Photo: Benjamin Gnep