jueves, 27 de septiembre de 2012

Eurosite VII Spoonbill Workshop. Santoña, Victoria and Joyel marshes Natural Park, Spain. 25 to 30 September 2012

Comunicación presentada en el VII Eurosite Spoonbill Workshop

Where do Spoonbills make the crossing to Africa?. The Limes Platalea Project


In the southwest of Spain, postnuptial migration towards wintering sites in Mauritania and Senegal usually starts from mid-July until the end of October, being earlier (July–September) for Spanish spoonbills and later (September–October) for their Western Europe counterparts. Currently, the population of the Atlantic migratory route exceeds 12,000 birds. Although a small part of the population (around 2,000) does not migrate and remains in Andalusia throughout the winter, most of the population crosses the Andalusian coast towards Morocco. Little is known of the exact place and conditions of this migratory jump: studies in the framework of the MIGRES programme indicate that the number of spoonbills seen crossing the Strait of Gibraltar is very small. This suggests the spoonbills, grouped into large flocks primarily in Doñana and the Bay of Cádiz in late summer, cross the Strait of Gibraltar at night or somewhere north of this area. Previous random observations indicate that from late July until mid-October, large flocks of spoonbills are usually seen in an area of the western coast of Cadiz (southwest of Spain), somewhere north of the Strait of Gibraltar crossing towards Morocco. More than 1,000 birds have been seen in a single day. These records correspond to random observations about a little documented phenomenon. The Limes Platalea project intends to conduct a more detailed study aimed at quantifying the migratory population compared with the known European contingent.

We will use several observatories strategically located on the coast, and we are counting on having volunteers who will (i) Specify the place where the majority of birds make the jump to Africa; (ii) Determine the phenology and environmental factors affecting the migration jump; (iii) Quantify the number of spoonbills in migration; (iv) Analyze the composition and structure of the flocks by age; (v) As far as possible, determine the place of origin of the spoonbills with reference to PVC rings with colour coding, or through direct observation or digital photography; and (vi) Obtain a predictive model of the place and conditions of the jump.

Our objective is to study a migration of exceptional importance, which is also a great visual spectacle, with the possibility of developing awareness campaigns and volunteering on the coast.

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