Saturday 25 June 2011


Colony of Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), 9 nests, and White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), 3 nests. The photograph shows the whole colony, built in a single dead Maritime Pine. The 9 Grey Heron nests break down into 5 nests with chicks of varying ages, two nests with sitting adults and two empty ones. Toril, Cáceres. 19-05-2011 (Javier Prieta). Click on the photo to see it bigger.

Now that summer has come for real, the breeding heron count in Cáceres is pretty much over. With some last-minute information still to come in, with the consequent tweaks and corrections, we can give a foretaste here of the final results, mainly to reward the participants and thank them for their sterling efforts. These thanks are fully deserved because the censusing team achieved practically complete coverage of the whole province. Once all the final results are in, especially from the province of Badajoz, which has bigger populations than Cáceres for most heron species, this blog intends to give a complete account of this final result. To see other entries on herons in Extremadura, click here.

Breeding heron count in the province of Cáceres. Preliminary results, 2011.

- Grey Heron. At least 44 colonies found with about a thousand breeding pairs between them. It is the most widespread heron species in the province, with presence in all the heron colonies found. Sharp upward trend.

- Cattle Egret. Present in only 6 colonies with a total of about 1700 pairs. Although it is still the most numerous of Extremadura's heron species, this is the lowest known figure for the species in Cáceres, with an appreciable downward trend, both in the number of colonies and the number of pairs.

- Little Egret. About 60 pairs found in 5 colonies, all mixed colonies with Cattle Egret. It has always been a scarce species in Cáceres and the present result is similar to previous counts (stable trend).

- Night Heron. One known colony (Arrocampo Reservoir) with about 20 pairs. Slight increase.

- Purple Heron. Estimated 46 pairs in the province's only breeding site (Arrocampo). Stable trend.

- Squacco Heron. At least three pairs, also in Arrocampo Reservoir. Stable trend.

- Great White Heron. After breeding for the first time in Arrocampo in 2010, at least two pairs are now nesting in the same site this year.

- There is no information on two heron species that were not targeted by the count: Little Bittern (common breeder) and Bittern (occasional breeder).

- Interesting spinoff Spoonbill information was also obtained during the heron count, with 4 breeding sites found accounting for a total of about 40 breeding pairs. These are the highest provincial figures, both in terms of colonies and breeding pairs (see 2010 figures). Upward trend.

From here we pass on our thanks to all participants and wish all blog readers a good summer.