Tuesday 24 January 2012


The Extremadura breeding and wintering Spoonbill survey (Platalea leucorodia) continued in 2011. See other Spoonbill posts in this blog.

During the breeding season all Extremadura's heron colonies were visited as part of the national breeding heron survey. Nests occupied by Spoonbills were found in 7 of the heron colonies, adding up to a total of 73 pairs. These are the highest figures recorded to date. The colonies were the following:

- Montijo Reservoir (Badajoz). 25 pairs. Biggest colony ever recorded in Extremadura.
- Valle del Tiétar I (Cáceres). 22 pairs.
- Valle del Tiétar II (Cáceres). 12 pairs (8 certain and up to 15 possible). New site a few kilometres from the former one on private land. Access denied. All the nests are in a big Cork Oak; the size of the nests and the state of the colony suggest that the colony has been occupied for some years.
- Alqueva I Reservoir (Badajoz). 9 pairs.
- Alqueva Reservoir II (Badajoz). 1 pair.
- Valle del Alagón (Cáceres). 3 pairs with nest, no signs of breeding.
- El Borbollón Reservoir (Cáceres). 1 pair of adults in one nest and one juvenile on the only visit made. New site.

Three visits were made to the Valle del Tiétar I colony to monitor breeding success. The 22 detected pairs all began breeding. In 15 nests it was possible to estimate the final number of fledglings: 41. Extrapolated to the whole colony this would give a figure of about 60 fledglings. This represents a fledgling rate of 2.93 chicks per successful nest and an estimated productivity and breeding success of 2.73 chicks per pair. Both parameters are well up on 2010 (1.94 and 1.43 respectively).

As regards wintering birds, in December we took part in the GRUSEC-brokered national Spoonbill count. Several sites were visited in Extremadura, with a total of 28 Spoonbills in six of them:
- Lagunas de La Albuera (Badajoz), 11 birds.
- Los Canchales Reservoir (Badajoz), 2 birds.
- Charcas de Los Arenales (Cáceres), 7 birds.
- Charca de El Ancho (Cáceres), 6 birds.
- Laguna de Galisteo (Cáceres), 1 bird.
- Valdefuentes Gravel Pit, Galisteo (Cáceres), 1 bird.

Spring count: Emilio Costillo, Javier Prieta, Sergio Mayordomo, Jesús Montero, César Clemente and Javier Mahillo. Breeding monitoring in the Valle del Tiétar: Javier Prieta.
Winter Count: Juan Carlos Paniagua, Antonio Núñez, Jesús Solana, Vanesa de Alba, José Guerra, Rafael Parra, Antonio Cebrián, Sergio Mayordomo, Carlos Fernández, Elvira del Viejo, José Luis Bautista, Pablo Herrador, César Clemente, Javier Mahíllo and Javier Prieta.