Tuesday, 13 July 2010

JUNE 2010: Notable bird sightings in Extremadura

Pato colorado (Netta rufina). Macho nupcial. Por Javier Prieta.

-Red-Backed Shrike: One male at Puerto de Tornavacas, Ávila, on the border with Cáceres, on 06/06 (Dave and Sammy Langlois)
-Green Sandpiper: First post-breeding dispersal observations, 9 birds in Galisteo ricefields and 2 in Galisteo lake on 15/06 (Sergio Mayordomo)
-Lapwing: First post-breeding dispersal observations, 3 birds in Galisteo ricefields on 15/06 (Sergio Mayordomo)
- Rüppell's Griffon : One immature at Salto del Gitano, Monfragüe, on 5/06 and 6/06 (Jesús Porras, Ernest García, Manolo García del Rey, Sergio Mayordomo et al)
-Long-Legged Buzzard: One second-year bird in Llanos de Belén, Trujillo, on 11/06 (Ernest García), and other or the same bird on 22/06 in Los Cerralbos, Trujillo (Martin Kelsey)
-Spoonbill: 12 birds on the lakes of La Albuera, Badajoz, on 22 and 27/06 (Juan Carlos Paniagua)
-Whiskered Tern: At least 10 birds on the lakes of La Albuera, Badajoz, on 22/06 (Juan Carlos Paniagua)
-Egyptian Goose: One bird on 16/06 in a livestock pool in Parque Natural de Cornalvo, Badajoz (José Ledo)
-Black-Headed Gull: First post-breeding dispersal observation in Galisteo ricefield on 04/06 (Sergio Mayordomo)
-Crane: One over-summering bird in Oliva de Plasencia on 12/06 and 18/06 (Ricardo Montero)
-Red-Crested Pochard: 2 drakes at Arrocampo reservoir on 20/06 (César Clemente)
-Rock Thrush: 2 males at the mountain pass of Castilla, Gata, at about 1100 masl on 13/06 (Sergio Mayordomo)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


We have just received the results of the Environment Ministry's 2009 Spanish Imperial Eagle census (Aquila adalberti). These figures have not yet been cross checked against official sources so they should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.

It is promising to see that the Spanish population of this threatened raptor, which is just about the worldwide population, put in a good showing again this year. The following graph shows this upward trend, with 12 new breeding pairs and a doubling of the figures from only 10 years ago (from 133 pairs in 1999 to 261 in 2009).

On the other hand we are saddened to see Extremadura bucking this bright trend, with a 16% downturn, 8 pairs fewer, in only two years. No other region has seen a reduction in any year of the last decade; Extremadura has now plunged from the region with most Imperial Eagles to last place.

It would now be enlightening if the authority responsible for the conservation of this species gave more information to bear out or rebut these figures. This is unlikely to happen, however, since little or no information is given on the monitoring of threatened species, despite the general interest. Little or nothing was said about the sudden increase from 40 to 49 pairs in two years and we have no idea how it came about. Now we know just as little about this decline or its causes. At least census figures are forthcoming for Monfragüe, showing that the population has held steady at 12 pairs in recent years.

The following table shows the complete breakdown by region from 1999 to 2009. The figures have been taken from the Environment Ministry (figures sometimes differ from one source to another so this one source was chosen for the sake of consistency). Figures are also available from other sources in other regions: Castilla y León (with a detailed map), Castilla-La Mancha (there is a magnificent book and an article about Toledo in Ardeola) and Andalucía (with excellent official information in internet on the monitoring of threatened species). Unfortunately there is nothing similar in Extremadura, despite the existence of a website for this purpose and the public funds pumped into the much vaunted "information society".