Fieldwork update


Julio Roldan checking a territory for breeding birds

Since February, Julio Roldan and Walo Moreno, with the help of Toni Mulet, have started this year’s fieldwork campaign. The beginning of the breeding season was characterized by an unusual high amount of rainfall, on 21/02, and on 18/03 and 19/03 in particular, over  60 liters / m2  were recorded in Antigua which is an exceptionally high amount of water for Fuerteventura. After these heavy rains and storms, the island experienced several periods with strong easterly desert-winds (‘calima’) blowing in from the Sahara raising the temperatures to 32 ° C for several  days in a row, illustrating the harsh conditions under which the birds have to breed as well as the difficult conditions for fieldwork.

Birds started breeding early this year, with the first incubating couple already found on the 21st February near “Mal Nombre” on Fuerteventura. So far, two new breeding territories have been detected, bringing the total number of occupied territories on the island to 62. Most pairs are currently incubating eggs, but in 4 territories eggs already hatched. Three nest failed of which two produced replacements clutches, and in 9 nests no breeding activity has yet  been observed. The situation on Lanzarote is similar to last year with 4 pairs occupying territories, of which one pair already has a large chick (to be banded end of May). On Alegranza, the same pair as the years before is currently incubating eggs.

Apart from the monitoring of the breeding population, communal roost on the electricity pylons are regularly visited (already 200 visits this year alone) to determine the main areas used for roosting, to check for casualties, and to detect any changes in overall roosting dynamics. In addition, extensive observation at the feeding station are carried out three days a week to determine survival rates, individual resource use and to detect the possible formation of new pairs.

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