The Kentish plover population recovers in the S’Albufereta Nature Reserve

Mar 20, 2022 | Current affairs, Featured, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The protected natural area is once again activating temporary closures to encourage breeding
The population of the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) in the S’Albufereta Nature Reserve has experienced a significant increase in the last five years thanks to the measures taken to avoid disturbing the nests during the nesting season. In 2020, 25 breeding pairs were counted, compared to the usual ten in recent years. This bird nests on the ground of beaches and coastal marshes that are very well preserved, which means that everyday events such as pedestrians passing by can disturb them and prevent them from laying their eggs.

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For this reason, and as a result of the results obtained in recent years, the protected natural area is once again applying conservation measures that favour the reproductive success of this species. Thus, from March onwards, two stretches of the beach of the Nature Reserve in the areas of Es Grau and Can Cap de Bou, the two most sensitive and suitable for breeding plovers, will be closed. The closures are carried out with sticks and ropes from 1 March to 31 August, coinciding with the plovers’ breeding season, and are accompanied by reinforcement signage.

The Kentish Plover is a small species of wader that is sensitive to coastal recreational activities such as the constant traffic of people and dogs. The passage of these animals on the beach is a problematic event as the plovers panic when they detect them, as well as the wakes of water sportsmen when they come too close, as they associate them with aerial predators such as eagles or similar. All these disturbances often result in the loss of young or even the complete abandonment of the area by the adult birds.

Thanks to the temporary closures, carried out since 2015, and the creation of breeding islets within the Nature Reserve, it has been possible to increase the adult population from around ten breeding pairs to the current 25, figures which, according to the park management, demonstrate a conservation success for this fragile and sensitive species. The wintering population has also improved, from an average of twenty birds to between 50 and 90 in recent years.

The management of the Nature Reserve is grateful for the collaboration of the local residents, the Alcúdia Town Council, the Coastal Demarcation and the nautical sports companies that collaborate in this process.