! Murcia today – The first cranes make a welcome return to the province of Alicante
The magnificent long-legged birds have been spotted in Torrevieja and San Fulgencio in the south of the province of Alicante
While the large, long-necked birds are a regular visitor to much of southwestern Spain, their “occurrence is quite rare in Alicante,” according to the Friends of the Southern Wetlands of Alicante (AHSA), with less than 100 cranes arriving annually in recent years.
“Groups, which rarely exceed the hundred or so birds in total, come to our wetlands either to make a brief stopover during their migration, or to stay there longer, or even to spend the winter until March when they migrate. are returning to their nesting grounds, mainly in northern Europe, ”AHSA explained.
But a lack of ringed cranes makes it difficult for the environmental group to know exactly how many birds are visiting and how long they stay.
“The rarity of birds marked with rings that can be read at a distance (only one specimen was tracked) does not make it possible to establish the duration of their stay, although the stability of the number of birds and of the composition by age of the flocks monitored in recent years leads us to believe that some of them spend the winter here and that these are not different groups of birds in transit, ”added AHSA.
Adult cranes are around 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall and are known for their complex “flaunting” behavior, where they perform bows, pirouettes and bobs.
They are most often seen in and around the El Hondo de Amorós Nature Reserve in Elche / Alicante where they will roost and rest, drawn to the wetlands and marshes where they spend the night to protect themselves from possible predators.
During the day, they seek cultivated fields, preferably cereal stubble, to feed on grains left in the ground after harvest.
“Until a few years ago it was very common to see them in Los Carrizales, Elche, but it is becoming more and more difficult to locate specimens there due to the fact that the cereal crops are hardly sown any more. . “
The first sighting of cranes this fall was recorded on October 27, when a couple were seen circling over the Sierra del Molar.
The next day, six flying birds landed in El Hondo Nature Reserve and 19 cranes were seen foraging for corn in San Fulgencio on October 29, along with 23 others on the edge of the Torrevieja lagoon.
Images: AHSA. Amigos de los Humedales del Sur de Alicante