The yearly spring migration along the Mediterranean East Coast has almost finished. The past months thousands of Black-tailed Godwits have visited the ever so important wetlands along this coast line.
This spring, in one of these wetlands, El Parque Natural de L’Albufera (Valencia), two godwits equipped with PTT satellite transmitters: Moddergat en Wolvegae, visited L’Albufera. Wolvegae arrived in L’Albufera on February 18th. She spent the winter in Senegal, and made intermediate stops in Morocco en Coto Doñana. By doing so, she repeated her spring staging flight of 2016.
Moddergat arrived on February 6th, after a flight from the Niger Delta (Mali). Last year she stayed several hundreds of kilometres further South, at the Salinas de Santa Pola.
Next to Wolvegae and Moddergat, this Spring in L’Albufera more than 50 other, colour ringed Black-tailed Godwits were observed. The life histories of these birds show some clear patterns: - Many Godwits travel to L’Albufera via the Coto Doñana. More than 50% of the colour ringed birds were seen in Doñana in the previous months. Why these birds make an easterly detour (over 20% more kilometres) and do not fly North directly, remains a question to be answered. - It looks like there is a separate Eastern Iberian flyway: Many of the colour ringed birds have been resighted in L’Albufera yearly and; the other colour ringed Godwits are not resighted during spring staging at the other staging sites of the Iberian Peninsula. - Wintering birds from both Western Africa and the Niger Delta (Mali) migrate North via this Eastern Iberian flyway.
Last week Moddergat and Wolvegae have left L’Albufera. Moddergat flew across the heart of France to the Dutch’ Biesbosch and has now arrived at her breeding grounds in Friesland. Wolvegae made a short pit stop in de Ebro Delta (about 200 km North of L’Albufera), after which she flew to the French West Coast. She also stayed here in 2016. She then didn’t fly to her breeding grounds in Friesland until the beginnings of April. We wonder what Wolvegae will do this year? Will she wait as long as last year, or will she be ‘home’ early?