Large group of godwits in the Tejo Estuary

At midday 4 February 2017 we encountered a massive group of 35,000 black-tailed godwits in the Giganta rice fields of the Tejo Estuary in Portugal. The mixed group of Dutch and Icelandic birds were foraging or resting, until a big female Peregrine falcon caused them to take flight. The rice harvested from the fields in Giganta area is used in the production of baby foods. Therefore no pesticides or herbicides are used; likely this increases the availability of invertebrates for foraging, in addition to left over rice kernels. Recently this area has become a highly preferred staging area for black-tailed godwits. In the past week, 4 of our godwits equipped with PTT satellite transmitters have been located in the area, namely Jellum – Y4BBYR, Leons – B1RRBY, Lippenhuizen – Y5RYBR and Tsjekwerd – B6RBLY.

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