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Rare Birds in Spain

Identification

Where has the Sandhill Crane seen in Spain in february 2013 overwintered?

Compiled by Ricard Gutiérrez


Introduction
Photographs
Acknowledgements
Literature

Introduction

One Sandhill Crane was found on 24.2 on the N edge of the Gallocanta lagoon, Zaragoza/Teruel, near the Information center, near Pico del Hacha (Asociacion Amigos de Gallocanta).An afternoon attempt that sunday to relocate the bird (last seen at 13:15) failed due to massive arrival of cranes (35.000 roosting there). A local told J.Train that that bird might had been there since 20.2 but that report was not 100% confirmed. It was relocated on 25.2 afternoon (José Angel Sánchez, Luis Salguero, Antonio Torrijo y Felipe Rosado; Javier Train).UTM ED50 30 T  X=627328 Y=4537837. And it was also present on 26.2 (Javier Otal, C.A.Usategui,X.Piñeiro et al; David Bowyer) but the bird presumably left the area northwards on 27.2 with c.78.000 cranes (Asociación de Amigos de Gallocanta) and it was not seen again.

It is not the first time this species is seen in Spain: last winter (2011-2012) it was seen one on 4.11.2011 a bird was seen between Palazuelo & Torviscal villages, Vegas Altas county, Badajoz (Manuel Gómez Calzado). Associated to Common Cranes (Grus grus), it was probably the same bird that had been seen in UK before. The story was explained in Manuel Gómez blog in Spanish here. The bird was not relocated until 2.1.2012, when the same author found it near Hernán Cortés village, Badajoz. The bird was not seen again but it's assumed that it overwintered in Extremadura the winter 2011-2012. Record was submitted to the Spanish Rarities Committee and was accepted and included in the 2012 Spanish Bird List

The 2013 individual might be the same overwintering the previous year and, unlike the first case, good photo evidence has been obtained. However, being identification straightforward, another question arises... where has it been all this winter?

Photographs

Photos below:

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© Amigos de Gallocanta 25.2.2013

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© Amigos de Gallocanta 25.2.2013

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© Amigos de Gallocanta 25.2.2013

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© Jose Angel Sanchez Gonzalez & Amigos de Gallocanta 24.2.2013

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© Jose Angel Sanchez Gonzalez & Amigos de Gallocanta 24.2.2013

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© Jose Angel Sanchez Gonzalez & Amigos de Gallocanta 24.2.2013

Occurrence

The 2013 Sandhill Crane has been seen at Gallocanta, a major overwintering and migration hotspot for Common Crane (Grus grus) in Spain. It was seen on its way north during three days -in which Pyrenees-crossing conditions were not good-. In their monograph 21, 'La Grulla Común Invernante en España' that can be downloaded in pdf clicking on this link, SEO/Birdlife gives a total of 151.423 Common Crane individuals in Spain during the winter 2007-2008. A figure compiled from the information detailed in the SEO/BirdLife monograph can be seen below, with most important overwintering sites in Spain. Stars show roosts with over 10.000 cranes and large dots with 2.501-10.000 individuals. Smaller dots, less important roosts (see the SEO/BirdLife monograph for details).

map

Five authonomous communities gather almost all overwintering cranes. Tens can be seen elsewhere in the E of the country but they are uncommon. Most of the birds, though, favour Extremadura, that gathered 79.833 individuals between 2007-2008, that is a 53% of the grand total (see a figure below after the SEO/BirdLife results). And it is in Extremadura where the 2011-2012 Sandhill Crane was seen twice.

wintering

Has the 2013 individual been in Extremadura? It may well be. It is unlikely that the bird may have rested all winter long in smaller localities such as those of Aragón out of Gallocanta. But also Gallocanta is a rather well-watched place. So perhaps the bird has been further S. Where? A difficult question to be answered. Perhaps the bird will return next winter if surviving the breeding season elsewhere in the N. But if coming south again, perhaps a good spot to give it a try might be Gallocanta lagoon, at Aragón where almost all the overwintering population seems to have gathered this 2013 upwards migration, with tens of thousands of Cranes there. See a video from youtube below, taken the day the Sandhill left north.

A hard work to find it there, but perhaps the only reliable. And if not lucky, the scenario and the amount of specialities in the neighbourhood, including Dupont's Lark for example, gives further reasons for a visit. We'll have to pay attention to any Crane flock during the next years.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Felipe Rosado and the Amigos de Gallocanta for sending the information to this website. Also to Javier Train for his interest and collaboration.

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Citation
Gutiérrez, R. 2013. Where has the Sandhill Crane seen in Spain in february 2013 overwintered?. Retrieved from http://www.rarebirdspain.net/arbsi041.htm 



 

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Where has the Sandhill Crane seen in Spain in february 2013 overwintered?

Summary:
Introducción
Photographs
Acknowledgements

 
 
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