Studying the wintering ecology and migratory behaviour of the Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus) and Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) in southeastern Spain
Since winter 2008-2009 we are catching and ringing both species of Snipes aided by mist-nets in southeast Spain (Murcia), from October to February. The study area is located in the mouth of a small creek to the Mar Menor (a small salty lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a narrow sandbar, La Manga). The vegetation is mainly composed by reeds (Phragmites australis), bellow which there are small swallow water puddles making it a good site for Common and Jack snipes for foraging and resting.
With this project we aim to know more about the migratory behaviour and wintering strategies of both species: stopover and breeding areas, site fidelity, stopover duration as well as movements in winter and during migration.
In the winter 2012-2013 we placed light-level geolocators on 30 individuals (21 Common Snipes and 9 Jack Snipes) to get data on their migratory routes, stopover sites and breeding areas. In the winter 2013-2014, in addition to start retrieving some geolocators, we placed radio-transmitters to radio-track some individuals and get data on local wintering movements and daily schedules.
We are currently analyzing the geolocator data and working on a new manuscript that will hopefully be published next year 2016. So far we can tell that all birds are from Russian origin and like to forage in a golf course close to the study area.
A better knowledge of these two understudied species will allow us to make a better plan for conservation strategies.
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