After several months of planning and preparation, the actual project work began with an investigation and research trip in January 2011. For 7 weeks (19th January to 11th March 2011), the project leader travelled around Spain to determine the status quo, make first investigations and establish contact with potential project partners. Four waste disposal sites were visited. In summary, it can be said that on the one hand, the disposal sites still have a great significance for White Storks on the western flyway but, on the other hand, restructuring, i.e. reduction of the disposal of organic waste, has already begun. In only a few years’ time, the food-resource “waste” will probably have considerably decreased.
Montoliu, close to Lerida/Catalonia:
For quite some time, reports have been pointing in the direction of the site Montoliu becoming increasingly important for the migrating White Storks. In March 2011, we were able to observe several hundreds of storks there. Yet, observers on-site report that, in winter time, thousands stay there.
Dos Hermanas, close to Seville/Andalusia:
Several thousands of storks in January 2011. Authorisation for admission was unfortunately not granted. Observations made, however, suggest that the disposal site, with several thousands of storks spending their winter there in February 2011, has a similar importance to what it used to have back in the years 2000/2001.
Miramundo, close to Medina Sidonia/Andalusia:
At the disposal site Miramundo, detailed examinations could be carried out in regard to both the behaviour of storks at the disposal sites, and the range of activity, roost behaviour, habitat selection, etc. In February, more than 2,000 to 3,000 storks were still present. Organic waste is still deposited there, but obviously less than 10 years ago.
Los Barrios, close to Algeciras/Andalusia:
No more than approx. 300 storks in February/March 2011. The old site, at which thousands of storks overwintered in the years 2000/2001, was no longer maintained. At the new disposal site nearby, waste is separated, processed and stored in halls or roofed places. It’s only on small surface areas that organic waste is still deposited.