The hydrological year so far has been the subject of a lot of good news. As well as filling the reservoirs, the copious rainfall has provided perfect conditions for flamingos to begin their mating season at the Fuente de Piedra lagoon near Antequera.
According to the Junta de Andalucía regional government, the wetland is currently home to around 35,000 flamingos, of which 10,500 are mating pairs. This number has rocketed since the start of April, when just 4,500 pairs were recorded.
The rainfall in March and April is responsible for the sudden increase in the flamingo population. Records show that 518.3 litres per square metre have fallen in the hydrological year so far, which is above average (444.5) for the area.
These positive results mean that the water level in the lagoon is at 71 centimetres, more than double the amount necessary for the species to settle there during the reproductive period.
The Junta's Environmental department explains that, as a consequence of these conditions, there has been a notable increase in mating-related behaviour, with more birds coming to create colonies, “the first step before flamencos settle to reproduce”. This phase is especially important for this particular species of birds.
The department also highlights the presence of three new flamingo colonies in the Calchones del Suroeste, a group of small islands that usually only host flamingos during years with elevated water levels. What's more, the number of birds on the Isla de Senra have grown steadily during April and the first days of May.
In order to successfully reproduce at Fuente de Piedra, flamingos require a combination of the following factors: sufficient water levels, which depends on rainfall between September and March; the existence of islands in order to establish colonies and, importantly, a steady food source.