The Kentish Plover returns to nest on the beach of La Mata


The Councilor for the Environment and Beaches of the Torrevieja City Council, Antonio Vidal, reports that for the third consecutive year, Kentish Plovers have once again successfully nested on La Mata beach. During the present breeding season of 2022, a total of 3 pairs of Kentish Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) have nested on the dune front of the Municipal Natural Park "Molino del Agua", located on the beach of La Mata de Torrevieja, having been 8 the total number of offspring that have gone ahead, which is great news at the environmental level at the local, regional and national level.

This important place was declared a Municipal Natural Area in 2006. Its 17 hectares contain the last dunes that are preserved in Torrevieja. The planning of its public use and the series of measures and actions carried out this year in favor of the conservation of the Kentish Plover, such as the installation of a second fence, with ropes and wooden posts, which covered the nesting area and breeding of the species, and the specific information posters, have been key for the Kentish Plovers to have chosen this natural space to breed again. The value of this fact has several components.

The first, the conservation situation in which these birds are found, are one of the most endangered species in the Valencian Community, and since 2021 they are listed as "Endangered" in the Red Book of Birds of Spain. Its population has been reduced by more than 70% in the last 30 years as a result of the loss of its habitat, associated with the urbanization of the Levantine coast. On the other hand, the dunes of the Municipal Natural Park "Molino del Agua" are peri-urban dunes, surrounded by houses, and which, together with the area of La Mata beach attached to them, are visited by a large number of people. during the summer season, a period that coincides with the breeding season for Kentish Plovers.

Kentish Plovers only nest if they consider that a natural space has sufficient environmental quality to establish themselves and raise their chicks. The tranquility and the availability of food that they find both in the dunes and on the shore of the beach are essential for them. This new breeding season shows us that it is possible to combine the use of these places by the citizens, with the conservation of the species typical of these natural spaces, as long as there is, on the part of the people, respect for the ecosystem.

The direct involvement of the staff of the Department of the Environment and Beaches of the Torrevieja City Council, the volunteer team of the Torrevieja Kentish Plover Project, as well as the crucial work of the beach-cleaning team, who have carefully carried out their work in the protected areas by hand, as well as the collaboration of the Environment Unit of the Torrevieja Local Police, in addition to the respect shown by a large part of the users of La Mata beach and the Municipal Natural Park "Molino del Agua", have contributed to this new success of the Kentish Plovers in Torrevieja.

Even so, if we compare the current records of 2022 with those obtained in the previous 2 years, we can see a decrease in the number of nesting pairs and pups born. That is why it is necessary to continue joining forces and taking measures such as those already carried out, while at the same time strengthening them with strategies that aim to inform and raise awareness among the population, especially those who use the areas near the areas protected, in order to demonstrate the importance and need for good use and respect in these places while promoting their conservation by all citizens and the corresponding administrations.