Hérault: the bird nesting period begins, be careful not to damage the eggs on the beaches

Quiet zones in favor of nesting laro-waders were set up last week on the beach, between Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and Aresquiers. The saline path is also closed to encourage nesting.

This sunny Wednesday morning, a dozen volunteers and nature professionals met on the Lido, between Villeneuve-les-Maguelone and Aresquiers beach, to complete the securing of the breeding grounds for migratory birds. A project started the day before. The nesting laro-waders should arrive in the next few days. Romain Nathan Danielou, Coast Guard, explains: “The Gull, the Seagull, the Sandwich Tern, Pierregarin and dwarf, the waders, the Kentish Plover will soon nest on the upper beaches, devoid of vegetation. They will make little bowls in the sand to lay the eggs in..

The 9 km Lido suitable for laying eggs

The danger is there. These birds lay eggs, a brood melted into the environment to deceive predators, with the risk that walkers or sunbathers will set foot on them without even noticing. “The birds are starting to arrive. They spent the winter in Africa and they will leave with their young in August”, details the technician. On the 9 kilometers of Lido, the Conservatory of Natural Spaces of Occitanie has identified places favorable to the reproduction of historic colonies, in order to isolate them.

Wooden stakes are planted before a net is installed, to prevent any access to these areas. “The nest is a small bowl in the sand. The eggs are laid, three or four.” The birds will stay close to the brood, until their offspring fledge four to five weeks later. “Several thousand specimens will arrive on the coast, predicts Romain-Nathan Danielou. We note, over ten years, that the populations are stable or increasing. This shows that the actions put in place make sense”.

A major risk of trampling

Jean Hersen, a Lattois retired from aeronautics, amateur ornithologist and yachtsman, came to lend a hand for the work: “I have been participating for two years. I am interested in meeting different actors in the field. I also care about beach users. I protect birds but also the areas of freedom for the population”. The Lido, despite its difficult access, is very popular: “There are a lot of people. People come running, on bicycles, to look for quiet areas”notes the pensioner.

Along the canal, the towpath is also a greenway. For the enthusiast, the summer population density accentuates the risk of overflow on the bird breeding areas: “Swimmers, walkers, kite surfers, we see trampling between the sea and the edge of the ponds. The goal of the game is for everyone to share the space intelligently.”

Turtles can come and lay eggs

In total, nearly one kilometer of temporary linear lines have been installed, easily identifiable, with signs prohibiting access to the top of the beach. Areas delimited by ropes are also present: “We note the presence of loggerhead sea turtles. In 2018, we had an egg laying on the beach, just in front of Maguelonne cathedral, 60 young turtles were born! “supports Romain Nathan Danielou.

Surveys have been set up in search of these nests. The rope perimeter is intended to monitor the presence of the turtle. In addition, throughout the summer, coastal guards will make daily rounds to monitor the size of bird colonies and respect for protected areas.

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