Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Titchfield Haven, Hampshire

Tuesday 14 July

A little overnight rain but dry, calm and cloudy as we set off mid-morning for a visit to nearby Titchfield Haven to arrive before low tide around midday,  The reserve itself is closed to the public so observations were from the beach-side road and included the shore line.  In addition, upon leaving the site to make our way back to Warsash we stopped in Titchfiel itself to walk the oath southwards alongside the old canal to give sight to the the floodplain of the Meon river.  

Upon arriving there were immediately Black-headed Gulls to be seen and as we walked from the roadside car park towards the roadside viewing area we noticed the large number of Mallards resting in the small Meon harbour along with a couple of Mute Swans and a single Turnstone.  A Little Egret was seen just a few metres further away.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Once at the viewing area overlooking the large pool more Mallards and a good number of Coots.  A single Cormorant to the right and a Moorhen was seen on the far left of the island amongst the resting Black-headed Gulls and to the left on the "breeding box" a trio of Common Tern and an Oystercatcher.  Just behind a juvenile Great Crested Grebe that was then joined by its parents.  From the viewpoint we could see into the reserve proper beyond the reeds and make out a few Canada Geese but the water and edges were hidden form view.

Common Terns Sterna hirundo with Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus on far right
Behind us a Lesser Black-backed Gull was resting atop a yacht's mast and to our immediate right right a Magpie was resting on top of the adjacent bush.  A constant sight of the wandering Wood Pigeons and then we made our way to the bridge over the River Meon as it flowed into the small harbour.  A Little Grebe was fishing and away in front of us a lone Heron.

Magpie Pica pica

Next it was over to the beach side and a walk along the path beyond the sailing club to check the shore.  A few Black-headed but also a trio of Herring and a couple of Greater Black-backed Gulls.  In addition more Oystercatchers and another Turnstone plus a distant Little Egret.  Waking back to the car we heard at least a trio of Reed Warblers calling from the reed bed.

So onto the village of Titchfield itself and park in Titchfield Lane car park, taking the last available space, and then a walk southwards alongside the remains of the old Meon Canal with the river and its flood plain to our left.  This is the very northern end of the Titchfield Haven Reserve and immediately more Wood Pigeons whilst away to our extreme left a quartet of Starlings and a single House Martin.

Working our way southwards a Greenfinch in the top of an adjacent tree and then a Buzzard flew out and away across the flood plain to the far trees on our left.  After passing a half-dozen Canada Geese we came across a single Cormorant sunning itself atop a dead tree away to our left.  Chris picked up the nearby Heron and the first of a trio of morning Blackbirds flew away form the path's edge.  In an exposed dried up part of the river another Heron and then a single Lapwing before we made our way back to the car for the relatively short journey home.  Not in the house for thirty minutes when the heavens absolutely opened (and cleaned the car!).  But a lovely morning's birding with Jenny and Chris.

Birds seen:
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, House Martin, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Magpie, Starling, Greenfinch.

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Monday, 13 July 2020

Hook with Warsash, Hampshire

Monday 13 July

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Presently staying with my brother-in-law, Chris at his lovely home in Warsash which overlooks the mouth of the River Hamble where it flows into Southampton Water.  Numerous yachts in the Hamble and, apart from watching ships moving up and down to Southampton, on the opposite side of the Southampton Water we can see Calshot and to our left, south, the Isle of Wight.  If this was not scenic enough, Warsash is smack bang in the middle of the Hook with Warsash Nature Reserve. To our right we can walk the shore of the Hamble and o our left we can walk the shore of Southampton Water, all the way to the interesting site of Hook Pool where, last Friday we recorded a female Garganey.

This afternoon we left it rather late to walk along the Hamble River with the tide almost in and those birds present being forced up the beach to take their twice-daily roost.  It seemed at first, not arriving till just before 5pm, that all we would see would be Black-headed Gulls; scores and scores of them.  As we walked up river I continued to count and eventually reached a tally of 210 individuals. However, within the groups we also found a trio of Mediterraean and a couple of Herring Gulls.  Also close by a pair of juvenile Common Gulls.

Part of Black-headed Gull roost with one Mediterranean Gull (back, centre right)
The Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus

But we were not to be disappointed for as we continued on our way we gradually discovered other species, many hiding in the grasses a the back of the meadow.  First a couple of Little Egrets and then the first of our five Herons.  An Oystercatcher was resting  low down in the vegetation and then our first Pied Wagtail took off from the shore and in doing so disturbed the, till then, hidden Meadow Pipit.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Reaching the breeding lagoon here still more Black-headed Gulls were roosting we then found another four Herons and a couple more Little Egret.  At the very back another two Oystercatchers and a half-dozen Redshank.  Not just Redshank but also a couple of Greenshank and then the discovery of a pair of Whimbrel.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Always the occasional Wood Pigeon moving around and then the discovery, as we started to make our way back, the arrival of forty Black-tailed Godwits and a single male Blackbird feeding in the grass behind them.  Then, walking back along the riverside path, another couple of Pied Wagtails to finish the day and with the tide now just about at its height.  Not a bad result for 80 minutes in the very late afternoon.
Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa
Birds seen:
Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Little Egret Egretta garzeta
Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Friday, 10 July 2020

Daimiel and Laguna de Pitillas

Monday 6 July

Very early morning visit to Navaseca with the Moon still brightly shining

Awake early so straight down to the far end of Navaseca and parked outside the road hide by 6.30 just as it was getting light.  Still a number pf Bats flying around (small, so possibly Pipistrelles, Pipistrelle commune) as I approached the water’s edge sheltering behind the teal vegetation.  Calm and the Flamingos just beginning to stretch their necks as the early-arising Coots, Mallards and White-headed Ducks moved about on the water.  The first of the Black-headed Gulls was flying and almost immediately joined by the local Whiskered Terns.

Early morning Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus at Navaseca

Slightly to my right on the scrape a number of Moorhen were feeding and then I noticed a dozen or more Little Ringed Plover and a single Green Sandpiper.  Behind the scrape on the far side up against the reeds a couple of Black-winged Stilts which led me to recording the trio of Avocet.  In the reeds itself the overnight roosts of both Cattle and Little Egret and even a couple of Grey Heron.  As the Avocets moved away left I picked up a few of the Greylag Geese.  Meanwhile, in front of me, a Little Grebe was feeding and scores of Barn Swallows had risen from their slumbers and were now feeding low over the water.  Not just the Reed Warblers now calling in the reeds immediately to my right but following the warblers bare five metres in front of me I eventually got the scope on it and that explained its behaviour at the top of the reeds as I recorded a Sedge Warbler.

Time for the Barn Swallows Golondrina rustica to wake up
Back to the reeds beyond the scrape to identify the many small birds at the edges, and also now on the scrape itself, as a score or more Iberian (Blue-headed) Yellow Wagtail.  This in turn helped me notice now that I had much better light the dozen or so Night Heron resting in a bare tree at the back of the reeds.  A few more in a tree to their right plus a quintet of Squacco Heron. Back to the shore line and a Common Sandpiper was working the edges.  Distracted by the noise to the far side I found a huge “swarm” of agitated Spotless Starlings and Mallards and realised that their cause for concern was the quartering male Marsh Harrier.

Even the distant Night Herons Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax were still half asleep
Moving round to the lane at the back of the lake I stopped at the various hides and recorded more White-headed Ducks and Greylag Geese along with yesterday’s Great Crested Grebe and well-grown youngster.  There were still a few Night Herons in the bare trees along with many more of the roosting Barn Swallows.  

Male White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala
A Greenfinch was moving about in the tree in front of me and even the House Sparrows had joined in the party.  A couple pf Blackbirds to my right and then you realise just how many Wood Pigeon are in the vicinity.  By now the early Common Swifts had arrived to feed and moving on round to the back to check out the favourable spot from the track I found the sun was in the wrong position to help me but able to confirm the presence of more Little Egrets, Black-winged Stilts and Whiskered Terns.  A large charm of Goldfinch was feasting on the thistles and noting the many Collared Doves in the area a single Hoopoe flew across the track as I made my way back to the hotel to shower, dress and feed before setting off north.  Indeed, my final bird as I left Daimiel was a resting Kestrel on a pylon.

Great Crested Grebe Somormujo Lavanco Podiceps cristatus with young
A not uninteresting journey north skirting Madrid on the M50 and passing Guadalajara until my lunch break at Cardejon in the province of Soria in Castile and Leon region.  Within a kilometre of setting off again I came across a pair of Carrion Crow at the edge of a small vineyard and then another three out in the open about thirty minutes later by which time I was in Navarre. Also in the latter I also found a dozen low soaring Griffon Vultures.  By now the temperature had reached the high twenties but far more humid than Andalucia and the wind had picked up even more with some very strong gusts.  But still blue skies!

Mute Swan Cisne Vulgar Cygnus olor at Pitillas
And so on to the Laguna de Pitillas where I found the water levels down a little but very choppy.  Approaching the site lovely to see the White Storks feeding in the lush green paddy field which seemed to have been recently flooded.  A quick trip along the track at the side of the woods to check out the waters from the far side and picked up both Crested Larks and Sky Lark.  Even at a distance I could see the resident Mute Swans.  Back to park at the (closed) Visitors Centre and take a closer look at the water.  Lots of Reed Warblers and House Sparrows but with the strong wind coming from behind difficult to keep the scope steady and most pf the birds were on the far side.  However, close to and a few Red-crested Pochard a handful of Common Pochard plus a single Tufted Duck

Distant record shot of Tufted Duck Porron Monudo Aythya fuligula
From this side I could see that there were indeed ten Mute Swans in view and in the distance I also picked out Mallard, Coot and Little Grebe.  Above me mainly many House Martin but also seen were both Barn Swallow and Common Swift. With conditions this bad no point in hanging around, so noting the pair of Linnet I made my way back to the car for the relatively short journey to my overnight stop in the small town of Tafalla.

Common Pochard Porron Europeo Aythya ferina
Having checked in and still plenty of light and heat left in the day, I decided to drive to the cliffs at Extauri, a little west of Pamplona, and about forty minutes using the toll motorway.  A very impressive site and lots of Griffon Vultures and Crag Martins to be seen.  Unable to find any Egyptian Vultures but I did find Alpine Chough and a family of Raven.  The local birds also included Barn Swallow, House Martin, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Spotless Starling and House Sparrows.  So ended my Spanish birding as come the morning I would be in France for a couple of days working my way to Thursday’s ferry from Dieppe back to Newhaven in Blighty.  However, the day produced three new birds for the year in Carrion Crow, Mute Swan and Alpine Chough so smiles on the face as I drive towards some British birding for a few weeks.

The cliffs at Extauri that produces Griffon Vulture, Alpine Sift and Raven

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, White Stork, Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Magpie, Alpine Chough, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

The Greylag Geese Anser anser

Most of the Mute Swan Cisne Vulgar Cygnus olor flock

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Bee-eater Abejaruco Europea Merops apiaster
Sunday 5 July

The Big Trip.  Leaving the house at 8.20 am to make the long drive back to the UK via the Dieppe - Newhaven ferry next Thursday, I immediately many scores of Pallid Swifts around and over the tops of the nearby apartment blocks along with Rock Dove, House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings before taking the motorway towards Nerja and then on via Granada and Jaen to Daimiel in Castilla La Mancha, shades of Don Quixote and his pal Pancho and all that!  Once on the first stage of the journey there were regular sightings of Magpie, Collared Dove and, especially, Wood Pigeons.  The, approaching Jaen, about a dozen Bee-eaters happily sitting on a wire followed a lone Buzzard atop an electricity pylon.  However, pride of place, and surely "Bird of the Day," must have been the Golden Eagle circling just above the car as I approached the high mountains after my coffee stop at Santa Elena, just a few kilometres past La Carolina and still within the Andalucia border. Wow!

It may have been "only" 24 C when I left but reaching Daimiel to check in at the Hotel Daymiel at around 1 o'clock the temperature had reached the mid-thirties and continued to soar in that afternoon reaching 41C - and still 39 when I finished birding at 7pm!  However, perhaps because I’m not English but still probably a mad dog, I did not go out birding in the midday sun.  Rather, I stayed in the cool to watch the GP from Austria and then ventured out again at 6 with a first stop at the Navaseca lakes.  An hour here followed by 45 minutes at The Tablas de Daimiel there followed.

Female White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala
Still plenty of water, albeit with lower levels at Navaseca but also many dry areas such as the pool to the left of the road form where one would normally find the Purple Swamphens. With a few Crested Larks as I approached viewing from the top hide overlooking the main water confirmed that, indeed, there would be bird to be seen.  My eyes were immediately dawn to the large number of Flamingos and then the very many White-headed Ducks.  Immediately in front of me both many Coots and the occasional Little Grebe.  The white at the back drew my attention to the many Little Egrets and that also produced a t least a couple of Heron.  The only other ducks picked out were Mallard whilst above and all around me numerous Common Swift and Barn Swallows were feeding over the water and reeds.  As might be expected, no shortage of calling Reed Warblers and the occasional sighting.

Greylag Goose Ansar Comun Anser anser
Once down at the far end opposite the road hide, no water to my right, I was able to stand at the edge of the lake and confirm plenty of Mallard plus a number of Black-headed Gulls including well-advanced juveniles.  There were also Whiskered Terns flying around and these were now joined by Common Swifts and House Martins.   Apart from the Greylag Geese and lots of Moorhen, the shallower water held a number of waders including Black-winged Stilt, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin and Little Ringed Plover.

Great Crested Grebe Somormujo Lavanco Podiceps cristatus with single chick
Next along the narrow track behind the lower end and a stop at the first hide produced more Greylag Geese and White-headed Duck along with a Great Crested Grebe and single, well-grown “humbug” chick.  In the trees behind me plenty of resting Barn Swallows and also a couple of Red-rumped Swallows.  A handful of White Wagtails were working the edges and then a single Common Sandpiper put in an appearance.  A number of Wood Pigeon were resting on the trees and wires as was a single Bee-eater.  But, possibly, best of all was the pair of Collared Pratincoles resting on the shore line.

Distant Collared Pratincole Canastera Comun Glareola pratincola
Finally, at the end of the track where I found more House Sparrows and Collared Doves I turned into the fields and followed the track alongside the water finding more Crested Larks and Reed Warblers.  A stop at the close water side produced a number of Whiskered Terns and also three Avocet.  To my left a handful of Cattle Egret seemed to have returned early in preparation for the night’s roost and so I followed the farm track to the far end, passing Spotless Starlings near the treatment plane and a lone Woodchat Shrike on a fence on the opposite side.

Whiskered Tern Fumerel Cariblanco Childonias hybrida
Still very warm as I turned right and headed off to the Tablas de Daimiel not knowing what to expect.  A few Wood Pigeon as I neared the site and then dropping down the final slope there was till water to my right and that was holding a score or more Greylag Geese.  Once again the White Stork had nested on its traditional site to my left and there would appear to be just the single chick.  Also nearby House Sparrows and Collared Doves with a couple of Magpie at the Visitors Centre entry point.

More of the Greylag Geese Anser anser

Whilst there was water, levels were very much down and some areas were damp at best.  However, everywhere seemed to be hindered by restrictions with paths either roped off or declaring “No Entry.”  The VC was closed so no idea where the one-way system started so I made a relatively quick anti-clockwise circuit of the main boardwalks.  What also became apparent was that all hides were closed to the public with the barriers at the beginning of the relative boardwalk entry before the hide itself.  But I was very much encouraged when a Hobby flew past at a low altitude, no doubt catching insects on the wing.

Resting Barn Swallows Golondrina Comun Hirundo rustica
I had a small family of Goldfinches early on and regular passing Barn Swallows.  Once in the reed bed I soon had plenty of Reed Warblers to keep me occupied along with a male Sardinian Warbler and entering the small spinney at the end of the first, large reed bed an adult Great Reed Warbler busy feeding its youngster.  A couple of Nightingale, now going into moult, as I turned inland towards the far water and looking out at the almost empty lagoon I did manage to record Little Egret, Flamingo and Heron.

Nightingale Ruisenor Comun Luscinia megarhynchos in moult
Nearer to me I finally managed to find a Savi’s Warbler that was prepared to show itself on top of the reeds and then a smattering of other sightings as I made my way back to the car park including Stonechat, Blackbird and Serin.  By now a few Common Swifts had arrived on site to feed low over the reeds and as I made my departure just after 7 it was still registering39C!!!!  Would it be too hot to sleep knowing I had a length journey in the morning and, potentially, lots of birding in the Navarra region?

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Mallard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Flamingo, Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Hobby, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.

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Saturday, 4 July 2020

El Fondo with Dave Elliott-Binns

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Friday 3 July

All set to head off due north and Dave beats me by a couple of days to head north-east and visit that lovely site at El Fondo on the outskirts of Elche near Alicante.  And what some birds did Dave find so I must make a point of calling in when I return from the UK via Valencia.

El Fondo, near Elche  -  Friday 3 July

I had to go and pick up Paul & Reyna from Alicante airport, so it would be damned rude not to pop into the El Fondo bird reserve en route!  I left the motorway and made my way towards the North Gate junction, seeing a Kestrel and Zitting Cisticola on the way.  I turned right and made my way towards the Information Centre.  Great joy as I turned left onto the Centre's approach track.  They've tarmac'd the potholed road!  My truck was the only vehicle in the car park.  As I got out, a Glossy Ibis flew over...a grand start!   The shallow waters in front of me were partially obscured by reeds, but I did manage to see Little Egret and Black-headed Gull.  I made my way to the viewing area by the picnic tables next to the closed Information Centre.  There were three Marbled Duck, a couple of Red-knobbed Coot as well as Coot, Moorhen, Mallard and House Sparrow.  A Great Reed Warbler flew across the water and a Whiskered Tern quartered the pond.

Marbled Duck with Common Coot Fulica atra (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
I started to walk along the raised wooden path, immediately flushing a male Little Bittern. On the water I saw female Red-crested Pochard and Little Grebe amongst the numerous Coot.  On the smaller right hand shallow waters there was a single Red-knobbed Coot.  As I approached the raised viewing platform I spotted the rear end of a Purple Swamphen disappearing into the reeds.  I waited for some time to see if it would re-emerge, but alas no.  In the distance I saw Cattle Egret and Jackdaw.  I carried on towards the hides, seeing a young Greenfinch perched on a reed.

Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
At the first hide, called Saladar, I was blessed with a Purple Heron flypast, followed by a Grey Heron and Woodpigeon.

A Green Sandpiper took off from the mown area in front of the hide.  On the water were the usual Coot plus Great Crested Grebe, Common Pochard and a pair of Marbled Duck.
I carried on to the second and furthest hide, called  Volcam.  On the far sandy embankment I saw Shelduck.  To the right was a Great White Egret which was harassed to flight by a second one. 

Great White Egret Egretta alba (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

There were a number of Greater Flamingos in the water.  4 metres in front of the hide was a poorly looking Slender-billed Gull sat on the waters edge.  When it did try to get up, it seemed to have lost the majority of its mobility.  I did glimpse an identity ring which I think I got the number.  Eventually it struggled into the water and swam off.  A Black-winged Stilt showed well.  Two Squacco Herons flew low over the water.

Poorly Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
I headed back towards the car park.  On the way I had additional fly-bys from Little Bitterns and Squacco Herons.  The shallow waters adjacent to the car park now contained a group of about 10 Glossy Ibis.  Also seen before I got back to the motorway, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, Common Swift, Collared Dove and Crested Lark.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
El Fondo never fails to deliver!  I was virtually alone on the reserve.  Later on I did hear some distant voices and I met a couple as I got back to the truck.  37 species in all.  A brilliant stopover!
Regards, Dave

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

Wednesday 1 July

What a marvelous way to end the present birding season and take a break from what will, inevitably, be a month or so of hot,almost unbearable weather.  Great decision to stay local and well-rewarded with some cracking birds, especially the Little Bittern, Squacco and Night Herons.  But, there again, many would give their hind teeth to catch up with White-headed Duck, Glossy Ibis, Red-rumped Swallow and Bee-eater to name but another quartet of the birds recorded by friend Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group.  Let's hope that, come the autumn, all may be back to just about normal.  I will be back from my drive over to the UK to meet family and can hopefully find a mutual date to once again join Dave and his birding friends for a day's birding.  Certainly looking forward to the return of the Dotterels and another visit to Cabo de Gata, one of my favourite sites east of Malaga.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa:  Wednesday 1st July 2020

For our last outing before the summer break we chose to go local.  I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station and cut across country via Cuevas de Almanzora to join the rambla close to the Desert Springs golf complex.  En route we saw two Rollers on the roadside powerlines.  We drove seaward along the embankment, checking out the various shallow pools below us.  They all contained Mallard, Moorhen and Black-winged Stilts.  One had a Little Ringed Plover, but the stars were two Glossy Ibis.  Also seen were Barn Swallow, Common Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Spotless Starling, Crested Lark, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Goldfinch.

We checked out the ford pools.  They also had Mallard, Black-winged Stilts and Moorhen.  We joined Neville at the parking area.  He'd seen a Grey Heron.  As we waited for the others a Stone Curlew flew over.  Eventually we had 14 members with me.  Astounding considering the predicted 40C heat! We scanned the area.  I spotted a Bee-eater and an Iberian Grey Shrike on distant power lines.  John saw a Green Sandpiper and a juvenile Grey Wagtail.  Steve added a Serin.  A Glossy Ibis flew up the valley.
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We walked towards the sewage works, but nothing of interest till we got to the pools.  In the reeds below us, we saw Reed Warblers flitting about.  Black-headed Gulls gave us a noisy welcome.  As well as the Black-winged Stilts, a Little Ringed Plover was seen and Kevin added a Common Sandpiper.  The big pool only had Mallard and Black-winged Stilts.  Also seen were House Martin and Woodpigeon.
Juvenile Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We adjourned to the Lucky Bar, Villaricos for well deserved refreshments!

We then convoyed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket, Vera Playa.  Apart from many more Black-winged Stilts, we added Coot, Little Egret, White-headed Duck and Common Pochard.  John found a pair of Avocet.  Alan was first to pick up a low flying male Little Bittern. Showed well during its 500m flight!  I spotted a very distant Kestrel.  Kevin found a Little Grebe.  I saw what I initially thought was a Grey Heron flying away, but it landed in the far shrubs.  You could see its head & neck....a Night Heron.  Obligingly, it flew back in our direction and perched on a dead tree.  I then spotted a lone Purple Swamphen in the far reed line.  John found a Kentish Plover.  A young Black-headed Gull was swimming below us.

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We moved round to the pool opposite the  AguaParc.  Most of the surface weed had gone.  Lots of Coot swimming around.  There was a Great Crested Grebe with a strippy headed chick.  A Common Pochard was seen.  Karen spotted a snake in the water below us.  Checking my Wildlife in Spain book, I think it could be a young Ladder snake?  As I was saying my goodbyes, a Squacco Heron landed on the surface weeds close by.  What a bonus! After I left the remainers saw Black -necked Grebe, White Wagtail, Bee-eater and Cetti's Warbler.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
John and Alan popped into the Puerta Laguna and added Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls.
We had a total of 48 species.  Very respectable indeed!  Luckily with a bit of a sea breeze the temperature wasn't horrendous!  It was a great day in good company.  I wish everyone a safe summer break. Will be back in September.

Best regards, Dave
Possible young Ladder Snake Rhinechis scalaris (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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