With only jut over a week in Spain during June and having reached the hundred bar two species thanks to the previous week's five days in Extremadura, I decided to call in at the old railway track at Ventas de Zafarrya on our journey north as we set out for the drive to Dunkirk and onward ferry to Dover. After all, you could guarantee that you would record both Chough and Black Wheatear almost as soon as you got out of the car so job done. Or so I thought! But first, no sooner had I left the house to drive down the mountain than we had first a Great Tit and then a female Red-legged Partridge with a handful of chicks in toe. Thekla Larks were all over the place along with Serins and a pair of Ravens passed overhead before we encountered the Barn Swallows once into Los Romanes.
Arriving at the mirador above Ventas de Zafrarraya I was welcomed by a most handsome Black Redstart but then the bird life, just after 9.30 in the morning, seemed to dry up. Approaching the tunnel I had a quartet of Rock Sparrows (one new for the month) and then, just on the other side, a Subalpine Warbler. Not many Crag Martins about so, complying with strict instructions, I started to make my way back to the car so that we could continue on with our long journey. However, re-emerging from the tunnel it soon became obvious that the Alpine Swifts were once again in residence in the nearby large cave and totalled at least a score. A female Blue Rock Thrush put in an appearance followed by a Goldfinch.
|One of many Red Kite Milvus milvus seen on the journey north|
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor with Gadwall Anas strepera|
|A pair of "nesting" Curlew Numenius arquata our on the marshy estuary|
|How lovely to listen to the song of the Melodious Warbler Hippolais icterina|
On the pools themselves we recorded both Mallard and Gadwall plus Moorhen and Coot along with Mute Swan. Melodious Warblers were singing and showing themselves next to the path and everywhere feeding Blackbirds with, no doubt, chicks in the nest waiting for food. We even had a very busy Song Thrush on the athletics field with a beak full of worms to feed its young somewhere in the immediate vicinity. Nearer the river's edge we picked up Little Egret, Grey Heron and Cetti's Warbler along with House Sparrow, Spotless Starling and Greenfinch.
|And then a single Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides dropped in to feed|
Visiting the last hide overlooking a very sheltered pool we came across three Grey Herons and then a Squacco Heron flew in to pay us a visit. Meanwhile, the "black lump" sleeping on a gravel island in the centre did eventually wake up and stretch itself long enough for a better photograph and reveal itself as a Black Swan. So ended our journey through Spain and now all must be put aside until we once more re-enter the country and start the southern journey back to Casa Collado. But at least I did get my June total well over the hundred mark in just eleven days.
|A lone Black Swan Cygnus atratus sleeping on the lagoon|
Birds seen in Spain:
Gadwall, Mallard, Mute Swan, Black Swan, Red-legged Partridge, Little Egret, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, White Stork, Griffon Vulture, Red Kite, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Curlew, Whimbrel, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Great Tit, Azure-winged magpie, magpie, Jackdaw, Crow, Rook, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.