|Egyptian Vulture Alimoche Comun Neophron percnopterus|
Two days down at the Strait of Gibraltar visiting the raptor observation posts, Los Lances Beach and La Janda proved a little disappointing and, unlike previous visits, certainly did not live up to expectations. No problem weather wise following the wet week-end but upon arriving at the observations posts between Algeciras and Tarifa very little to be seen in numbers. Los Lances was even worse and, having carried scope and cameras down to the beach I was greeted with a sole Little Egret and a distant score of Yellow-legged Gulls. Bolonia was not much better but it did at least provide a second Egyptian Eagle and a couple of Griffn Vultures. Nothing for it but to bring everything forward and make an afternoon visit to La Janda before returning to my overnight hotel via La Barca to check on the nesting Bald Ibis.
|One of many feeding Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus|
Approaching the "Punta Secreta" (nobody else to be seen at any of my stops) I had both Barn Swallow and House Martin but probably local rather than migrating individuals along with the usual mix of House Sparrow, Collared Dove and Spotless Starlings. On the other hand, a single Woodchat Shrike made a pleasant change and then a male Blackbird followed by a few Pallid Swifts which might well have been recent arrivals from across the Strait. Two Little Egrets on the shore and as I made my way back to the N340 a lovely Booted Eagle overhead.
|The magnificent soaring Griffon Vulture Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus|
|Lovey to get a close sighting of the Cirl Bunting Escribano Soteno Emberiza cirlus|
So much for a morning watching newly-arrived raptors and hirundines! Off down to sea level and a walk out to the Los Lances beach carrying Scope, binoculars, camera, water for a good seabird watch and lots of gulls and waders. Fat chance. One Littel Egret and a score of distant Yellow-legged Gulls on the beach and that was it; even the sea looked rough. Behind me a pair of Crested Larks but, other than that, nothing. What to do? Onwards and upwards with the drive to Bolonia where there would surely be something for me. No. Another single Egyptian Vulture and a resting Griffon Vulture on its, presumably, nesting site. Crag Martins were nesting in the high cave and a Blue Rock Thrush was recorded on the rocks below. Even the Kestrel made only a fleeting visit.
|Female Blue Rock Thrush Roquero Solitario Monticola solitarius|
|One of very many Red-legged Partridges Perdiz Roja Alectoris ruta|
|"Just a minute. If you're going to take my picture then at least let me tidy up a bit!"|
|The breeding Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis at nest|
My final call was a visit to La Barca to check-out the Bald Ibis situation. Approaching the large car park I saw a male fly in carrying yet more building material and then, at the low cliff face found the rest of the birds. A count of occupied nests gave me a total of nine occupants along with three watchful males but given all the nooks and crannies I would not be surprised to hear if there at least another two or three occupied nests out of site from the road opposite. Seeing the Bald Ibis, I have to admit that it is still an ugly bird with its strange "dead" eye and that spiky hair fashion that looks more suited to some ageing punk rocker! Somebody is obviously monitoring this introduced species as every bird carried an assortment of specific metal ring plus a range of plastic easily-identifiable rings of all colours.
|Male and female (below) Bald Ibis Ibis Eremita Geroniticus eremita at nest site|
|Resting Griffon Vulture Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus at traditional nest site|
|The first Turtle Dove Tortola aeuropea Streptopelia turtur of the year|
Up early and breakfasted so that I could be at La Janda before 9 o'clock. Makes you wonder why I bothered when I saw all the mist over the canal when first arriving at the site. No sooner had I entered the track down to the canal than I saw my family of Stonechats from yesterday but this morning there were far more individual Stonechats, Crested Larks and Corn Buntings all the way down to the canal. Just a few White Storks to be seen and some of these were so dirty they might almost be classed as "Black Storks." The Glossy Ibis and a few White Storks were still feeding on their muddy field along with a number of Mallard but, given the very low and direct sunlight, no point in trying to take a photograph on this occasion.
|Lots of Pheasants Faisan Vulgar Phasianus colchicus up and about and all over the place by 9am|
|Iberian race of the Yellow Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Motacilla flava iberiae|
|Ar the large heronry: Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis (above) in breeding plumage|
|A most handsome Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus and note the white markings on the face|
|Distant shot of a quartering male Montagu's Harrier Aguilucho Cenizo Circus pygargus|
|A very alert Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua|
|Short-toed Eagle Culebrera Europea Circaetus gallicus (below)|
Finally, as I drove towards Fuengerola a pair of Ravens were seen to my right and then, driving up the mountain to Casa Collado, numerous Thekla Larks and Bee-eaters awaiting my return. Not the number of birds I had expected but, none the less, a very enjoyable couple of days with a final count of 55 species.
|Turtle Dove Tortola aeuropea Streptopelia turtur|
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant,Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Bald Ibis, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail (Iberian race), Nightingale, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
|And off waddled the last Red-legged Partridge Perdiz Roja Alectoris rufa!|
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