Friday, 30 January 2015

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis
Friday 30 January

A wet and windy night on the mountain but signs of clearing up as I headed down to the local Rio Velez to meet up with Steve and Elena Powell.  Imagine my surprise when, on arriving, I found the track dry and Steve reported that they had had no rain in Frigiliana!  Indeed, the morning was quite pleasant but with distant clods and a rainbow even if the wind did pick up after an hour or so.  And then, on returning back to the mountain home, I discovered that Jenny had continued to receive intermittent showers all morning and as I write this the wet stiff is again making its presence felt in between the gusty blows.

On arriving their were a small number of Crag Martins feeding overhead and the resident Rock Doves in the trees opposite.  Mallards were to be seen along with a few Moorhens whilst Chifchaffs flitted about all over the place.  No shortage of White Wagtails here and even a single female Grey Wagtail.  Walking down towards the hide we soon added Grey Herons and Little Egrets plus the many Cormorants that seemed to be drifting up steam to make use of the tall trees opposite to dry their wings. in the sunny breeze.  The first of the Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls were swirling around overhead and, on reaching the hide, we would see very many more in a flight condition.

Midway down the track we soon found the first of a number of Bluethroats and , also, no shortage of Meadow Pipits plus a single Water Pipit.  Just the one Ringed Plover so no chance of recording a variety of waders this morning.  Elena managed to find one of the wintering Reed Warblers and we to see a second when we eventually returned to our cars.  More Mallards and Moorhens with a Robin on the river side of the track and both Goldfinches and Serins on the opposite side.  Cetti's Warblers were in full song (scream?) all morning and we even had the occasional view of a bird along with a passing Blackbird.

Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula

Once at the hide we had opportunities for close views of a couple of feeding Meadow Pipits and a pair of Stonechats on the far side of the river.  A solitary Wren "popped up" onto a low branch before quickly disappearing back down into the undergrowth before we could lift our cameras.  On the opposite side of the track a stunning male Black Redstart was foraging near the near drainage channel.

A very bold Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis
Not only Coots and Cormorants could be seen from the hide but we also got an idea of the large number of gulls present, mainly Yellow-legged and Black-headed but also Mediterranean and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  A walk to the beach, where the waves were crashing in from the rough sea, confirmed the sightings along with a number of Moorhens and more Herons, Little Egrets and a single Cattle Egret but also a handful of Gannets feeding close in to the shore.

Nothing new on the walk back to the car other than a pair of Sardinian Warblers seen by Steve but lovely to find more Bluethroats, including some winter individuals, Meadow Pipits and both the Grey Wagtail and a second Reed Warbler opposite the cars.  As the Goldfinches moved off so did we having recorded a rather refreshing 30 species.

First winter Bluethroat Ruisenor Pechiazul Luscinia svecica

Birds seen:
Mallard, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Crag Martin, Wren, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Serin, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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