Tuesday, 24 February 2015

BirdingTour: Bonanza

Saturday 21 February

Day 2:  Bonanza

A rather damp and overcast start with continuous drizzle until early afternoon but then gradually clearing up to become a lovely warm, late afternoon.  On the other hand, at least it was calm all day and by the time those left of us made our way back to or respective hotels over 70 species had been recorded by the group, which at the start had numbered just about thirty members of the Andalucia Bird Society.

Some of the Slender-billed Gulls Gaviota Picofino Larus genei were almost red on the breast
Blackbirds and House Sparrows as we approached the salinas and then we amongst good numbers of Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts and Avocets.  No shortage of either Redshank or Black-tailed Godwits and Chiffchaffs flitting around in the ditch vegetation along with the occasional Back Redstart. On the nearer ponds a few Slender-billed Gulls were looking resplendent with their pure white heads and pink chests and also seen were Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Leaving the Crested Larks to occupy the tracks we made our way through the various salinas adding Little Stint, Sanderling and Dunlin.

Black-tailed Godwit Aguja Colinegra Limosa limosa with Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus to the right and Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus in the background

A small number of Shelduck along with the odd Spoonbill was an added bonus followed by Stonechat, Zitting Cisticola, Barn Swallow before stopping at the end of the track next to the pump house.  From here we had good views of the Black Storks that arrived in the area along with many Little Egrets, a single Bar-tailed Godwit, Kentish and Ringed Plover plus the single White Stork that passed overhead.  A couple of Marsh Harriers put in an appearance along with Moorhen and Greenfinches and, I believe, most got a distant view of the Black Kite.  Three Greylag Geese were also on the far water and a further two were to be recorded on the pool near the woods. Similarly, no shortage of Cormorants to be seen.  Again, I think all saw the pair of resting Ravens whilst watching the Marsh Harriers and Common Kestrel.

Common Redshank  Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus
Then it was back to the start of the salinas seeing most of the above birds again and round to the woods of nearby Algaida so that we could check out the fresh water lake.  In addition to both Little and Black-necked Grebes, one of the latter in almost full breeding plumage, there was a selection of ducks including Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Common and Red-Crested Pochard and at least fifty White-headed Ducks.  Apart from the Coots there were also four resting Night Herons were a lovely sight to enjoy.  Overhead we managed to record Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Red Kite and Osprey and, in the woods themselves, Serin, Robin and Blackbirds along with a low-flying single Azure-winged Magpie.

Finally, out at the far side of the wood and on round to the pools alongside the road where we added Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Purple Swamphen and Snipe.  Smaller birds included Goldfinch, White Wagtail, Meadow and Water Pipit.  Looking inland over the rough pasture we added Cattle Egret feeding next to their name-sakes but the two dozen Cranes were certainly unexpected.  A small number of Calandra Larks were also noted.  We, as a group, may have totalled over seventy species but I was relatively happy with my personal total of 55 birds seen.

In murky weather when all else fails you can always look at the roof models!
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked grebe, Cormorant, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, White Stork, Black Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black Kite, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, White wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Azure-winged Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

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