Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Tarifa: Day 2 with John & Jenny

More from John and Jenny down in the Tarifa area.

Interesting array of birds but not a Purple Swamphen to be seen. 

Tarifa 9 June: Day 2 La Janda

A warmish start but overcast later.

As I started to pack the car with the picnic, it started to rain, but thankfully it didn´t last very long although it did rain later on in the day.  As we turned off the main road onto the track, we saw Corn Buntings, House sparrows, Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings.  I pulled over to let a horse box go past and two Rollers flew up onto the wires, then four Bee-eaters and behind in the distance a Raven flew past.

Turtle Dove Streptopella turtur (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Plenty of Zitting Cisticolas about as well as Cattle Egrets and Stonechats.  Moving up to the raised embankment we found Serins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and a few Crested Larks.  Over the fields to our right a good number of Collared Pratincoles, and Yellow-legged Gulls as well as a few White Storks, while in the reed beds Great Reed Warblers and Cettis Warblers were singing their hearts out.  Mallard and their ducklings were about in the canals, as were Moorhens and a very fast Kingfisher.  Flocks of Jackdaws swirled about the field, above us and on the track to our front, while out of the weedy tracksides Serins, Goldfinches, Linnets and Greenfinches  moved forward never letting us get too close to them.
Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis at nest (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

On our left the rice paddies were beginning to appear and on these we found huge numbers of Glossy ibis, a few white Storks, Gull-billed Terns, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, Black-winged Stilts, a single Grey Heron (the only one seen throughout the day), and further along in other paddyfields a Grey Wagtail and then several Yellow Wagtails(iberiae) with juveniles. and two Little Ringed Plovers, and above them two Common Kestrels were hovering.  Here we turned right across the bridge and headed for the presa (dam), where we saw Turtle Doves, heard more Bee-eaters, then more Goldfinches and Jackdaws, and in the trees - covering the small stream - there were hundreds upon hundreds of Cattle Egrets (on nests with their young), a few Glossy Ibis and one Little Egret. Nightingales could be heard, but only just, over the noise from the egret colony, and leaving the colony behind Cetti´s Warblers were the next bird heard.  A cock Pheasant strutted out from the right hand side of the track, saw us and scampered across to the left disappearing in the thick undergrowth.  More Turtle Doves were seen here and down by the next bridge as were Spanish Sparrows, a female Marsh Harrier and another two Pheasants.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
So over the second bridge - and heading towards the farm - a perched Buzzard was noted as was our only Black-shouldered Kite of the day.  At the farm itself, we saw more Turtle Doves and Spotless Starlings, and after passing through, a Booted Eagle was seen being harassed by a Common Kestrel.  The field to our right had been ploughed over and the trees all neatly trimmed - but not a bird to be seen.  The fields to our right were not a lot more productive although we did get a few Red-legged Partridges and watched the farmer himself trying to get two fighting bullocks from one field to another by throwing stones at them - he must have succeeded as they were 
gone on the way back.

Joining the inner road from Fascinas towards Benalup we found a small party of Spoonbills, a couple of squabbling Moorhens, Red-rumped Swallows, a Coot, more Glossy Ibis, then a Black Kite sailed over us, as did two very high Griffon Vultures and three White Storks and a Short-toed Eagle.

Spoonbills Platulaea leucorodia  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Tracing our route back nothing other than what we had already seen, but as we turned right to gain the main road again a Squacco Heron and a Calandra Lark were noted.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Having an early day today - even though we had been out seven hours, but some good, different birds for the trip ticklist.  I believe it is Zahara and Barbate tomorrow, so plenty of insect repellent.

What a fabulous day; can't wait to read the next instalment.

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

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