Sunday, 9 August 2015

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar and Frigiliana

Sunday 9 August

Off to lunch with Steve and Elena Powell but time first for about an hour with Steve down at the Rio Velez.  Our first visit to our local patch for about six weeks and what a difference.  Everything seemed green and overgrown and even difficult to see where the river, if there was any water, should be.  Yes, we had the resident Rock Doves drifting around but noticeable was the number of Barn Swallows present, and, it seemed, mainly adult birds.  We were also greeted by a single Collared Dove and a dozen plus juvenile Barn Swallows on the wires.  Nothing but it but to head towards the hide and hope that there might be some breaks in the tall bamboos at the track side.  To make matters worse, the cloud began to clear and the weather became very hot and also humid, so unlike this part of Spain but, on the other hand, norm for the past couple of months.

Barn Swallow Golondrina Comun Hirundo rustica (PHOTO: Steve Powell)

No sooner had we mad fifty metres progress than we came across a pair of displaying Cetti's Warblers very close to the track but, unfortunately, with much obstructing vegetation.  Meanwhile, House Sparrows were making the most of finding food on or near the ripening tomatoes on the other side of the track and a quintet of Cattle Egrets made their way downstream - where we later found them roosting in reeds on the far side of the "hidden" river.  A single Mallard flew upstream.  As with last week at Zapata, it seems that the flocks of Spotless Starlings are beginning to increase in size.

Cetti's Warbler Ruisenor Barstado Cettia cetti (PHOTO: Steve Powell)
Once at the hide we were able to watch the many Barn Swallows with the occasional House Martin and even a Common Swift feeding both in front and above the hide.  Also present, as expected, a small band of marauding Monk Parakeets and then a lone Reed Warbler.  Plenty of gulls about, mainly Black-headed and Yellow-legged but also lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Continuing on to the beach we found a single Crested Lark and a pair of Common Waxbill and on the reed-infested water both Coots and Moorhen.  A pair of Blue-headed Wagtails flew over our heads and into the reeds.  The walk back to the car found very little else other than a solitary Little Grebe.

Relaxing on the terrace after lunch we were able to follow a high passage of Bee-eaters whilst being entertained by the resident Collared Doves.  The pine trees at the edge of the terrace produced first a Great Tit and later a single male Sardinian Warbler.  House Martins were busy feeding overhead and making frequent visit to their nests above and we even had a few Common Swifts and a visiting Kestrel.

But best of all, given that I am yet to see a Coal Tit this year, as we sat drinking a late cup of tea on the terrace, a Coal Tit decided it could not wait any longer to be omitted from the annual record and suddenly popped up on the terrace railing less than three metres away.  Talk about,, "If Mohammad won't go the mountain then the mountain must come to Mohammad!"

Black Percher Diplacodes lefebvrii seen at the Rio Velez (PHOTO: Steve Powell)

Birds seen:
Mallard, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Crested Lark,Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

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

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