Not even had chance to finish working on week-end's photos and report re trip to Tarifa and La Janda and yet here are friends Derek and Barbara Etherton up and about before breakfast and recording their first Bluethroat of the autumn, nevermind winter. Now that's early. next thing you know and somebody will be reporting the first Cranes at Fuente de Piedra and they are not due until the very last days of October.
Derek's detailed report:
Greetings dear chap.......Barb & I drove down to Zapata ostensibly for a quick look before partaking of some important shopping, namely food! We started off slowly as down by the ford very little was around. The exceptions were a couple of fabulous Grey Wagtails [not seen them for ages], 2 Common Sandpipers, plenty of Grey Herons, a juvenile Night Heron and Cattle & Little Egret. Jackdaws flew around the motorway bridge and Mallards and Yellow-legged Gulls passed overhead.
Moving down to the reed bed our fortunes took a definite upturn, plenty of Serin, Goldfinch and Greenfinch on the ground feeding. A total of 4 Whinchats on the green fencing soon to be joined by a couple of fine Northern Wheatears still looking resplendent. Luck must have been smiling on us because as we viewed them a Bluethroat came to perch a couple of meters away, first of the season for us down here, and superb it looked too. It chose to first of all face us showing a full blue bib, and then almost like a model showed both sides and back, always a worthwhile moment seeing these beautiful little birds.
We then turned to the reed bed where 3 Kingfishers were chasing each other around both skimming the reed tops and seeming to fly through the vegetation. This went on for a full 10 minuets, goodness knows what it was all about! Just after this a Cetti's Warbler appeared at the reed edge in front of us in a very agitated state. It was moving along and back low in the reeds scolding something, very soon we saw the culprit, a Weasel looking for breakfast. The Weasel ducked in and out of the rocks on the bankside trying to watch us and it's potential meal at the same time, it eventually crossed the track twice before disappearing into the rocks, meanwhile a lone Snipe flew out of reeds to move further down.
Plenty of Common Waxbills were busy feeding and a few Reed Warblers were showing well. A solo Chiffchaff appeared for a good but fleeting view before hiding, easily done here! On the power cables a Kestrel stayed perched for ages and later to be joined by a second, other than a distant Booted Eagle these were the only two raptors today.
Scanning the fenced off field a few Yellow Wagtails [not blue headed] were scavenging along with some more Northern Wheatears, Stonechats, Crested Larks and a couple more Whinchats.
Realising that our quick look had turned into 3 hours with no sign of breakfast we called it a day, off to the shops and then off to eat!
Now that's what you call a worthwhile wait for breakfast an, at the same time, puts off the dreaded shopping for another couple of hours!