Friday, 8 January 2016

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Thursday 7 January

My first visit of the year to the Rio Velez arriving late morning for a couple of hours with Lindsay Ferguson who has bit just a week to go of his visit to Competa before returning to the UK.  Greeted this time by a Great Tit as we drove down to pass under the N340 road bridge and park in the usual place, we then had single Little Egret and Grey Heron but there was relatively little about on what was turning out to be a very warm and sunny day with clear blue skies.  A couple of Mallards took off from cover on the opposite bank and as we started to walk towards the hide a further handful or so were found sheltering under the trees on the same bank.  Similarly, the resident Rock Doves and House Sparrows put in an appearance and the first of many Blackbirds crossed the track.

No shortage of Chiffchaffs and the occasional Goldfinch, the latter usually in pairs or threes, and then we were at the hide.  Looking out over the deserted front area we had the occasional Chiffchaff and a Serin whilst above, save for a passing Black-headed Gull, there were a number of feeding Crag Martins.

Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita

On down to the beach where we found two distinct flocks of gulls resting on the water close to the shore at the end of the track; Black-headed to the west and Mediterranean Gulls to the east.  Looking up the river there were a number of White Wagtails feeding, it appeared, on the floating rubbish along with Moorhens and Coots.  A single female Teal was well-camouflaged as she, too, sought out a meal but, on disturbance, took off along with another seven of the same species.  Further up the river a single Little Grebe was actively diving for food.  A few Spotless Starlings and Rock Doves passed over the area as we made our way back to the car.

Black Redstart Colirrojo Tizon Phoenicurus ochruros

Driving under the bridge we parked again a little upstream where we had a very close view of both a gorgeous male Black Redstart and a female Stonechat.  Plenty of Chiffchaffs, White Wagtails and House Sparrows to be seen until a couple of locals arrived to gather something or other from the short vegetation near the river and all birds disappeared.  A circuitous drive took us further  up stream where the water was shallow and narrow but appeared quite fresh.  A Green Sandpiper took off upstream and a single Hoopoe downstream.  Walking along this section of track we then found a second Green Sandpiper and a small flock of nine Sanderling feeding on the gravel.  A slight movement to the right caught my eye and then the bins revealed a lone Water Pipit working the edge of the stream at a narrow point on the  far side.  Not many birds recorded but we where present for a relatively short time and late in the very warm day.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Sanderling, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.

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