Wednesday 16 March 2016

Axarquia Bird Group visit to the Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Wednesday 16 March

A very short notice for this month's Axarquia Bird Group but, nevertheless, I was pleased to be joined by Bryan Stapley along with David and Anne Jefferson for a three-hour walk and observation at the Rio Velez in Torre del Mar.  Gorgeous sunny weather after the early morning showers everything looking comparatively fresh and birds were certainly found, 41 in total.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus (PHOTO: David Jefferson)

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
It seemed that every bird wanted to be in the tree tops this morning!

Greeted by the resident Rock Doves and the odd Moorhen we soon noticed the Grey Heron and Cormorant sharing the higher branches of the same tree on the opposite bank to get their early morning warmth.  A pair of Mallard disappeared upstream and a Green Sandpiper seemed unable to make up its mind which way to travel.  A Little Egret was feeding near the water and Cetti's Warblers were calling.  Spotless Starlings were moving around and we had the occasional Collared Dove.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Moving off down the track we soon found the first Goldfinches and a Willow Warbler was disturbed as the first of many Blackbirds crossed the overgrown river bed.  Not so many Chifchaffs as might have been expected But we did have a Yellow-legged Gull before reaching the hide.

Serin Serinus serinus

From the hide we had a very good view of a Wryneck that stayed a considerable time along with Goldfinches, Serins and both a Robin and a Crested Lark.  A Little Ringed Plover rapidly departed the water whereas the Cattle Egret seemed glued to its reeded perch for about an hour or more.  Overhead we had Barn and Red-rumped Swallow along with both House and Sand Martins.

A very patient Wryneck Jynx torquuilla
As we walked to the beach we had the first of a handful of Corn Buntings on the meadow and from the beach we observes a good-sized flock of Mediterranean Gulls with a few Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed for company.  Just a few Coots on the river basin plus a pair of Shoveler along with both White and Blue-headed Wagtails.  A trio of very white Sanderlings flew in off the sea to land on the beach and there was always the occasional Cormorant movement.

A gull mix including Mediterranea Larus melanocephalus and Black-headed Larus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Making our way back to the car we finally got clearer views of the active Hoopoes plus House Sparrows and Zitting Cisticola.   A Kestrel was seen hovering above and, finally, a pair of raucus Monk Parakeets flew over just as we had given up, thankfully, all chance of seeing, nevermind hearing, these green incomers during the morning.  Our final bird hear was a Great Tit.

Blue-headed Wagtail (Iberian Yellow Wagtail) Motacilla flava iberiae (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Bryan departed for home via the shopping commitment and I took David and Ann upstream in the car where, in addition to Chiffchaff, White Wagtail and Serin we had an excellent view of a Woodchat Shrike and an unidentified swift flying very high.  What a way to end the morning.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator to end the morning (PHOTO: David Jefferson)

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Green sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swalllow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

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

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