|Collared Pratincole Canastera Comun Glariola pratincola|
April field meeting of the Andalucia Bird Society
With the ABS holding its April meeting down at Tarifa today, it seemed most appropriate to travel down yesterday, meet up with friends Derek and Barbara Etherton and enjoy a full day's birding at La Janda and Barbara followed by an overnight stay at the latter before meting up with 30+ members this morning. Before joining the main group below the cliff slightly east of Tarifa to checkout incoming raptors and small migrants, a very small group of us drive down to the nearby car park to both see and hear the lovely song of the resident Common Bulbul which were accompanied by feeding Common and Pallid Swifts overhead along with both Common and Lesser Kestrels, not to mention the usual Spotless Starlings, House Sparrows, Collared and Rock Doves.
Friday 8 April
White Storks both driving through San Roque and then as I entered La Janda. Driving down the track was like travelling through an avenue of Corn Buntings and Stonechats, many of the latter already with fully grown youngsters. Also recorded on this initial stretch of track down to the canal were Crested Lark, Zitting Cisticola and Sardinian Warbler. A stop to check out a small field pool on the right produced a Little Ringed Plover and a pair of Red-legged Partridges making their way, it appeared, towards the pool. I could hear but not see small numbers of Bee-eaters passing overhead but on reaching the canal and parking up more came across and this time with a few feet of the ploughed field to the left.
|Lots of Corn Buntings Triguero Emberiza calandra to be seen|
|Male Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus with food for youngsters|
Now joined by Barbara and Derek we soon added a first, for me, Purple Heron of the year and a Booted Eagle was seen above. Next up the first Marsh Harrier of the day and, on the track itself, numerous Goldfinches, the occasional Serin and more Crested Larks. In the distance we could see the main pools to the left and a number of Spoonbill, White Storks and many Little Egrets and Black-winged Stilts. Also present up to a score of Glossy Ibis. Jackdaws began to appear on the pylons along with Common Kestrels and the first of very many Woodchat Shrikes.
|First Purple Heron Garza Imperial Ardea purpurea of the year|
|Rat Rata Parda Rattus norvegicus up a tree and, presumably, predating the Cattle Egret nests|
But it is he area immediately beyond the farm that always seems to produce the goods, especially in terms of raptors. The pair of Little Owls were resting on their "usual" rock and then good numbers of Black Kites along with both Common and Lesser Kestrels, a Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle and a few Griffon Vultures. A most handsome male Montagu's Harrier might have been the top choice had we not found the soaring Spanish Imperial Eagle high above us as it gradually drifted away westwards. To add to the selection a lone Raven also moved across the field.
|Male Montagu's Harrier Aguilucho Cenizo Circus pygargus|
|Distant view of the Spanish Imperial Eagle Aguila Imperial Iberica Aquila adalberti|
|The now established Bald Ibis Ibis Ererita Geronticus eremita|
Arriving at the Barbate marismas we immediately had more Corn Buntings, Crested Larks and Blue-headed Wagtails along with the first on many Linnets. A handful of Collared Pratincoles landed close by and even a single Kentish Plover decided that the side of the track would be a good place to take an early evening stroll.
|Kentish Plover Chorlitejo Patinegro Charadrius alexandrinus|
|Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis|
Saturday 9 April
I have already mentioned the Common Bulbul and accompanying birds in Tarifa itself and the coastal area was a little disappointing in terms of migrant raptors. Indeed, just a couple of Short-toed Eagles. We did have Stonechats and a couple of Northern Wheatears along with a Tawny Pipit before moving further along and recording Woodchat Shrike, Linnet, Sardinian Warbler and Goldfinch. Moving to the observation point we picked up a Little Owl and a lone Flamingo through close to the cliff whilst a Gannet headed east further out to sea. Crag Martins around the ruins and a single Whimbrel resting on a rocky islet alongside a pair of Yellow-legged Gulls. Again, the song and sighting of Nightingales was very welcome.
|Female Linnet Pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina above with male below|
|Time to go. Hey, wait for me!|
|Yellow (Blue-headed) Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Motacilla flava iberiae of the Iberian race|
The track alongside he canal produced a couple of Short-toed Eagles and a Marsh Harrier with both Barn and Red-rumped Swallows overhead. Whilst watching a spiralling flock of White Storks we also recorded a pair of very high Peregrine Falcons. Good numbers of both Glossy Ibis and Black-winged Stilts on the flooded field on the left along with the odd Mallard.
|A few of the many Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus to be seen|
|The mighty Griffon Vulture Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus|
|Finally a sighting of the Bee-eaters Abejaruco Europeo Merops apiaster|
|The ever-present Woodchat Shrike Alcaudon Comun Lanius senator|
Mallard, Shoveler, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Gannet, Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Bald Ibis, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House martin, Tawny Pipit, Blue-headed wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Whitethroat, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.
|And so goodbye to the Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis for another year|
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.