Zapata and the mountain trail above El Burgo. Sounds like a trip into bandit country - and once would have been! Up very early to meet up with Barbara and Derek Etherton plus Micky Smith to be down at Zapata before daybreak to have a reasonable chance of seeing the newly-returned Red-necked Nightjars. However, it was the very many Nightingales that we heard first on arrival and after the briefest glimpse of a Red-necked Nightjar then a few circuits did eventually bring us to a stop where we could hear a very close individual. No sooner heard than the bird flew up in front of the car and disappeared into the darkness. Wonderful!
With light breaking and a walk towards the river we could make out Black-winged Stilts and overhead the remarkable sight of a White Stork which then landed to rest in the water itself. On the far bank Moorhens, Mallards and Little Ringed Plovers whilst, overhead incoming Night Herons and Cattle Egrets. With the improving light we then had our first raptor as an Osprey passed overhead making its way upstream Around us Greenfinch and Serins along with Blackbirds and Collared Doves. The first Barn Swallows put in an appearance and the riverside revealed both Common and Green Sandpipers. A pair of Gadwall appeared out of nowhere on the water.
Around us we continued to listen to the numerous Nightingales and then a Cetti's Warbler joined in the morning chorus. Yellow-legged Gulls, Jackdaws, Common Swift and Red-rumped Swallows were added to the overhead birds as we moved on down to the reed-bed. Here we added Reed Warbler, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler and Blackcap along with a Zitting Cisticola and a pair of Grey Heron.
|Record shot of Short-toed Treecreeper Agateador Comun Certhia brachydactyla|
One of the delights was to also find a rising Sky Lark and then a Sparrowhawk circling high over the trees followed by a passing flock of about fifty Bee-eaters. Close by we also encountered Stonechat, Thekla lark and Linnet. Eating our picnic lunches and looking towards the steep cliffs we were able to add Chough and Crag Martin along with a few soaring Griffon Vultures. Not so much the Blue Rock Thrush that Derek found with the scope but the sudden sound of what sounded like some form of car or electrical alarm. Not our mobiles and the proverbial penny dropped as first Micky, then Derek and I realised that we listening to a calling Scops Owl, a real revelation. And so on to the end of the track picking up a trio of Alpine Swifts above their breeding cave and both Woodchat Shrike and Woodpigeon along the track itself. A final raptor on the mountain was a high Bonelli's Eagle.
|Distant record shot of Wood Lark Alondra Totovia Lullula arborea|
Gadwall, Mallard, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Osprey, Bonelli's Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Scops Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Wood Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Woodchat Shrike, Jay, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting.
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