With the Andalucia Bird Society "Boat Trip" out into the Straits from Tarifa tomorrow, John and Jenny Wainwright took themselves off a day early to get in some additional birding before the even. However, as John reports, a touch of "S**'s law" as they discovered that the camera's "on/off" switch was broken so no photos on this occasion. On the other hand, as you read John's report, you may well agree with him that there was very little to photograph in the howling wind!
Tarifa Area: Friday 3 August
Very misty on way down but very windy at Tarifa.
A mixed journey this morning, fine at home then very, very misty at Marbella area, while at Cazalla viewpoint very strong winds. Not a lot at the viewpoint, but just down the hill from Tarifa itself we parked in a gateway and watched at least 400 Black and Red Kites - mostly the former - going over. Lots of Cattle Egrets about here as well as Common and Pallid Swifts, Barn Swallows and House Martins, Spotless Starlings and Rock Doves; the small birds mostly Goldfinches were like rifle bullets going past in the strong winds.
After booking in at the hotel in Tahivilla and after a spot of lunch we continued our quest at La Janda. By now the wind had died down to a veritable breeze compared to earlier, so managing to hold the scope was a trifle easier. As we looked out over the barren ploughed fields here, not a lot was seen, until we reached the main track running parallel to the irrigation canal. Hundreds of Glossy Ibis were in a constant flux, along with their counterparts, namely Cattle and Little Egrets. White Storks were logged here also, as well as a few Green Sandpipers, Black-winged Stilts, Grey Herons and a Kentish Plover.
Further along we noted a single Lesser Kestrel on a pylon arm, while below this were three Gull-billed Terns. Zitting Cisticolas were in good numbers as were House Sparrows and Stonechats. We turned right over the bridge towards the dam and as usual on this track were the Cattle and Little Egrets that had had a very successful breeding season noting the number of juveniles in the nesting areas. At the next bridge we scanned for the Spanish Imperial Eagle but no sightings today, although a tad further along we did have two Short-toed Eagles (this is where I found out that the on/off switch had broken on my camera) and several more Black Kites. As we passed through the farmyard area Jackdaws, a Common Kestrel, Crested Larks and Collared Doves were added to the list and another seven Black Kites were disturbed out of the trees as we progressed along the track, as was a Woodchat Shrike. The flooded area at the junction of the tracks held Common Coots, Mallard, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilts and Green Sandpiper, while in the distance Griffon Vultures circled. As we started to move off a Black Kite rose out of a stubble field and at about 20foot off the ground it dropped something from its talons into the edge of a stream, it was a rabbit with myxomatosis, the Black Kite circled and came into retrieve its prey, but was itself attacked by several Black-winged Stilts.
By now it is really getting unbearably hot so we headed for Tahivilla and the local bar.
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