Just about to start on my own blog from yesterday when Day 2 of John and jenny Wainwright's Tarifa visit report arrived cyber space. Makes sense to publish this one first so that readers can continue with John's camera less progress.
Tarifa Area Day 2: Saturday 4 August
Another very windy day, wondering whether the boat trip is on or not??
We decided to spend part of the day at the Cazalla viewing point, so after breakfast we headed for the spot. The wind was quite moderate here until we reached the viewpoint, then all hell seemed to let loose. It really was a case of holding onto everything as seats and hats were going everywhere.
Looking out to the sea from here hundreds of Black Kites were circling, some over the sea and some in the valleys to our front. They seemed to be coming in waves of ten to twenty birds. A few were seen to land to our front on the rocks and bushes - for a breather I expect.
The wind direction shifted a tad more to the east and now large numbers of - probably four to five hundred - White Storks appeared. Several Lesser Kestrels flew across our front and small numbers of Linnets braved the winds, but only two or three got over us. Then over the mountain tops to our front right, three Griffon Vultures and even more Black Kites appeared. A Common Kestrel and a Rock Dove were logged here just prior to Frankie Hair´s arrival, who informed us that the boat trip was off, due to the conditions.
We left here after a while, going back to the hotel for a coffee, then headed for Barbate Marshes as the tide would be going out by now.
As we entered the area, through the vast numbers of cars parked here for the beach, Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings were decorating the power lines here. At the first muddy area a juvenile Redshank was logged as were good numbers of Audouin´s Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls. Parking up by the information board, we put up eight Collared Doves that had been feeding amongst the thistles, then a few Little Egrets were noted amongst the gulls. Barn and Red-rumped Swallows were about here as were House Sparrows and a couple of Corn Buntings.
Further down the track a male Sardinian Warbler and a male Stonechat were noted, and scanning the ponds a pair of Little Terns were seen dive-bombing two Yellow-legged Gulls that had landed close to their nest site. They made short shrift of these interlopers before another pair joined in to get the gulls well away from their area.
Moving down the track and as we parked up, four Stone Curlews flew away from the track-side onto one of the islands, while above them two Sandwich Terns flew past and started feeding in one of the other ponds. In the distance eleven Greater Flamingos - mostly juveniles - were logged as was a single Kentish Plover and another Redshank. One of the bat species was seen here feeding over the water, he must have been hungry to feed in this heat!
A Common Kestrel soared passed us and then a big flock of Common Swifts and Pallid Swifts screamed overhead. On an island another pair of Stone Curlews were spotted, while on our return, the four Stone Curlews had increased to five.
Where have all the larks gone? Not a single one, and as the wind was negligible here, that was not the reason!
As we left the area through the farm track, Cattle Egrets and more Spotless Starlings were noted but no Bald Ibis today either.
Many thanks John. With the strong winds and late cancellation of the booked boat trip out of Tarifa lots of disappointment for those who had made the journey and the possibility of not only cetaceans but also sea birds such as Gannet, shearwater, skua and, maybe, even a petrel or two. On the other hand, we can certainly confirm that the return raptor migration has started and, as usual, Black Kites seem to head the queue. Hopefully, all will be in full swing and better weather, wind wise, as many of us travel down at the end of the month
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information