Sunday, 10 February 2019

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Sunday 10 February

The 10 Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba on the Rio Velez
Up early to see of my brother-in-law to the airport,(I collect he and friend and the Friend's host undertook the return journey) so a chance to make an early morning visit to the local Rio Velez in Torre del Mar, arriving just after 8 o'clock.  Thankfully, although dry and coldish, no dog walkers nor "strange men" about so able to concentrate on the birding.  Still lots of water downsteam of the N340 road bridge but also far too much vegetation.  It was also soon very obvious that in addition to there still being many Chiffchaffs and White Wagtails about there were a good number of Blackbirds to be seen.  One wonders whether or not these might be migratory birds working their way back north.

Male Blackbird Mirlo Comun Turdus Merula
No sooner had I seen my first Blackbirds along with the resident Moorhens and Rock Doves plus a couple of passing Collared Doves than I changed my mind and drove up to the open hide (what a disgraceful place this is as it seems to be used as a toilet by humans rather than stray dogs), parked the car and then walked back to the bridge so that the low, rising sun was behind rather than in front of me.  A Cormorant flew over and then I came across a tree roost with more than 60 Cormorants complete with a solitary Grey Heron.

A few of the Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo roost

A Hoopoe was calling to my right and then the first Robin of the morning plus a good number of Chiffchaffs.  There must have been at least a score of Mallards spread out along this stretch of the river plus a trio of Teal.  A Green Sandpiper beat a hasty retreat before I picked up a pair of Stonechat and the first Serin.

Grey Heron Garca Real Adea cinerea in the early morning low sun

Once back at the hide very little extra to be seen apart from a male Blackcap and a few Spotless Starlings and more Chiffchaffs and Blackbirds.  A handful of Serin landed on the fence on the opposite side of the track and a Yellow-legged Gull was seen above.  So off down to the beach which, unfortunately by now, had a handful of dog-walkers with their yappy friends running around.  Really a case of using the scope to see what was resting on the water; a large mixed flock of Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls with a smattering of both Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls.  Returning to the car in readiness to move on I also picked up a Cetti's Warbler, Meadow Pipit and a quartet of Goldfinch.

Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops

The drive under the N340 to take a look up stream from the bridge produced more White Wagtails and Chiffchaff along with, presumably, the earlier Green Sandpiper and another calling Hoopoe.  Then on to the arable fields further up where I found many House Sparrows, a couple of Crested Larks and a flock of about 50 starlings with about a quarter being Northern rather than Spotless starlings.  next up a single Greenfinch followed by a solitory Black Redstart.  Posing on a wire on the other side of the now narrow river was a Little Egret and feeding in the water below a flock of 10 Sanderling.  Two Green Sandpipers now, more Meadow Pipits and then a couple of Grey Wagtail.  A single Cattle Egret flew across and then the, driving away, a kestrel resting on a pylon.

Two Green Sandpipers Andarrios Grande Tringa ochropus

Back to the N340 and across the river to take a clockwise circuit of the arable fields to the west of the Rio Velez but all very quiet.  More White Wagtails, Chiffchaff and House Sparrows and then the very last bird on the three hour visit when I came across a Blue Rock Thrush sitting on top of a ruin just as I approached the Go-kart track next to the N340.


Blue Rock Thrush Roquero Solitario Monticola solitarius
Birds seen:
Mallard, Teal, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Sanderling, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Ceti's Warbler, Blackcap. Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Serin, Goldfinch.

Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba

Common Starling Estornino Pinto Sturnus vulgaris with Spotless Estornino Negro Sturnus unicolor cousins

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