Sunday, 17 March 2019

A Sort of "Cadiz Plus" - Part 1

Friday 15 March

Cadiz: Day 1

Having returned less than eighteen hours previously from a fifteen-day visit to Borneo (more of this later once I have downloaded the photos), I was back on the road leaving mid-morning for the long drive down to far Cadiz province for an overnight stop in Chipiona on the mouth of the mighty Rio Guadalquivir in readiness for the morrow's ABS monthly visit to Bonanza near San Luca.  But which route to take and where to put in some additional birding on the way and so break up the journey?

Just a short detour took me La Janda and what a difference form my last visit.  Water in the canal but the fields were dry and much activity with ploughing and harrowing as the land was being prepared for this year's rice crop.  Most ditches were damp, if not dry, but still the lake half-way down the track and other than this specific site very little bird life to be seen and the total visit, including the drive up and past the "smelly farm" and out at at the far end only produced a total of 24 species.


Driving down the entrance track from the Zahara turn I quickly recorded Spotless Starling, Cormorant, Stonechat, Crested Lark and a few White Storks.  Both a hovering Kestrel and and Goldfinch were added before coming across a one Hoopoe upon reaching the canal.  Driving the track I added Serin, Crested Lark, Little Egret and Jackdaw and then the small "lake" produced 15 Spoonbill along with Snipe, Mallard and Common Sandpiper.

Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia
Barn Swallows were feeding overhead and as I made my way up towards the farm I had a lovely view of a female Hen Harrier.  A trio of cock Pheasants looked most resplendent in the their finest breeding plumage and so down to the small, reeded water at the end of the road.  Here I came across a Great White Egret and a single Purple Swamphen whilst a Marsh Harrier quartered the immediate area and more Cattle Egrets were seen.

Find the Great White Egret Garceta Grande Egretta alba

And that was it.  However, passing near Acuna I came across a quintet of Griffon Vultures before taking the motorway and checked into my hotel in Chipiona at about 5.30.  Once unpacked, I drove up to the fish dock and looked in dismay at the state of the nests under the canopy.  It looked as if every single nest had been destroyed by visiting House Sparrows and all was quiet.  Then, as if from nowhere, a party of about a dozen Little Swifts arrived to visit their appropriate nests and in the next twenty minutes or so I had the great pleasure of recording at least twenty individuals as a few of the local Yellow-legged Gulls wandered around.  A great way to end the day and, looking at the pristine beach, it was well occupied by visitors enjoying the beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies and even people swimming in the sea at a quarter to seven.  And the sunset; wow!

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pheasant, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, White Stork, Spoonbill, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Purple Swamphen, Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Little Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Stonechat, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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