Friday, 19 April 2019

Rio Velez, Torred del Mar

Friday 19 April

Seems a log time since I last ventured out but the promised rain did not arrive, the sun was shining and it looked quite calm outside so I took my way down the local patch at the Rio Velez, just west of Torre del Mar for a late morning walk.  Arriving at my usual paring spot below the N340 road bridge I was not greeted by the usual mallards and Moorhens and, indeed, did not see either for the whole hour that I was on site.  The river looked at its best with lovely green borders and a plentiful supply of mud so was hoping I might pick up a wader or two.

Blackbirds were calling and withing minutes I was watching a plentiful supply of Serin with the males looking very handsome in their best yellow breeding plumage.  A Hoopoe flew across the river and as I checked out the far bank having reached the small group of trees I picked up a lone Ringed Plover.  Checking the spot to try and get a photo I also noticed the nearer Common Sandpiper.  Unfortunately, these were to be the only waders of the morning.

Distant Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula on the other side of the river

Continuing on down towards the hide (why is it that these freely-provided supports for naturalists and walkers are so often vandalised, not just physically but with human excrement?) I had the first of my Iberian Yellow Wagtails on the fence to my left and soon after a Common Whitethroat.  Now that was a surprise, especially as it was in almost the same place as the individual I found about a fortnight ago.  Meanwhile, I saw the Grey Heron take off from the field behind which then, in turn, seemed to disturb the Common Kestrel, the latter landing on a distant pylon where its mate was already resting.

Iberian sub-species of Yellow Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Motacilla flava iberiae

A car passed me and a few minutes later I thought I had another view of the Whitethroat on the fence but not with that striking red tail.  Time to take a good look through my bins even if I was looking towards the sun.  Fortunately, the camera was all set to go so took a couple of record shots whilst I had a little ponder.  What was a Black Redstart, especially a female, doing here enjoying her winter holidays when she should be back up the mountain.  And the colour seemed wrong.  A first Nightingale of the year?  No; not big or brown enough to my mind.  And then the penny dropped with my eyes sticking out on the proverbial stalks.  What about a passing Common Redstart?  Right time of the year although not seen here by me in the past.  Lots of searching in my Collins when back home this afternoon and it certainly seems to just about match the description with the bright sun giving it a much paler look that one might have expected.

Catching the bright sunlight a female Common Redstart Colirrojo Real Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Once at the hide mainly House Sparrows and more Serins to be seen but also a second Hoopoe and another pair were also recorded on may way back to the car.

Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops taken having reached the fence and the bird still present

A pair of Collared Doves flew across and making my way back I was also pleased to see a Woodchat Shrike fly up onto the fence top.  Back at the car and driving away I noticed that the resident Rock Doves were on their favoured resting place below the road bridge.

Serin Verdecillo Serunus serunus

Rather than straight home I took a fifteen minute diversion to check out the fields and river up stream and, reaching the "muck heap", immediately picked up a pair of Crested Larks and White Wagtail.  A Great Tit crossed the track in front of me but nothing else to report save yet another Hoopoe.  As I left the site my first Barn Swallow of the morning and then both Spotless Starling and Monk Parakeet on the journey home.  Not many birds but a very pleasant first visit after being restricted to taking short walks at best form home for the past fortnight or so.  And with that I collected my wife to walk down the beach for a lunch-time meal an immediately came across a male Sardinian Warbler in the nearby flower bed.  Happy days!

First view of the second Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops taken through the fence

Birds seen:
Heron, Kestrel, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Redstart, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Whitethroat, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.

Lots of male Blackbirds Mirlo Comun Turdus merula to be seen

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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