Monday, 1 March 2021

Fuente de Piedra and Laguna Dulce

 Sunday 28 February

A pleasant Sunday morning so not surprising all the day-trippers and picnickers were out.  Fortunately, I arrived at Fuente de Piedra before the masses so had chance to cross the boardwalk before the masses arrived.

Approaching the reserve there were scores of House Martins and a single White Stork sat on its nest atop the tall chimney.  Pausing a the flooded field t my left I was immediately aware of the large number of Black-headed Gulls along with a handful of both Shoveler and Flamingo.  On the back at the far end a lone Raven whilst more House Martins and Barn Swallows were feeding above the water.

Jackdaw Grajilla Corvus monedula heading the sign post to offer suggested routes!

Greater Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus

Then it was park the car and walk across to the boardwalk noting Goldfinches in the olive trees along with both House and Spanish Sparrows in the amongst the red berries further on.  A White Wagtail was on the track to my left along with a resting Black Redstart as a Moorhen rushed for cover in the nearby stream and on the water to the left of the boardwalk just a single Coot.  Once on the other side of the boardwalk and a stop at the bend to take the track towards the road I was able to set up the scope and scan the area with both it and my bins.  Lots of Jackdaws at the brick nesting house and off towards the main lagoon I found three Stone Curlew resting between the ground cover.  A distant pair of Mallard and as I returned towards the boardwalk more jackdaw ahead of me and on the open field to my left a huge flock of Feral Pigeons.

Stone Curlew Alcaravan Comun Burhinus oedicnemus

So round to the laguenta behind the Visitors Centre taking the path alongside the scrape.  Nothing to be seen until I reached the pool beyond the scrape where there was a tight group of over two dozen Black-winged Stilts. A Crested Lark put in an appearance and stopping at the viewing point by the large tree I could see not only hundreds of gulls on the main laguna but also a number of Flamingos and to my extreme right both Shelduck and Gadwall.

Black-winged Stilts Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus keeping an eye on the "big" bird 

Once at the small laguentas at the back the main pool held many Black-headed Gulls plus Shoveler and a couple of Mallard.  Just the two Little Grebe and a handful of Common Pochard hiding in the reeds to the back.  A few Spotless Starlings were moving about above the buildings on the far side and then off to the smaller pool where where I found a pair of resting Red-crested Pochards.

Resting male Red-crested Pochard Pato Colorado Netta rufina

Time to move on with a first stop at the Vicaria Hide. Here the excitement was not so much the Stonechat nor White Wagtail but the small group of Dunlin feeding on the distant shore. The Cantarannas Hide seemed devoid of all bird life with no water on the land until I saw the male Marsh Harrier quartering the field below.  Not having seen any Cranes I decided I might have to take a chance and travel to the Laguna Dulce by crossing the farm tracks and hope for solid ground below the wheels but just as I reached the turn I looked up to see a flock of eleven Cranes approaching on their way to the laguna behind me.  Not only a lovely and welcome sight but now no need to gamble on passable tracks as I was able to take the road.  As a result of the latter, a Serin crossed the road in front of me followed by a Chaffinch and then a Collared Dove at the farm as I met the main road for the final part of the journey.

Arriving at Laguna Dulce the picnickers had already started to arrive so straight to the , now, damaged hide desperately in need of some repairs to both roof and interior.  The water was white with the hundreds, if not thousands of Black-headed Gulls along with a much smaller number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Once looking away from the gulls I was able to find a small number of Flamingo and and on the far side of the water to my left the main Coot flock, much reduced form the massed numbers of December.  Over to my left apart from Mallards and Common Pochard a few gadwall and Shoveler whilst searching the central area produced a couple of Little and three Black-necked Grebes along with a pair of White-headed Ducks.

Flamingos, Red-crested Pochards and Black-headed Gulls Gaviota Reidora Larus ridibundus

Then at the back of the water to my right I found what was left of the Crane flock, totalling about forty individuals and, on the water in front of then, eight Red-crested Pochards.  With more and more families arriving at the site I decided to take a drive round to the back of the laguna, passing both Chaffinch and House Sparrows on the way. Another huge flock of feeding Feral Pigeons and the a Stonechat before arriving at the ruined farm where I turned to make my way back.  A Corn Bunting was sitting in a tree and passing the far end of the water I stopped to check on the Shelduck and recorded a Lapwing.

The Common Crane Grulla Comun Grus grus flock

Time to make my way home for a late lunch but decided to go via Malaga rather than Antequera so that I could make a five-minute stop at Teba's Pennarrubia view point to check out the cliff face and, sure enough, drifting across the top on thermals I counted a total of twelve Griffon Vultures to complete the morning's birding.

Griffon Vulture Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, White Stork, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Griffon Vulture, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Stone Curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting. 

More Flamingoes:

A sleepy pair with Shoveler Cuchara Comun Anas clypeatato the front

Is this an aid for drowning spiders to escape the water!!!!!

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Friday, 26 February 2021

Rio Algarrobo

 Friday 26 February

After all the excitement of Wednesday's visit it was rather quiet to be back at my local Rio Algarrobo walk this morning.  Lovely sunny weather promising to get warmer during the day and out earlier enough to avoid just about all the dog walkers and those who use the riverside track for their exercise.  Collared Doves immediately and passing overhead a dozen Spotless Starlings but within two minutes I was being deafened by the arrival of the creaming, squawking Monk Parakeets who seem to take great delight on descending to the nearest tree to me to continue their raucus behaviour.

After that introduction all relatively quiet as I made my way upstream first recording a number of Blackbirds and a lone Wood Pigeon at the top of the large, bare tree opposite the start of the barbecue area.  Next a single Serin which led me to see my first Black Redstart of the day.  Whereas I was to see good numbers of the former, there seemed to be fewer Black Redstarts than of previous visits.  Goldfinches began to put in an appearance and I eventually recorded a single White Wagtail.

Female Black Redstart Clirrojo Tizon Phoenicurus ochruros

Approaching the football field I had my regular resident House Sparrows and a brief sighting of a rapidly disappearing Meadow Pipit.  Also, unlike previous visits, plenty of Greenfinches recorded this morning as I walked the main path.

Nothing else to record until beyond the motorway where I found a couple of White Wagtail in the grassy area next to the Experimental Station entrance but not a single Common Starling and only a couple of distant Spotless Starlings.  Not just a handful of Lesser Black-backed and Mediterranean Gulls above the hidden reservoir but also a single Barn Swallow.

So on to the "garden" at the end where I found more Serins but little else.  Crossing the ford I could hear a distant Hoopoe and eventually found a couple of Chiffchaff foraging near the water's edge to my right upstream.  And many more Blackbirds.

Serin Verdicello Serinus serinus

So to the return journey with the surprising sighting of a Green Sandpiper feeding in the river once south of the motorway underpass.  Then it was on past the sewage works with just the one Cattle Egret on show and as I crossed the weir back to the main track both another Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap in the bushes next to the river.  

Green Sandpiper Andarrios Grande Tringa ochropus

Finally back to the barbecue are recording more Goldfinches and Greenfinches and the old bare tree now held two Wood Pigeon along with a, difficult to identify, Meadow Pipit in an advanced sate of moult.

The moulting Meadow Pipit Bisbate Pratense Anthus pratensis

Birds seen:

Cattle Egret, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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Thursday, 25 February 2021

Zapata and the Rio Grande

 Wednesday 24 February

A most enjoyable morning's birding with friends Derek and Barbara Etherton and Micky Smith. Meeting up near the arches at Zapata at 8.30 it was to be a cold, dull and very windy morning unlike yesterday which had been gloriously sunny, warm and wonderful.  Notwithstanding, some lovely birds were seen at both sites and, indeed, for me ten new species for the year which, in itself, is not so surprising given the recent long period of municipality lockdown preventing visits to some of my favourite birding sites.

No shortage of either Collared or Rock Doves plus the resident House Sparrows on arrival in the village along with the passing Spotless Starlings and overflying Lesser black-backed Gulls.  No sooner had we set off and we were soon recording White Wagtails and very many Goldfinch and Serin. Approaching the ford over the river the first Black Redstart was noted and, upon arrival, a Green Sandpiper on the far bank quickly followed by the sighting of a Common Sandpiper.  No shortage of calling Cetti's Warblers before adding both Mallard and Moorhen before a Cormorant took off from slightly upstream.  Above us a good number of feeding House Martins as we then moved off towards the track to the reedbed.

The security fence seemed to be full of Serin before finding a single Corn Bunting.  A couple of Zitting Cisticola were noted along with the first Blackbird.  On the far side working our way back adjacent to the airport's perimeter fence we soon added both Stonechat and Sardinian Warbler and more Chiffchaffs.  Luckily, Derek was the only one to get his eyes on the handsome male Reed Bunting but then we found a couple of Penduline Tits and, whilst watching their feeding, were distracted by the departure of a pair of Bluethroat.  A pair of Great Tit were feeding above the Penduline Tits.  Meanwhile, a Raven leisurely wandered away over the airfield and upon returning to the opposite of the reedbed we passed the feeding flock of about thirty Cattle Egrets busy feeding alongside (and on!) the sheep flock.  Alongside the Cattle Egrets were numerous feeding White Wagtails and almost at ground level a good-sized flock of Barn swallows.

Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubucus ibis

Both Kestrel and Crested Lark were observed as we made our way back to the river where upon we were rewarded by the site of a single Grey Wagtail on the opposite bank a lone Little Ringed Plover made a hasty departure upstream.

Grey Wagtail Lavandera Cascadena Motacilla cinerea on the Guadalhorce at Zapata

Time for a well-earned coffee break just outside Zapata and then on inland up to the the confluence of the rivers Guadalhorce and Rio Grande.  Straight along the path through the woods to the actual confluence passing both Jay and Chaffinches on the way.  A lazy Buzzard was using the thermals and then a Booted Eagle before many more Goldfinches and Serins plus a couple of Blackbird.  A few White Wagtails and once at the water's edge we were able to watch the many feeding House Martins along with fewer Barn Swallows but also a couple of Red-rumped Swallows and the occasional Sand Martin.  Upstream, a lone Cattle Egret rested on the back of a grazing pony.

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus

Back to the car to drive upstream, noting a passing Wood Pigeon, along the riverside track we recorded a couple of Black-winged Stilts, a small number of Mallard and a Green Sandpiper.  Now we had even more hirundines, especially Barn Swallows and House Martins, before finding a couple of Little Egret.  But time stood still as I looked across the river and saw a female Yellow Wagtail of the UK Motacilla flava flavissima sub-species working a tiny grass island.  As we sought out the bird again a couple of the newly-arrived Iberian Blue-headed Yellow Wagtails of the M. flava iberiae sub-species.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia

Departing the site we took the inland circuit back towards the Malaga motorway recording another Kestrel and Raven along with a quartet of Hoopoe.  Also noted were more Blackbirds and Chiffchaffs plus a couple of Greenfinch and many, many more Goldfinches.  All in all a most enjoyable and successful double visit with a final tally of species approaching the 50 mark.

Birds seen:

Mallard, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Penduline Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting. 

Is this more of a Sheep rather than Cattle Egret?

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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Guadalhorce, Malaga

 Monday 22 February

Weather all cleared up after yesterday's dull, wet day to give lovely warm sunshine and clear blue skies.   So after a relaxing day I drove over to the Desembocadura de Guadalhorce reserve in Malaga in the hope that an evening visit might produced the visiting Short-eared Owls and even, maybe, a Barn Owl.  Arriving at 4.15 I was greeted by a handful of House Sparrows before setting off to explore the eastern arm of the river before returning to the western arm in search of the owls.

A Little Egret in the river and a couple of Rock Doves under the motorway bridge before carrying on to the Laguna Casillas.  Here I found a large group of Pochard and three Mallard along with a couple of Black-winged Stilts and Coot.  A Chiffchaff was foraging in the nearby tree and in the distance I could see a handful of Spotless Starlings.

Moving on to the Wader Pool I was greeted by a score of Black-winged Stilts along with single Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank.  To me left both a Common and Green Sandpiper were working the shore and towards the back of the water a half-dozen Little Grebe.  Also lovely to see the first Crested Lark and a male Stonechat.

Common Sandpiper Andarrios Chico Actitis hypoleucos

Moving on towards the beach I immediately had a brief view of a departing Kestrel to my right followed by a number of Goldfinches and a few Greenfinch. I slight fall in the water level in the Rio Viejo (Old River) revealed the top of the larger island and this held almost a score of Mediterranean Gulls along with ten Sanderling.  A regular passage of Cormorants to and from the reserve as I continued on and noted the only bird in the eastern arm was a solitary Little Egret.  From the Sea Watch the sea was calm and equally devoid of bird life save for a couple of wandering Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

No shortage of Shoveler Cuchara Comun Anas clypeata

Back by the same route and then on to the Laguna Escondida which proved very productive. My attention was immediately drawn to the very large number of Shoveler which seemed to have taken over this water so room for only the odd Coot and Little Grebe.   However, given time, I also found a single Moorhen as a couple of Jackdaw flew over.  A White Wagtail made a brief appearance and there was lots of Chiffchaff activity.  Above the water a small number of Barn Swallows and also a pair of House Martins.  Carefully checking the reeds to my immediate left I was rewarded by a single Penduline Tit followed by a couple of Stonechat and then the appearance of the only Black Redstart of the visit.  The passing of a handful of screaming Monk Parakeets was my cue to move on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.

Roosting Cattle Egrets and Cormorants Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo

There were so many people about the area that I was, perhaps, not surprised to find "no room at the inn" when I arrived at the hide.  However, most were "passing trade" so soon able to settle down and appreciate the large number of Cormorants along with a couple of Heron.  Already the Cattle Egrets were starting to arrive for the evening roost and by the time I departed the total had exceeded 150 individuals.  In addition, I found a couple of juvenile Flamingo along with the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls on this and the neighbouring waters.  Additionally, also a very small number of both Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls.

Mainly Cattle Egrets Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis

Cormorant numbers had now reached in excess of 60 individuals so time to take a closer look at the nearby waders which included  Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper. Searching the back of the water I found ten Black-necked Grebes along with three White-headed Duck

Distant White-headed Duck (left rear) and three Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis

There must, in total, spread along the whole of the back been at least twenty Shelduck and then a distant Redshank.  In the past I have never seen more than a handful of Jackdaws on visits to the Guadalhorce but on this occasion they seemed to be forever arriving and eventually, above the roosting Cormorants and Cattle Egrets, I counted 27 individuals.

Jackdaws Grajilla Corvus monedula  roosting above the Cormorants

No sign of one of the resident Barn Owls but a very distant record shot of the suspected nesting site produced a shadowy image.  But was it or was it not a Barn Owl getting ready for its hunting night on the reserve?

Short-eared Owl Buho Campestre Asio flammeus

Time to move on with the light rapidly receding and a study of the meadow produced two distant views of quartering Short-toed Owls.  Too far away for a decent photograph and a walk back towards the exit gave me chance to get closer viewing and with dusk rapidly encroaching a late Blackbird flew past to provide the last species of the visit.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Grebe, Heron, Flamingo, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Monk Parakeet, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Penduline Tit, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Rio Algarrobo

 Sunday 21 February

A dull, clam day with the promise of rain arriving by 11 o out of the house just after 9 o'clock. As soon as I entered the start of the river walk a couple of Blackbirds and Serins before seeing the first Monk Parakeets and Collared Doves.

As I walked through the open tress and on towards the barbecue area very many Serin and Goldfinch along  with a good supply of Spotless Starlings.  On the path regular sightings of White Wagtails and even more Black Redstarts than on my last visit.  Just the one Chiffchaff seen but at least a half-dozen Greenfinches between here and the sports hall.

Male Black Redstart Colirrojo Real Phoenicurus ochruros

Meanwhile, a regular passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls overhead and then, towards the end of the path, the resident House Sparrows plus the first Stonechat of the morning.  Under the motorway and nothing in the filed next to the entrance to the Experimental Station other than a couple of White Wagtails and a few Collared Doves at the back.  However, the large, bare trees opposite held a score of starlings including nine Common rather than the resident Spotless Starlings.

Common Starling Estornino Pinto Sturnus vulgaris

Moving on down alongside the hidden reservoir a couple of Hoopoes took off to my left and a pair of Blackcap were recorded in the shrubs on the reservoir bank.  Above the reservoir a handful of Crag Martins were recorded along with the occasional Mediterranean Gull.  Approaching the top ford a Green Sandpiper was observed along with many more Blackbirds and Serins and then time to start the return journey.

Serin Verdicillo Serinus serinus

Once back at the Experimental Station far more Crag Martins and Mediterranean Gulls as the weather clouded over along with a Sardinian Warbler before continuing in towards the road ford.  At this point I encountered David and Julia bailey, British birders now living close by on the coast near the boundary with Caleta.  Most interesting conversation as they had spent many years in Panama so every encouragement for a future visit once we can finally resume "normal" travel.  At the same time we were also able to observe both Serin and a couple of Meadow Pipit.  Goodbyes completed I carried n past the sewage works finding just three Cattle Egrets on this occasion before arriving back at my favourite old, bare tree where, along with more Spotless Starlings, a couple of Wood Pigeon had arrived since my outward journey.

Wood Pigeon Paloma Torcaz Columba palumbus

Birds seen:

Cattle Egret, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Monk Parakeet Cotorra Argentina Myiopsitta monachus

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Friday, 19 February 2021

Rio Velez- Just for a change!

 Friday 19 February

Busy, busy morning having to sort appointment for car service followed by ITV, collect shopping for jenny and also make doctor's appointment for removing stitches from Jenny's arm following last Friday's operation.  What better way to tart the than pay a quick visit to the Rio Velez, just west of Torre del Mar, on the off-chance of some different birds to those seen so far this month.

Approaching the chimney factory to park slightly upstream form the old road bridge over the N340, I passed a flock of at least twenty Serin and then nothing until beyond the main road bridge where I picked up a couple of Rock Doves. A single Black Redstart and a male Blackbird as I made my way down the tack with a distant Hoopoe calling.  The tall trees on the western side of the rived held only four Cormorants before arriving at the now well desecrated hide, which is still a disgrace and eye-sore to all who stop here.

Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocoax carbo

With just a single, visiting Crested Lark to the grass below the hide I was beginning to think this could well be a wasted morning as I continued on towards the beach.  On the right, though, first a Goldfinch followed by a Stonechat and then able to pick up the half-dozen Moorhen which had left the river to graze on the grass edges.

Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata

However, once on the beach  probably approaching an hundred Lesser Black-backed Gulls resting just off shore along with a much smaller number of Black-headed Gulls.  Looking up the river there were a couple of Coot and then I picked up a trio of Mallard along with a pair of Shoveler.  A Purple Swamphen edged out of the rees to my left upstream and remained long enough to get a couple of photos.  At least two very voluble Cetti's Warbler and every time a handful of Mediterranean Gulls landed on the river they were away almost as soon as their belies hit the water. But, crossing to the far side to walk back towards the road I climbed the bank to take a closer look at the ploughed filed on my left and found the main resting flock of these delightful gulls in a range of moult.

Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio

Following the narrow path alongside the reed bed at least a further two calling Cetti's Warblers and then a couple of Serin on the post in front of me.  A Greenfinch then flew in and disturbed the pair of Chiffchaff feeding below. It was whilst observing the Collared Dove and Blackbird in the large bare tree in front of me that I picked up the departing Blackcap and moving to follow its flight I was fortunate enough to see the low flying Marsh Harrier making its way , very low and presumably looking for its next meal, as it moved upstream but never to be seen again.

Mediterranean Gulls Gaviota Cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus in a range of moults

Back at the road bridge having walked up the dry river bed I cam across more Rock Doves and the first House Sparrows of the morning.  Once in the car I drove a little further on upstream to take a look at the growing fields and as I approached was rewarded with the resting Kestrel on the wire in front of me.  More Serins and then a turn down to the "muck heap" where I found just a few House Sparrows along with a couple more Crested Larks in the neighbouring field.  However, looking more closely at the sparrows I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of Tree Sparrow in the small dead tree at the back of the manure.

So on to the end of the track and the river bed where looking down I found not only a further four Mallard but also a pair of Gadwall, another unexpected surprise for the morning.  Time to make my way back and as I re-joined the main exit track I looked ahead to record the thirty plus Spotless Starlings on the wires at the back of the ploughed field and also, behind them, the lone Heron making its way towards the mouth of the river.  No sooner seen than I noticed the first of three Barn Swallows feeding slightly above the field.  Continuing on, I stopped to see the lone Stonechat resting on a stick half-way up the slope of the hill with a Hoopoe in the small, dead tree in front and was then distracted by the arrival of a flock of about twenty Meadow Pipits.  So, far from a potentially wasted morning I ended up with 32 species and not a Monk Parakeet in sight.

Gadwall Anade Friso Anas strepera

Birds seen:

Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Cormorant, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

A very shy Greenfinch Verderon Comun Carduelis chloris

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Friday, 12 February 2021

Green Sandpiper back at the Rio

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

 Friday 12 February

As a result of having to present jenny at the local hospital before 7 this morning for a minor operation on her lower arm, I was able to start my Rio Algarrobo walk by 8 o'clock.  Light not too good as the sun still below trees and houses giving a gloomy aspect but very early sightings of both Goldfinch and Serin whilst at the start of the walk in the play area.  Also present the local Collared Doves and the  the screaming Monk Parakeets seemed to time their arrival to coincide with mine.

Entering the more open tree area I soon added a White Wagtail along with Blackbird (I was to see a further thirteen by the time I got back to the start), Greenfinch and Blackcap as well as many more Goldfinches.  The large bare tree held ten Wood Pigeon and I watched with a smile on my face as the lone Kestrel flew over in front of me.  Then, looking over the wall to the river below I disturbed the Green Sandpiper which fled rapidly upstream with a mass showing of white as is their want, not to be seen again this morning.

A few of this morning's 53 Common Starlings Sturnus vulgaris

In the sports ha area I observed my first Black Redstart and a number of House Sparrows followed by a posing male Stonechat.  All seemed very quite as I passed under the motorway with just a handful of Spotless Starlings resting on the nearby pylons.  However, the usual bare trees at the back of the grassy area next to the Experimental Station entrance held no less then 53 Common Starlings.  Very little activity over the hidden reservoir as, presumably, the roosting gulls like to enjoy a bit of a lie-in before heading off to the sea to feed.  Maybe no more than two dozen or so Lesser Black-backed and as few as a half-dozen Mediterranean Gulls.  The garden are produced a few Chiffchaff and more Serin and still the Blackbirds appeared with regularity.

Male Serin Serinus serinus

Now able to jump the river near the ford but nothing of note to add so started the return walk.  A distant Hoopoe was heard and then, passing below the motorway, I noted the large flock of about 60 Spotless Starlings gathering around the pylons downstream.  More Stonechats and Black Redstarts and approaching the road ford once again I found a trio of Meadow Pipits in the same area as yesterday.  All that now remained was to cross the fast-flowing river at the road ford and confirm that there were four Cattle Egrets at the sewage works to add to the pair I had seen on the wires at the back of the reservoir.

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis

Birds seen:

Cattle Egret, Kestrel, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-baked Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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