Thursday, 6 May 2021

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Thursday 6 May

Up very early and straight to the Desembocaduro de Guadalhorce by 7.30 where I stayed for two and a half hours which enabled me to leave before the temperature got too hot.. A beautiful clear day but the low cloud and shade not doing justice to some of the earlier birds. Plenty of water in the ponds but most of the birds seem to have departed with no Flamingos, only a couple of Shelduck and few gulls, etc.  However, what was seen was very special and, for me, four new sightings for the year.

Welcomed by a couple of Blackbirds and walking towards the footbridge the Nightingales were singing away and the first House Martins were up in the sky.  As I crossed the footbridge I stopped to watch a lone Squacco Heron circle like a plane coming in to land and once alighted on a branch slightly down river I had the opportunity to take a photograph, albeit the bird was in the shade as well as poor light.  Continuing on I soon added both Goldfinch and Sardinianian Warbler then a Zitting Cisticola as I approached the first hide.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

Laguna Casillas was rather quiet with a Moorhen in front of me and six Pochards on the water.  A  Mallard made its way towards the next pool and a Crested Lark took its leave from below the hide.  Eventually a couple of Black-winged Stilts dropped in and a single Little Grebe was noted at the far end.  Above and around me lots of feeding House Martins, the occasional Barn Swallow and calling Reed Warblers.

Serin and House Sparrow plus Monk Parakeets as I made my way to the Wader Pool where there were many more Black-winged Stilts but not as many as my previous visit.  Lovely to see a quintet of Avocet and a single Redshank.  And certainly no mistaking the Cetti's Warbler as it announced its presence.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta

As you might expect it was the Rio Viejo (Old River) that once again produced the goods.  Far fewer birds on the water now and mainly Black-winged Stilt along with a dozen Slender-billed Gulls.  The water also held the only, two, Shelduck seen during the morning.  On the edges a small number of waders including Ringed, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover plus a Sanderling, Little Stint and another Redshank but also two Dunlin.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Moving on to the Swea Watch a couple of Hoopoes crossed the track in front of me followed by Greenfinch and once on site it was necessary to use the scope to find the many distant Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  However, whilst scoping westwards at he far end of the beach, and no pedestrians yet, a single Oystercatcher was foraging at the water's edge.  A rather lovely, if distant, sight.

Redshank Tringa totanus

Working my way back I stopped again to check a dark corner of the Rio Viejo and eventually found the lone Grey Plover resting in the corner next to a Dunlin, Redshank and Black-winged Stilt.  Fortunately, I took a few shots experimenting with the light compensator.  Good job as when cropping to find a better shot of the Grey Plover I discovered the Knot!

Grey Plover Pluvialus squatarola (top centre)

Approaching the Laguna Escondida a Wood Pigeon flew across and once in the hide, initially, just the single Coot and a lone Little Egret on the left side.  However, in addition to a couple of Pochard there were eventually four Coots and five male White-headed Ducks paying special attention to the single female.  About to leave when the flock of Common Swifts arrived and on a concrete "box" in the distant meadow a Red-legged Partridge stood on the top surveying the surroundings.

Mainly Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis

Finally the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.  As I approached the local wardens were completing the grass cutting in front of the hide and I am sure that the noise must have kept most wildlife as far away as possible.  But all was finished within about ten minutes.  Still plenty of Black-winged Stilts to be seen and now with fledged chicks looking like wandering balls of fluff.  At least another six Avocet and a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls.  About a half-dozen Slender-billed Gulls arrived and on a small island away to my left a couple of Black-headed and a single Mediterranrean Gull were resting with the dozen Sandwich Terns.  Ere long I added Collard Dove, Spotless Starling and a male Kestrel before taking leave of the site.  And as I crossed the footbridge still plenty of House Martins and the occasional Barn Swallow but also two Red-rumped Swallows and a couple of the resident Rock Doves.  A most interesting and satisfying morning which produced exactly 50 species

Fledgling Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Birds seen: 

Shelduck, Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Redshank, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Knot Calidris canutus (left) with Dunlin, Redshank and Black-winged Stilt but also showing Grey Plover at very top

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

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 5 May

Great day's birding for the Arboleas Birding Group even if the weather was somewhat dubious. Lovely to note the Oystercatcher but it would appear that the Reef Egret reported and photographed yesterday was not putting in an appearance for the gathered members of this friendly and lovely birding group.  Getting quite melancholic about when next I might visit this beautiful area of Spain, nevermind Andalucia, and especially disappointed to learn that the local hotel I use is no longer offering single rooms; pay the full price and enjoy the spare bed!


Cabo de Gata   -   Wednesday 5th May

Today's weather was supposed to be hot and sunny.  Well, they lied especially early on!  Our destination was Cabo de Gata.  I picked up Juda from Los Gallardos and headed south on the A7/E15.  South of Sorbas we hit an extended bank of fog which lasted for about 30kms.  It cleared but it was still overcast. Coming off the motorway at Jct 467 our first bird was a Magpie.  Travelling through Retamar Sur towards the reserve we saw the usual suspects.  Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Barn and Red-rumped Swallow and Common Swift.  As we approached the first hide a Hoopoe flew across the road in front of us with a beak full of food. 

We parked up and began to birdwatch in earnest.  Our first delight was a flight of eight Gull-billed Terns flying over.  A further three were on the rocky causeway.  Also sat there were some Mallard.  In the water were Greater Flamingo, Avocet, Slender-billed Gulls, Black-winged Stilts, a few Black-tailed Godwits and a number of Little Egrets.  I found a Kentish Plover on the far side and an Iberian Yellow Wagtail perched on top of a shore line shrub.  There was an Iberian Grey Shrike on the power lines behind us.  Also seen were Yellow-legged Gull and House Martin.  We were then joined by Kevin, John, Trevor, Peter and Adrian. John and Trevor had seen Kestrel and Jackdaw en route.  Kevin then did a scan and added Spoonbill, Ringed Plover and Shelduck, all of which were obviously hidden from me in full view when I did my initial scan!

Resting Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia and Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

After a coffee stop we went to the second hide.  Out to sea, John found a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Our only additions to the list from there was some Little Terns and a Cattle Egret which I discovered on the photo I took of some more Spoonbill on the island with a Yellow-legged Gull.

As we stopped next to the road to go to the middle hide a Raven flew by.  I spotted a shearwater far out to sea. All I can say it was the size of a Balearic Shearwater.   From the hide we saw two Oystercatchers, a Dunlin in breeding plumage and a Sanderling which John found.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Moving to the public hide, we were met by a pair of Greenfinch on the power line.  I saw there were numerous Shelduck to the right. Kevin and John also saw an Audouin's Gull there.  From the hide we also had Shelduck plus Ringed and Kentish Plover.  There were about 6 Little Stints there as well.  Juda found a medium sized wader.  It was bigger than the passing Plovers but not as big as a Knot. Thin,  slightly curving down bill and dark legs.  Checking my Collins, the nearest contestant was a young Curlew Sandpiper.  Definitely too big for a Broad-billed Sandpiper, two of which were seen at Roquetas yesterday.  Kevin said his goodbyes.

We left by the church track, seeing only a Thekla Lark.  At the church an army small coach was stuck in the soft sand.  I tried without success to pull it out with my truck.  They were grateful anyway.
Having decided to miss out on the Rambla Morales after someone got stuck in the sand there last time we had a trip up to the lighthouse.  I lead the convoy.  John and Trevor were thrilled to see a Trumpeter Finch pass behind my truck....double drat!  We only saw Yellow-legged Gull and Spotless Starling at the lighthouse.  We retreated to Cabo village for lunch.  By this time the sun had actually broken through the clouds.

In addition to the Bee-eater Juda and I saw on our way back to the motorway, we ended up with 41 species.  A so so day, but enjoyable all the same. Great company!
Regards, Dave


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

Granada Birding

You know what this is! 

Tuesday 4 May

After Monday's torrential afternoon rain it was lovely to set out early for Huetor Tajar in beautiful sunshine with many circling Pallid Swifts, Barn Swallows, Blackbirds, Spotless Starlings and Collared Doves even before I reached the motorway not three minutes away.  But then it all turned pear shape.  Not so much the few minutes stop at Ventas de Zafarraya to pick up Crag Martin, Black Wheatear and Black Redstart before carrying on through the village with its House Sparrows and Martins but the low mist followed by dense fog that was to accompany me most of the way to Salar where I joined the A92 motorway.  However, making my way through the arable fields beyond the "Magpie Woods" I soon recorded Serin, Crested Lark and Corn Bunting with the Little Owl resting, cloud bound, on its usual roosting rock.  Approaching the top of the old road up the hill beyond a Red-legged Partridge took flight to me left and a few local Chaffinches note near the top.  From then on for the next 15 km it was a cast of bright sunshine followed by almost no visibility every kilometre or so.

Once across the ford at the Huetor Tajar fields no sooner had I got out of the car than a Whitethroat in the bush not five metres away and both Reed and Cetti's Warbler calling from the riverside. Wandering Blackbirds followed by Sardinian Warblers and then a small flock of Bee-eaters passing over in what was now clear weather and getting warmer by the minutes as the skies cleared to reveal the massed blue covering. Moving to the end of the straight we then recoded Serin, Wood Pigeon, Nightingale and Iberian Yellow Wagtail before a walk along the track at the end also produced Melodious Warbler and then a pair of Garden Warblers.  Finally a Tree Sparrow before driving back along the far bank to the large olive grove where we finally located our first Turtle Dove plus and a Little Owl on the roadside wires having previously also found Short-toed mixing with the local Crested Larks.

Newly fledged Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata

Next up, for me, was a visit to the Cacin Valley but not before a slight diversion to take in a track up one of the local mountains.  Goldfinches and a Hoopoe as we set off and once in the wooden area many Chaffinches and a White Wagtail near a sheep pen.  A Great Tit dashed across the track into the tree cover.  A stop on the way up produced a Short-toed Treecreeper, Dartford Warbler, Crossbill, Linnet, Coal Tit and Mistle Thrush and later we were to find a trio of Spectacled Warblers.  

Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata

Once on the higher ground beyond the tree line, Red-legged PartridgeRock Bunting, Black Redstart and Thekla Lark along with a couple of Blue Rock Thrushes and a few Chough. Rock Sparrows seemed to be much in evidence before we saw a solitary Griffon Vulture wandering around in the distant sky.  And, of course, a delight to see the Black-eared Wheatears along with Azure-winged (Iberian) Magpie and Magpie

Distant Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica

A lot of searching but I did eventually find a male Rock Thrush.  But before, and a complete surprise to me, a pair of Cuckoo and I was to find a third later on in the day.   Have got excited I continued with my searches and managed a Blue Tit before finding a pair of Orphean Warblers not so far away.  Then it was, for me, back down the mountain encountering the resident Rock Doves at the bottom, and on to the Cacin valley.

Male Rock Thrush Monticola saxatallis

A stop for refreshments on the way and arriving above the Cacin valley it was now somewhat on the very warm side and none of the target birds were seen.  I did add a couple of Iberian Grey Shrike, a number of Common Swifts and a Kestrel along with a pair of Iberian Hare (Lepus granatensis) at close quarters.

Iberian Hare Lepus granatensis

The final stop was at the Cacin reservoir having already passed a Grey Wagtail alongside the channeled canal on the way down.  Upon arrival a Water Rail was exploring the reed fringes along with a Coot and nearby Moorhen whilst on the nearer edge both a single Little Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilt.  Out on the water itself very many Coot along with a handful or more of Mallard and good-sized flock of Common Pochard.

Distant Water Rail Rallus aquaticus (right) with Coot

So with just about 70 species recorded during the day I made my way back to Mequitilla and as I was about to leave the Magpie Woods to slip down to the prolific growing fields of Zafarraya, a Green Woodpecker flew across the road in front of the car.  A great but toting day so now regain my energies for a potential visit to the Guadalhorce come Thursday.

Distant male Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Birds seen:

Muscovy Duck, Mallard, Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Griffon Vulture, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Magpie, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Crossbill, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.

Rock Bunting Emberiza cia

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

Monday, 3 May 2021

Las Campinuelas

One sleepy Little owl!

 Monday 3 May

A calm, cloudy and cooler day for my morning visit to nearby Las Campinuelas.  The Pallid Swift colony was active as ever as I passed through the Algarrobo Costa and on up towards the motorway then taking the country lane down towards the dry river bed that borders the site.  Once on the track alongside the river bed immediately seen were Goldfinches, Serin, House Sparrows and Blackbirds.  Turning up towards my usual parking area I also noted a number of both Barn Swallows and House Martins.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata

Once parked I took the track through the olive grove parallel to the road and immediately had a couple of Wood Pigeon fly past along with a few Crested Lark sightings and more Blackbirds.  Overhead a good number of Common Swifts were feeding low in the sky and once within sight of the old ruin on top of the hill I noticed the sentinel Little Owl.

Little Owl Athene noctua

Moving down to the spring and neighbouring green cover I could hear a couple of Reed Warblers and a Collared Dove was drinking from the spring.  The wire over the road held a Great Tit as I crossed to take my circular walk around the main dehesa.  Almost immediately a Booted Eagle was not that high above the ruin in front of me and a couple of Spotless Starlings few my way.  At the bottom of the slope I stopped to observe a bird below a dense tree with bare branches at the bottom near the ground.  Such a bright yellow upper breast above the white and the whole bird had a glossy look about it in addition to the vivid face markings; my first Wood Warbler of the year.  Continuing on a constant calling of the local Chaffinches and in a rough area to my right a very large charm of feeding Goldfinches plus a few Serin and Crested Larks as I took notice of the gathering Bee-eaters

A small selection of the Bee-eaters Merops apiaster

To my right a couple of Sardinian Warblers and a first Woodchat Shrike of the morning.  Once down the bank and making my way round the model aeroplane runway, lots more Crested Larks and passing Bee-eaters but also a another handful of Woodchat Shrike.  Finally, across the road and along the last stretch over the relatively open field where I saw my last species of the morning, three squawking Monk Parakeets, and more Barn Swallows, House Martins and Common Swifts.

Woodchat Shrikes Lanius senator

Birds seen:

Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Wood Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch.

Could this possibly be a pair of newly-fledged House Sparrows Passer domesticus?


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

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Velez de Benaudalla

Sunday 2 May

A beautiful clear, warm and sunny start to the day as I set off for the Charca de Suarez on the western outskirts of Motril with "swarms" of pallid Swifts over the nearby apartment blocks to see me safely on my way.  A truly wonderful site that has been out of bounds until yesterday when the provincial border closure was lifted so, naturally I was very much looking forward to see how the site has changed since my last visit in mid-January.  With restrictive access during the breeding season no need to rush of early as the gates would not be unlocked until 10 o'clock.  Passing through "Turtle Dove Alley" all seemed very quiet with just the one Woodchat Shrike and a handful of passing Spotless Starlings. Exiting at the rear of the site the occasional Blackbird to add to the Wood Pigeon noted before entering the alley and scores of House Martins making use of the traditional nesting colony on the concrete wall.  A lone White Wagtail foraging on the road and then round the front to the main entrance.  

Waiting the five minutes for the gate to be opened I noted a couple of Collared Doves and then we were in.  But hold your horses, not so fast!  A new warden that I did not recognised called me back to check that my name was on his list and this point it became clear that admission arrangements had changed during lockdown.  Now you had to make a previous appointment to attend and as I had not, no excuses or simply signing the list with my details, I was expelled from the site.  So, if thinking of just turning up as used to be the case then one needs to think again and make the necessary phone call!

What to do?  A drive back to Turtle Dove Alley and explore a little of the abandoned ground just beyond the turning revealed Common Swifts, House Sparrows and Red-rumped Swallows plus a passing Lesser Black-backed Gull and a a very small charm of Goldfinch.

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus

No point hanging around and as I was already in the area I drive up to Velez de Benaudalla and entered the picnic track rom the south.  Immediately I left the main road a couple of Barn Swallows and then stopping within less than a hundred metres I got out to search the trees for the Golden Oriole I could calling.  Very difficult but I did manage the occasional glimpse before two males flew over the adjacent river into the trees in front of me before continuing on slightly upstream.  What a wonderful sight and I was to hear at least two more individuals as I made my way up and beyond the the actual picnic area.  On the opposite side of the track a pair of Grey Wagtails were noted and the males looking particularly handsome.

Moving on the continuous calling of Chaffinches and the occasional Blackbird.  A pair of Mallard took flight from the river and then a beautiful male Serin resting on a branch immediately in front of me.  Add on a noisy Cetti's Warbler and a Nightingale at the far end of the track and it just about completed my morning before an early return to Mezquitilla.  However, taken the coastal road from La Herredura and a diversion to Cerro Gordo I did not find a White-rumped Swift but did manage to get the camera out in time to capture a shot of the magnificent male Ibex feeding alongside the road with not a care in the world.

Male Ibix Capra Pyrenaica

Birds seen:

Mallard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch.

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

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 28 April

Sounds as if friend Dave Elliott-Binns and his Arboleas Birding Group have had another great day's birding.  I especially felt envious with the reports of Purple and Squacco Heron along with Great Spotted Cuckoo.  Just goes to show what can happen when the rains cease ad our feathered friends start moving about again..

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa:  Wednesday 28th April

With all the recent rain it was going to be interesting to see how it affected the Rambla de Almanzora near Villaricos.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station on the A7/E15 and headed for the rambla, joining near the Desert Springs golf complex.  We could immediately see that there was a lot more standing water, but it was still shallow.  Driving along the top of the embankment overlooking the patchy pools we saw Moorhen, Mallard and Black-winged Stilts.  A Common Sandpiper was on one of the concrete weirs.  There were three Glossy Ibis feeding in one of the meadowy areas.  A Grey Heron flew off. A Little Ringed Plover posed well on the side of the embankment.  Also seen were Little Egret, Redshank and a standing Shelduck on another concrete weir.  Smaller birds included Barn Swallow, Greenfinch, Spotless Starling and an Iberian Grey Shrike on one of the power lines.  There were only some Moorhen and Black-winged Stilts at the ford.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)


We were joined by John, Trevor, Michael and Karen.  John had seen Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Green Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Jackdaw, Blackbird and Woodpigeon on his little tour prior to meeting up.  He'd also heard a Nightingale.  We wandered up towards the sewage works, hearing Reed Warblers.  Beside one of the little pools was another Common Sandpiper.  A pair of Serin perched on the chain linked fence.  On the larger expanse of water were Common Pochard, Shelduck and a single male Gadwall as well as the usual Mallard. Black-winged Stilts littered the shore line.  I spotted a Sardinian Warbler, but was trumped by John's Spotted Flycatcher.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We returned to the vehicles and made for the Lucky Bar in Villaricos village for a coffee and tostada. We added House Sparrow and Yellow Legged Gull.

We headed for the beach. John checked out the view from the promenade and saw some Turnstone. Unusually there was nothing on the harbour rocks so we began to walk over to the estuary.  A Great Spotted Cuckoo noisily flew across the flattened area.  From the top of the sandy embankment we saw Coot, Cormorant, Moorhen and Ringed Plover.  John found adult & immature Audouin's Gulls near the beach.  There were numerous Little Egret and Grey Herons lining the shore line.  I spotted three Gull-billed Terns near the breached beach.  We then walked along the beach towards the vehicles.  John added a Grey Plover to the list.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We then convoyed to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa which overlooks a wetland.  John stopped first.  We carried to be nearer the hillock.  We first saw a Purple Heron flying low over the water and shrubs.  John joined us saying he stopped further back he'd seen other Purple Herons flying.  I had the briefest of glimpses of a Squacco Heron.  I spotted a Black-necked Grebe and Trevor a Little Grebe. There were at least ten Greater Flamingos there as well as lots of nesting Black-headed Gulls.  Moving down beyond the hillock we added White-headed Duck and Red-crested Pochard.  John and I identified some distant Whiskered Terns.  He then found a solitary sleeping Spoonbill.

John stopped at the first elevated viewing platform.  Trevor, Juda and I stopped at the second.  Not a lot was seen from ours.  White-headed Ducks, Common and Red-crested Pochard.  Our only addition to the list was a Great Crested Grebe.  John had added Black Wheatear and Kingfisher from where he had excellent views of the Whiskered Terns.  After we'd left to go home he added White Wagtail and Cetti's Warbler.

We ended the day with 54 species.  Very pleased with that.
We send our continued best wishes to Phil Naylor and to Richard Hirons who has been diagnosed with pneumonia.
Regards, Dave


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

Las Campinuelas and Rio Velez

 Wednesday 28 April

A beautiful, warm and sunny start to the day following all the recent heavy rain so, despite the possibility soft ground underneath, I took myself up to Las Campinuelas for a shorter circuit followed by a drive down to the Rio Velez on the western outskirts of Torre del Mar.  My fifty minutes visit to the former included the river bed, now with flowing water, before parking in the usual place and walking up to the spring and holding pool.  Blackbirds, Barn Swallows and Bee-eaters before getting out of the car and no sooner amongst the olive trees Sardinian Warblers and Crested Larks.  A Linnet was feeding on the grasses near the road and approaching the hill in front of the spring a trio of House Martins flew alongside the road and Collared Doves were noted on the wires and then in the trees.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Once chance to stop and look around I soon found a couple of Woodchat Shrikes in opposite directions and Reed Warblers were calling from the greenery adjacent to the holding pool.  A few Spotless Starlings moving around the area and above a trio of passing Common Swift.  

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

Not a lot to add as I made a shortened circuit on the main dehesa other than many more Crested Larks and another two Woodchat Shrikes along with the numerous Blackbirds.  Returning to the car there was a Spotted Flycatcher perched on the wire fence in front of me and further along the track as I made my way back towards the road for the onward journey a couple of Serin and a Hoopoe.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata

Once parked upo at the Rio Velez above the N340 and near the chimney factory I was able to walk the track to the beach.  There may have been a lot of rain in the past twenty-four hours resulting the in the Rio Velez looking very green but little water until the main lagoon in front of the beach.  On the other hand, traffic up and down the track to service the growing fields had left an absolute nightmare of the track, a mixture of puddles and deep mud resulting in a very messy state of affairs by the time I eventually got back to the car.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

The first species recorded were numerous Barn Swallows along with Blackbirds and House Sparrows.  A couple of Collared Doves near the road bridge and once under many of the the resident Rock Doves were observed.  On the fence opposite a Spotted Flycatcher was on the look-out for his mid-morning snack and many Nightingales could be heard.  A few Spotless Starlings as I made my way to the hide and regular sightings of Goldfinches which consisted mainly of newly fledged juveniles without the charismatic red face.

Once on the beach nothing other the a solitary juvenile Black-headed Gull.  However, the enlarged terminal lagoon held both Moorhen and Coot along with some very young chicks and off to the right a Purple Swamphen was exploring the edges.  Lots of Cetti's and more Reed Warblers in this area and as I started to work my way up the overgrown western bank I easily manged to locate more Nightingales.  Just before taking a chance to cross the river or at least follow the dry part of the river bed back towards the car I managed to find another Kestrel resting in the tree in front of me and, underneath the road bridge, a resting Mallard.  

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio

A quick look at the growing fields upstream revealed more Monk Parakeets, Blackbirds and Spotless Starlings but, best of all, looking upstream I could see a quartet of Little Egrets feeding in a large pool and a pair of Hoopoes made a hasty departure.

Birds seen:

Mallard, Little Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

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