Monday 14 January 2013

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Beautiful sunny day but a still, cool breeze and a dusting of snow on the top of Maroma as I drove down to Torre to post lots of magazine on behalf of the Andalucia Bird Society and decided to pay a short visit to the Rio Velez to check out the state of the river following all the carnage in November.  Whilst the river was still wide and plenty of water coming down it was, nevertheless, fairly shallow and seemed to be sorting itself out by exposing some gravel banks and islands so hope yet that the breeding waders will find a new home in the next month or so.  There is till much vegetation missing but the area was much calmer than my last visit a month ago.  Even the elongated sand bars stretching out into the Mediterranean have been somewhat curbed but the whole area looks so different than the  pre-November storms.  It remains to be seen what will happen when the spring rains produce the net deluge of water.

Arriving at the beach end of the new road alongside the eastern growing fields I was welcome by a good number of Meadow Pipits and a handful of Crested Larks along with a Sardinian Warbler, many Chiffchaffs and also the usual White Wagtails.  Immediately I noticed that some fields which have remained unworked for the past ten years have now been ploughed and sown with what looks like brassicas of one sort or another.  Just think, in a month's time these seedlings are going to be almost full groan cauliflowers and/or cabbages such is the magic of this land.  A Zitting Cisticola took off as I headed for the mouth of the river where I was greeted by well in excess of 500 gulls on the water and neighbouring western fields.  Most were Mediterranean but there were also at least 150 Black-headed, a good number of Yellow-legged and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the last mainly on the sea.  A Cormorant flew past in an easterly direction and a Sandwich Tern fished in front of me.

On the river margins were at east 30 Sanderling and a couple of Ringed Plover whilst a solitary Little Egret hunted the far side.  The first of about a dozen Moorhens was also noted along with one of the trio of Mallards seen during my relatively short stay.  The return walk down the main track to the road bridge and back to the pumping station produced many more White Wagtails and Chiffchaffs along with another Stonechat, Black Redstart and a noisy pair of Monk Parakeets.  Best of all, though, was the single Little Ringed Plover that dropped in right in front of me.

The final walk back to the car through these eastern growing fields also produced both Serin and Greenfinch along with the resident House Sparrows and then a couple of Crested Larks, a Kestrel and more Meadow Pipits upon arrival.

Driving home, just to prove that I do not need to visit the usual high mountain sites, I had a Black Wheatear sitting on top of an electricity pylon as I approached Los Romanes and a small number of Rock Buntings followed by Thekla Larks on the track leading up to the house.  A very interesting morning with 30 species including five new birds for 2013 which has brought my year's total to date up to 105.  What will I see next week to potentially add to the list?

Birds seen:
Mallard, Cormorant, Little Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern,  Rock Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starlings, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Rock Bunting.

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