Tuesday 6 August 2013

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta
Tuesday 6 August

Down to the local surgery, passing Thekla Larks and greeted by Common Swifts upon arrival, for a "Hancock" experince; well, not so much gven as having sucked out through the needle in readiness for a hospital visit in a fortnight's time.  Anyway, job done without having to wait too long so took myself of down to the Rio Velez in Torre dl Mar to see what was (or was not!) about, arriving by 9.15.  All the resdent Rock Doves under the bridge and in the trees on the opposite bank along with a female Moorhen her two well-grown younsters.  Even a Common Sandpiper feeding below me.  However, the main change was the massive drop in water levels with the river now a meandering steam with much exposed gravel and feeding possibilities.

The walk down to the beach and back took just over the hour and the overall impression was one of quality rather than quantity; what you might call a little of this a little of that.  Yes, there was a steady supply of Barn Swallows feeding over the water but not in great numbers.  No sooner had I started out than I noticed the two white bundles at the very top of the tall trees opposite which proved to be a couple of Little Egrets.  Very high and exposed so, presumably, waiting for the oxygen masks to be lowered.  Another Common Sandpiper and, confirmed on the return walk, a t least a trio of Green Sandpipers also feeding in the area.  Close by a couple of Little Ringed Plovers and then a single Little Stint.  It looks, at last, as if the waders have started to return and it got even better on the return journey.

A lone Little Stint Correlimos Menudo Calidris minuta

Little Ringed Plover Chorltejo Chico Charadrius dubius
Above me a quartet of screaming Monk Parakeets which were completely ignored by the handful of Spotless Starlings.  Nearer the track a number of Serin were seen along with a rather large flock of House Sparrows.  Then I was at the beach.  Well, here was another surprise.  The lagoon is back which, I suspect, is as a result of man's interference with an amount of mechanised help.  On the other hand, I also encountered the first of the two-legged human variety albeit they were on the far side of the lagoon debating whether or not to get their feet wet.  And at least they were clothed!

One of a trio of Audouin's Gulls Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii on the Rio Velez lagoon
Most of the gull population was roosting on the usual field on the far side but there approaching an hundred of the same on the lagoon itself; mainly immature Yellow-legged Gulls with a few adults along with a handful of Black-headed Gulls.  But I did mange to find at least three Audouin's Gulls taking a rest with their cousins.  Whilst the Barn Swallows continued to feed I did find a pair of Blue-headed (Iberian Yellow) Wagtails on the far side.

Up popped a Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops from the undergrowth
Time to wander back and see if I could get closer to the pair of Black-winged Stilts a little further up river.  I looked round to check out the newly-arrived Crested Lark and, on turning back, discovered that the stilts had moved off.  A Reed Warbler arrived in front of me revealing the youngster perched on the reeds waiting to be fed and, not far away, a lone Hoopoe was busy searching the undergrowth for a little snack.  On the opposite bank, even the Blackbirds were beginning to feel the heat and poor old Dad had taken to resting on the shore rather than a tree; very strange!  A family of Spotted Flycatchers was an added bonus as I moved on.

A single Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus at the Rio Velez
As I moved back towards the bridge I was aware of both the Little Ringed Plovers (two) and the trio of Green Sandpipers but something was out of place.  Why did only three fly away and two remain?
Closer inspection revealed that not only was I looking at different birds but I had one of each; a Redshank and a Wood Sandpiper.  Meanwhile, in addition to more Serins, a small number of Goldfinch, including many juveniles, had arrived to drink at the water's edge.

The lonely Wood Sandpiper Andarrios Bastardo Tringa glareola
So it was back to the car and a quick stop a little up river under both road bridges to see what a
else might be about.  A pair of Hoopoes, more Monk Parakeets and feeding Barn Swallows but also a very busy Cetti's Warbler who seemed to have found its own little feeding station below a fallen tree at the water's edge.  Also feeding in the same place another pair of Blue-headed Wagtails and a small number f White Wagtails.

The resting male Blackbird Nirlo Comun Turdus merula - or was he just appreciating the sun?

Blue-headed Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Motacilla flava iberiae (Yellow Wagtail of the iberian race)

Record shot of Cetti's Warbler Ruisenor Bastardo Cettia cetti feeding in the shade
 Very quiet on the butterfly/dragonfly front with just the single Speckled Wood recorded.

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria butterfly

Just over an hour later I made my way home as the temperature continued to chase up the the thermometer scale and was greeted by House Martins in Los Romanes, more Thekla Larks and a Kestrel on the track and a noisy greeting from the feeding Bee-eaters upon my arrival at Casa Collado.  Quite a pleasant couple of hours all told and 33 species recorded.

Birds seen:
Little Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, 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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