Friday 24 January 2014

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus
Friday 24 January

A lovely start to the day even if somewhat breezy up here on the mountain.  However, by the time I arrived at the Rio Velez at 9.45 following necessary last-minute shopping it was gloriously warm and hardly a breeze at all.  The r4cent rain had not only freshened up the river but also raised the water level a little and presented a good-sized, muddy puddle to drive through to reach my usual parking soot just beyond the last road bridge in readiness for the walk down to the beach and back via the new hide.  As usual, I was greeted by the resident Rock Doves who were out if force along with a good number of Mallards, the first of two Little Egrets and the same with the Grey Heron.  The single Cattle Egret seen was perched very high in the top of one of the riverside trees.  Not so many White Wagtails about but still plenty of Chiffchaffs darting here, there and everywhere.

A trio of Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba on the Rio Velez
No sooner had I started walking tan I cam upon a trio of Sanderling.  On the outward journey these delightful little birds seemed to spread along the course of the river but on the return walk they were back together and I counted a maximum of thirty-two in one flock.  Just beyond the Sanderlings I first found the quartet of Black-winged Stilts and then the pair of Golden Plover which seem to have been in residence for the past couple of weeks or so.  By this time also a number of Moorhen had been seen and a couple of male Blackbirds recorded.

One of the Golden Plover Chorlito Dorado Europeo Pluvialis apricaria pair
A Zitting Cisticola, the first of at least a handful, was in the nearby bush and then I picked up a couple of Ringed Plovers.  By the time I left I mist have recorded at least a dozen so certainly food here to keep the waders active, especially a I then found a single Little Stint.

Record shot of Little Stint Correlimos Menudo Calidris minuta in background
The Coots were all gathered in and around the main laguna along with a plentiful supply of Cormorants and a small number of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Meanwhile, out on the sea itself, a couple of good-sized rafts of gulls made u mainly of Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged with a few Black-headed Gulls.  However, on the field on the other side of the river, the usual roosting field was full of gulls and this time the larger gulls were in the minority wit a large number of Mediterranean Gulls, many of them rapidly moulting into their summer plumage.

Best effort at trying to capture a Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis near the hide
The meadow in front of the hide was alive with Chiffchaffs and a couple of Meadow Pipits plus a pair of Stonechats and a single Crested Lark.  Both Serins and Goldfinches were around the hide along with the occasional House Sparrow and Spotless StarlingCetti's Warblers were noisily calling from below.  One female Shoveler was found at the back of the laguna and the return walk also produced a single male Teal.  So, a couple of hours on the local patch before disappearing for a few weeks and a total of 30 species recorded.

A very wide-awake Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinerea

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.

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

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