Friday 10 January 2014

White Stork still at the Rio Velez

Friday 10 January

Afternoon visit postpone so I took off down to the Rio Velez in Torre del Mar to see if the White Stork was still about, arriving at 2.30 and staying for a about ninety minutes during which the weather was very still; calm and cloudy.  After all, why should I be the only one not see the stork and I live the nearest!

Part of the resident Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba flock
Arriving and parking below the road bridge at the start of the track down to the beach I was welcomed by the usual band of Rock Doves along with an increasing number of Moorhen, whilst Chiffchaffs fluttered here, there and everywhere and a Grey Heron departed downstream.  At the water's edge, many White Wagtails went about their wagging walk and then a Green Sandpiper, having seen me with my big lens, decided it was time for him to beat a hasty retreat.

Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta

It soon became evident as I started to walk down to the new hide that Mallard numbers were well up on normal with at least a couple of dozen on the lower river.  Add on a pair of Shoveler and a couple of Little Egrets and I was ready for the arrival of the Cormorant flying upstream.  Only the one flock of Sanderling on this occasion and they were tightly packed (how can they manage to feed like this?) on their own; a total of thirty-four individuals.

Great Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo

Meanwhile,on the track and on either side I was beginning to see regular sightings of both Black Redstart and Stonechat plus a single Zitting Cisticola.  By now I had reached the hide and in front of me were at least thirty Coots plus a mixed flock of gulls on the main water, at this stage mainly Black-headed with a smaller number of Yellow-legged Gulls.  A Goldfinch disappeared in to the nearby remains of the bamboo where he was joined by the remainder of his charm.

Common Starlings Estornino Pinto Sturnus vulgaris at the Rio Velez

Not having seen the White Stork I decided to make my way back to the car and check upstream beyond the two road bridges.  A whole bunch of Spotless Starlings were on the wires and pylons but they soon departed just leaving a handful behind.  Imagine my surprise when checking out these birds and they all turned out to be Common Starlings.  All this activity duly attracted the marauding seven Monk Parakeets and what a din they created.  In the water I found a trio of Black-winged Stilts and a single Ringed Plover along with a Water Pipit and another Heron. A Hoopoe suddenly arrived in the bush in front, saw me on the other side and just as quickly looped off.

Meadow Pipit  Bisbita Pratense  Anithus pratensis
Moving up stream beyond the old road bridge I could see a trio of Little Egrets and then the missing White Stork.  Trying to get closer I cam across more Chiffchaffs and a pair of Meadow Pipits along with a second Blackbird.  Whilst I did succeed in closing in for a much better view of the stork I could not get a clear shot of the bird.  Thank goodness but Mick and John managed to capture the bird's image.  Returning to the car I also picked up another couple of Black Redstarts and the first Kestrel of the afternoon.

One of the marauding Monk Parakeets Cotorra Argentina Mylopsitta monachus
Reaching the car, I then drove down to the hide so that I could take he scope and explore the sea.  Lots more gulls to be seen and this time a good number of both Mediterranean and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  In addition to more White Wagtails and Chiffchaffs I even got to see one of the wintering Bluethroats.  Then, back in the hide to complete my notes, I had a regular supply of active Chiffchaffs and Stonechats along with House Sparrows and there, immediately opposite, a single distant Little Stint.

Record shot of distant Little Stint Correlimos Menudo Calidris minuta
Having come down especially to see the White Stork, I made my way home after ninety minutes and, approaching the road bridge. could see that the local goat flock had come down to the river to drink, bringing with them a number of Cattle Egrets - or should these be called Goat Egrets?  A total of 37 species recorded and my own annual total to date for 2014 was increased by 5 to its present total of 73.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Sanderling, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Hoopoe, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

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

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