Saturday, 8 March 2014

Charca de Suarez and Padul with John & Jenny

Last day away from UK and all packed ready to leave Hong Kong (Kites over the water yesterday) when I received the latest news from John and Jenny Wainwright.  This time over in Granada province visiting both the Charca de Suarez site near Motril and Padul, alittle further inland on th eway to Granada itself.  Jenny sent me a reminder that now we have reached March teer is restruicted access to Charc during the breeding season.  See her photograph of the times (below).

Here follows John's report:

Charca de Suarez: 8th March 2014

A very hot bright day, with very little wind about.

We both woke up very early, so Jenny decided a trip down to SalobreƱa, would be nice, so an hour later and we were underway. Enroute we saw good numbers of Little Egrets and Grey Herons coming off from the direction of the small laguna just prior to the Morelada turn on the A92. A few pockets of Jackdaws and Cattle Egrets were also seen opposite this laguna on and above the fields.The rest of the way down gave us Spotless Starlings, Collared Doves, Woodpigeo Ps, Magpies, Blackbirds, a Common Kestrel and a couple of nigh suicidal Red-legged Partridges which missed the car by inches.

We arrived at about 8.50am and waited by the small entrance gate for Manuel, at 9.10 he still wasn´t about so we phoned him..Oh, sorry the times have now changed to 10pm - there is an attached photo with new times of opening.  (See above)

So across the road and down to the beach. In the small stream running into the sea we saw literally hundreds of Chiffchaffs, a Greenfinch, two Mallard, Serins, Stonechats, a Great Tit, Black Redstart, House Sparrows, Goldfinches and a single Crag Martin was seen over the flats.

The tide was coming in fast and not a wader was to be seen along the beach, but out at sea we picked up several Gannets and Cormorants also Lesser Black-backed, Yellow-legged, Black-headed and a solitary Mediterranean Gull. 

Gannet  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Back to the reserve gate for 10am where we had two Little Bitterns fly overhead, in the old car park we saw Serin, Collared Doves, Chiffchaffs, Goldfinches, a House Martin, Coot and a Moorhen.

The walk to the open hide (Taraje) was a cacophony of Cetti´s Warblers, Blackcaps and Goldfinches, but at the hide things were pretty quiet, although we did pick up a Kingfisher, Little Bittern, three Purple Swamphens, Little Grebe, Coots, Mallard and a few Spotless Starlings.

At the large (Aneas) hide, the centre island was awash with Cormorants in all poses - wings spread, sleeping upright and lying down, a few Mallard, Black-winged Stilt, a Snipe, some Coots and about a dozen Shovelers.  In the reeds we found another two Purple Swamphens and seven Grey Herons, the Crested Coots were nesting across the laguna, hence the small hide was out of bounds. Also at the back of the laguna we managed to pick up the Ferruginous Duck also here were Pochard, Coots, Little Grebes and more Moorhens. The reeds were a flurry of activity in the shape of Great Tits, Chiffchaffs, White Wagtails and Cetti´s Warblers.

Along now to the Trebol hide, again it was very quiet although we did get our first Barn Swallows of the day and the Crested Coots were in the throws of nest building.  

We did manage to locate three of the four Night Herons - in the trees, just prior to the Punto de Encuentro

Night Heron  (PHOTO:  John Wainwright)
We got to the entrance at 11.30and was told as we were friends of Bob Wright we could go back in until 1pm - Oh, what power that man wields even from New Zealand!!!

A few butterflies namely Red Admiral, Bath White, Speckled Wood and Large White.

Apart from that there was nothing new except perhaps the two Tree Frogs, so we headed for Padul, seeing a Buzzard and more Barn Swallows enroute.

Tree Frog  (PHOTO:  Jenny Wainwright)
Padul: 8 March 2014

Lots of people here today - walkers and families mainly. As we approached the hide, a Hoopoe flew away in the distance,a Meadow Pipit hopped out from the grasses and in the fields opposite there were Crested Larks. A couple of Grey Herons were flushed from a dry stream bed as we passed and in the hedgerows we saw Sardinian Warblers, House Sparrows, Black Redstarts and a small group of Linnets.

A Common Kestrel was seen hovering over the ploughed fields and a male Stonechat began singing from atop a bush.  By this time we had gotten to the boardwalk. As we were having a cup of tea, a flash of brown along the small stream here gave us a female Merlin, we ran round the car to get a look at her and she was perched on a bare tree overhanging the stream, but seeing us she flew off again, probably to ambush one of the many White Wagtails or Meadow Pipits that frequent this habitat.

We walked up parallel to the boardwalk and looked over the marshy ground, here we saw a Water Pipit, Meadow Pipits, a Snipe broke cover and headed into the reeds further up, and as we walked back to the car a Zitting Cisticola and a Cetti´s Warbler serenaded us.

Having also just read Dave's report from El Fondo, up near Alicante, it would appear that everyone seems to be seeing Merlins at the moment.  Please save one for me!   Look forward to being back in Spain in a week's time.

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