Tuesday 12 January 2016

A great morning's birding at the Rio Velez

Monday 11 January

The early morning rain cleared up to give a generally bright and sunny start to the day so, with Barbara and Derek Etherton, I took off down to the the Rio Velez, Torre del Mar where we had a most enjoyable three hours birding, and all the better as it was my guests first visit to this site.

No mass flock of Rock Doves under the bridge, just the single passing over but they were all back on station as we returned to the car.  On the other hand, a single Kestrel rested near the top of one of the regular dove roosts.  A Heron took off and a few House Sparrows and Serin put in a brief appearance.  Then, looking closer, we found both Grey and White Wagtails and there seemed to be a constant stream of Blackbirds criss-crossing the river bed.  Similarly, the Cetti's Warblers were both calling and being seen all morning.

The first of two Great Tits was seen as we made our way to the hide and a Cormorant worked itself upstream.  Finally we found a couple of pairs of hiding Mallards and then a Little Egret flew in to perch on a tree top.  A Green Sandpiper dashed off downstream and the first of many Moorhen were seen.  Up popped a Zitting Cisticola, took a flight round the neighbourhood as we watched and then settled on top of a relatively nearby bamboo shoot.

Zitting Cisticola Buitron Cisticola juncidis (PHOTO: Derek Etherton)
By the time we reached the hide we were aware that there were Chiffchaffs everywhere; on the fields, bushes, fences, everywhere.  Not too many Spotless Starlings and then a most handsome male Black Redstart before Derek found the concealed Bluethroat and both Goldfinches and Crag Martins were overhead.  Again, looking out of the back of the hide we found a pair of Blackcaps and Sardinian Warbler.  A Stonechat posed briefly in front of the hide and a Little Grebe was seen in the narrow water channel.

On to the beach and very little on sea other than a number of Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls but we did find a single adult Gannet way out near the passing fishing boat.  Lots of Moorhen feeding on the mass of floating rubbish in the lagoon and what looked like a couple of dead birds turned out to be three sleeping Shoveler.  Also a handful of Coot and another pair of Mallards.

Having made our way back to the car we drove upstream under the bridges so that we could explore the next three or four hundred metres upstream.  The first of a few Meadow Pipits was found and then a couple of Cattle Egrets.  A Hoopoe was resting at the top of a tree on the opposite bank and was then joined on a lower branch by a single Blue Tit.  However, feeding on the nearby gravel were six Sanderling (where had the  other three gone that were seen her last week?).  Making our way back to the car we then picked up both a Robin and a good-sized flock of Greenfinches.  Needless to say we eventually picked up a Monk Parakeet before getting home.

Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba (PHOTO: Derek Etherton)

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Sanderling, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Back Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Backcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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