Thursday 7 April 2016

Bermejales with John and Jenny

Bee-eater Abejarucco Europeo Merops apiaster
Thursday 7 April

Why is it every time I go out for a little birding that by the following day I discover somebody else has had the same idea - and usually see better "stuff" than me?  Yesterday John and Jenny Wainwright took the opportunity to visit the large Embalse Bermejales and it may be a common sight for them but I am yet to record both Coal Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper this year.  Maybe next time for me but I somehow think not in La Janda or Barbate!

All photos by John Wainwright

Bermejales area 6th April

A very warm day, with very little breeze.

Very little to speak of on the way to the Embalse, except Collared Doves, Kestrel and Spotless Starlings.

After parking up I headed out for my walk and as I approached the foreshore a beautifully marked Booted Eagle soared overhead but departed as quickly as it had arrived.  Very few small passerines in the firs here as there was a surveyor (standing still and shouting orders) and a local policeman running about with a pole.  The water level is quite low and is 70 metres down from its normal level.

So across the road into the plantation where I noted Chaffinches, Wood Pigeons, Serins, Great Tits and Goldfinches.  Not so many Magpies about today and only one Crossbill was seen, although Coal Tits were in good numbers.  I could hear Bee-eaters but couldn´t see them at this time.  I did find several Scorpions of the Buthus occitanicus variety in my meanderings.

Scorpion Buthus occitanicus
Back at the car and a White Wagtail was seen as well as more Chaffinches and a few Linnets. After a sit down I headed for the Ayunemiento building, but this only produced a Short-toed Treecreeper and a Blackbird.  Also, there is a definite shortage of hirundines here today.

Male Chaffinch Pinzon Vulgar Fringilla coelebs
We packed up and headed for the Cacin Gorge, this must have been where all the hirundines were hiding as we noted Barn Swallow, House and Crag Martin plus Common Swift along with Jackdaws and Chough.  A large shadow came across the gorge wall and there was the Bonelli´s Eagle it soared down the gorge in the direction of Cacin and two minutes later a second one followed being heckled by the local flock of Jackdaws, not to be seen again today. 

We decided to chance the rough road along to the lake near Cacin, which turned out a very good choice as we picked up Woodchat Shrike, a Jay (the first of which I have seen hereabouts), a Common Kestrel was spotted on a pylon and as we drew up to the lake five Bee-eatears were seen in the lone tree here.

Woodchat Shrike Alcaudon Comun Lanius senator
On the lake itself we saw Pochard, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Common Coot, Moorhen and a juvenile Greater Flamingo (something I have never seen here before).  In the reed beds Reed Warblers were singing and in the firs across the lake a Common Cuckoo called.  Just then from the reed beds a male Marsh Harrier emerged and as we were watching him the female also flew out. Lots of hirundines here and more Bee-eaters were noted, then a Buzzard was heard mewing, but not located.

Two of the quintet of Bee-eaters Abejarucco Europeo Merops apiaster
The only other different bird seen on the way home was a Little Owl just as we approached Morelada village.

Lovely report John and, as ever, you always seem to find the Coal Tits!

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