Monday, 31 October 2016

Barbate

Friday 28 October

It was a beautiful clear, calm, warm and sunny start as we set of with our friend, Marieke for a couple of days in Tarifa.  Not far beyond Marbella there was the first hint of a breeze and by the time we reached the coast at Algeciras there was a stiff wind blowing.  We had been warned that there were strong winds blowing for the week-end and as a result our field meeting to the Isla de las Palomas at Tarifa had already been cancelled.  More later.

Crossing from Algeciras to Tarifa we had a kettle of at least 50 Griffon Vultures fighting against the elements and then it was on to Barbate for lunch.  Then it was straight to the track to take us round behind the inlet where we found the tide full in and virtually no mud either.  Spotless Starlings and Crested Larks on the field along with a handful of Bald Ibis.  Over the water the occasional Cormorant and, seen from the car, Goldfinches and the first of many Meadow Pipits.  Very distant Flamingo and a couple of Spoonbill plus a small number of Sanderling.

Meadow Pipit  Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis completing its ablutions in a large puddle on the track
Driving round the track we not only encountered more Meadow Pipits, even managing to take the only photographs of the day from inside the car, and then a good number of Stone Curlew on their favourite island.  Nearer the shore we had a single Whimbrel along with Kentish and Ringed Plover plus Redshank.  Both Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls were duly recorded and as we left the site we found our Northern Wheatear on the grass filed next to the road.

And then a second Meadow Pipit came to see what all the fuss was about
A short stop at the Barbate Marshes found only a stream but we had both Chiffchaff and Robin and feeding in the bank a female Yellow Wagtail of the flavisima race and even a Common Starling feeding with a few Spotless Starlings next to the beasts.  Just the one Moorhen and then a rather lovely Booted Eagle as we returned to the car.

Not an awful lot you can do during the evening at a hostal (El Levante on this occasion) so we took our time returning to Tarifa by travelling west to east through La Janda, and well worth it it was. Most of the birds were a the western end and we were soon encountering hundreds of White Storks along with mixed gulls, a distant Black-shouldered Kite and a rather magnificent, and near, Black Stork. The road side grasses produced House Sparrow, Serin and Goldfinch and we discovered good numbers of Lapwing on the recently harvested, now flooded, rice fields.

Great White Egret Garceta Grande Egretta alba
Birds seen along the final straight included very many Little and Cattle Egrets and Herons plus a Great White Egret.  Approaching the half-way mark a few Barn Swallows and a couple of Crane flew over to land in the field to our right and then Jenny asked what was the white bird gliding along below us on the right and, yes, a male Hen Harrier.  Yet more Marsh Harriers and Jackdaws and on the track before turning right a Whinchat and both House and Spanish Sparrows with the final bird of the day being a plump Corn Bunting as we approached the main road.

Considering the windy weather, even if it was mainly warm and sunny, a very enjoyable day.


Birds seen:
Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Bald Ibis, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Black-winged Kite, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Moorhen, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.


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

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