Monday 10 April 2017

ABS Field Visit to Tarifa

Saturday 8 April

Collared Pratincole Canastera Comun Glareola pratincola
What a windy night and start to the day which does not promise well for good birding when we meet up with other members of the Andalucia Bird Society for the first of three field meetings in April.  On t other hand, a quick stop at the well-known car park did indeed, eventually, produce a Garden Bulbul and with a male Common Redstart at the bottom of the same tree.  Overhead no end of calling Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings, Barn Swallows and a pair of Lesser Kestrel.

Having sorted ourselves out on where to go considering the windy conditions, we duly set off t the shore in the hope that there might be some smaller birds on show.  Both Cormorant and Raven recorded before we arrived and then a Sardinian Warbler and the first Stonechat.  Everyone heard the singing Nightingale but the bird refused to show itself so we had to make do with the lovely song and then both Blackcap and GoldfinchHouse Sparrows and Linnet came in to drink from a large puddle before we move up towards the end of the track and found the resident Little Owl.  A dark phase Booted Eagle, Black Kite and Common Kestrel were also recorded before we made our way back and decided that we would be better off exploring the old salinas behind Barbate.  A short stop on the  way back along the track produced the first Black-eared Wheatear of the year.  We also managed to add Barn and Red-rumped Swallow along with House Martin and a White Stork before rejoining the main N340 road.

Black-eared Wheatear Collalba Rubia Oenanthe hispanica
Taking the track round the back at Barbate we soon saw Yellow-legged Gulls and the first of very many Corn Buntings and Crested Larks.  However,it was not so much the Barn Swallows that drew our attention as the Collared Pratincoles which seemed sufficiently relaxed to land very close to the car for even better views.  Pallid Swifts flew over as Iberian Yellow Wagtails worked the track.

Collared Pratincole Canastera Comun Glareola pratincola
On the shore Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint and Ringed and Kentish Plover were recorded before we saw our first Cormorant.  Lots of Woodchat Shrikes and a few Norther Wheatears as we made our way down the track to the rear.  Then the third and final new bird of the year recorded today when a very obliging Tawny Pipit decided that the main track was the place to feed.  Other small birds included Goldfinch, Greenfinch and White Wagtail before both House Sparrow and Hoopoe put in an appearance.

Woodchat Shrike Alcaudon Comun Lanius senator
The further ponds did produce Mallard, Little Egret and Grey Heron before we found the single Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper. The very few Spoonbills were distant which was not the case with the Black-winged Stilt and Little Egret seen on the way out.  Finally, leaving the site we had time to stop and take a look at the nesting Bald Ibis and accompanying Jackdaws before driving on to the western entrance to La Janda.

Even with more light this Bald Ibis Ibis Eremita Geronticus eremita is still one ugly bird!
With the continuing strong winds there was very little to see on a relatively quick drive through La Janda along the main track.  Yes, both Cattle and Little Egrets along with Grey Herons and the only raptors seen being a couple of Common Kestrel. Both Pallid and Common Swift along with Barn Swallow in the air and close to the ground a number of smaller bids including Stonechat, Goldfinch and Linnet.  Amongst the White Stork we managed to find a Glossy Ibis and a few Mallards tucked into protective channels.  A Pheasant crossed the track in front of the car and a small flock of Jackdaw took to the skies.  By way of contrast, we actually found our first Purple Swamphen of the past week.  Finally, driving up the track to the main road what appropriate birds to see on the rusting fences but Stonechat, Corn Bunting and Woodchat Shrikes.

Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio
And so back home to Mezquitilla and time to rest before starting on these reports and checking out the photographs.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Bald Ibis, Grey Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Collard Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Garden Bulbul, Nightingale, Common Redstart, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Blackcap. Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.

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

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