Just back from a couple of days in La Mancha with Jenny and Barbara and Derek Etherton. Based in the town itself, it gave very easy and close access to both the nearby Laguna de Navaseca and the well-known Las Tablas de Damiel. With all our target birds recorded including a full hand of the heron family, both Bearded and Penduline Tit, both reed warblers, Savi's Warbler and more active and voluble Nightingales than I think I have ever heard it almost made both Roller and a Great Spotted Cuckoo seem ordinary! Did I mention both shrikes, Spoonbill, Golden Oriole and Green Woodpecker? And the scenery, in lovely sunny weather, was a sight to behold.
|The Bearded Tits Bigotudo Panurus biarmicus of the Tablas de Damiel
Most of the birds seen on the journey up to Damiel were also recorded once we arrived but one special species was a Carrion Crow, not a bird of our part of the country and only found in isolated pockets in southern Spain. (We also recorded the bird on the way back.) Birds nor seen later in the day included Bee-eater, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Jay and Azure-winged Magpie.
|Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus and Shelduck Tarro Blanco Tadoma tadoma
|Male White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala
|Shelduck Tarro Blanco Tadoma tadoma
|Great Reed Warbler Carricero Tordal Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Next it was a stop at the hide on the northern side of the laguna looking back to where we had started. This view gave a very close sight of a Shelduck and we even found a small flock of six Black-necked Grebes. Hoopoes were seen regularly and, in addition to the Red Kite that drifted away overhead, we picked up more Reed Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas and Cetti's Warblers. By way of new species we even added a pair of Gadwall and Moorhen. By now we were seeing many Corn Buntings and recorded the first of the regular sightings of Crested Larks.
|The ever-singing Corn Bunting Triguero Emberiza calandra
|Male Red-crested Pochard Pato Colorado Netta rufina
|Distant record shot of the Green Woodpecker Pito Real Picus viridis
|And our Great Reed Warbler Carricero Tordal Acrocephalus arundinaceus continued to sing on and on
|A distant lovely male Marsh Harrier Aguilucho Lagunero Circus aeruginosus
Thursday morning, the first day of June, promised to be hot so we made a very early start and arrived at the White Stork and Roller nest by 7.15. All were at home but a strange light at this time of day. The Barn Swallows and the odd Red-rumped were up and about along with a Common Kestrel and no shortage of Woodpigeons. Both Greylag Geese and Great Crested Grebes were on the pool behind. Alongside the Roller the trees contained a number of Magpies and we even had a Little Owl on an old farm building. A good number of Crested Larks and, today, the Cormorants were more evident.
|Early morning light at the Roller's Carraca Europea Coracias garrulus nest site
|The very obliging Penduline Tit Pajaro Moscon Remiz pendulinus
|Female Red-crested Pochard Pato Colorado Netta rufina along with some of her brood
On the horizon flying over the reeds the Great White Egret was awake and in search of a new feeding site. Strange how few Little Grebes were present but at least they were very close. Meanwhile, the shallow water below us, probably no more than 30cm deep, held a good number of large fish which, Derek tells me, were Tench. They are obviously finding plenty of natural food and looked large enough to feed two if not a whole family!
|I'm told that this is a TenchTinca tinca
A walk up to the observation hide on the small hill overlooking the whole site produced not only a good-sized flock of feeding Tree Sparrows but also a few Linnets. From here we could follow both the Purple Herons and Marsh Harriers as they moved about below us. A trio of Spoonbills flew over us as we mad our way back towards the boardwalk to continue our circuit of the site.
|Lovely to once again see Tree Sparrows Gorrion Molinero Passer montanus
|Yet more Great Reed Warblers Carricero Tordal Acrocephalus arundinaceus
|Night Heron Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax
|At last we were able to see the Savi's Warbler Buscarla Unicolor Locustella luscinioides
|Magpie Urraca Pica pica
|Finally, a Nightingale Ruisenor Comun Luscinia megarhynchos out in the open - well shade!
|A very handsome Little Grebe zampullin Comun Tachybaptus ruficollis
Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, GreatWhite Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Red Kite, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle Bonelli's Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Savi's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Iberian Chiffchaff, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Serin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
|White Storks Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia guarding ther nest
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