Tuesday 13 February 2018

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Tuesday 13 February

Just the bare two hours down at the local river, the Rio Velez in Torre del Mar and back home by 11.30.  Whilst I managed 30 species in the allotted time, regretfully I still did not find my target bird, the little Penduline Tits that feed and breed in this area.  Greeted by both House Sparrow and White Wagtail a trio of Moorhens scampered back to cover as I got out of the car just upstream of the road bridge.

Once under the bridge and walking down towards the sea the singing (?) of the Cetti's Warblers was almost deafening and soon there were plenty of Chiffchaffs and the occasional Goldfinch to draw one's attention.  The odd Blackbird or two crossed the dry river bed which looked a mess along with the track edges as a result of the recent bamboo harbest and then, suddenly, a Snipe took off from almost beneath and zig-zagged away down stream.  By now I was seeing a regular supply of Cormorants overhead and even found three Herons resting high in a tall tree on the opposite bank.

Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinerea
Once at the hide all seemed quiet initially.  First a Hoopoe feeding around the immediate area.  A Greenfinch and a pair of Serins along with a trio of Spotless Starlings behind me and a small number of grazing Moorhen to the front.  A Zitting Cisticola put in an appearance and then it was on down towards the water.  A resting Heron seemed happy to remain in situ and a handful of Coots and Moorhens were on the water along with more Cormorants.  A number of small gull, mainly Black-headed, considered making use of the pool at the river's truncated end but did no remain for long.  Most were of shore where hundred could be counted, mainly Lesser Black-backed but also a good mix of both Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls.  Further out a t least a coupe of Gannets were diving for their breakfast.

Little Stint Correlimos Menudo Calidris minuta
Having seen a single Barn Swallow from the hide, by the time I reached the edge of the pool there were a number of feeding Crag Martins overhead but just the one pair of mallard to be seen  A lone Purple Swamphen made a dash across the channel and into the reeds which gave me chance to follow the feeding antics of a pair of Sanderling accompanied by a single Little Stint.  In addition, a great opportunity to compare the size difference between the two species.

Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba with Little Stint behind

So a slow walk back to the car with regular unproductive stops to scan the fragmities for the elusive Penduine Tits but I did find both a female Black Redstart and a single Robin.  I could see a single Cattle Egret on the river side of the path up ahead and then, whilst putting away the equipment in the car, a visit from a friendly Great TitThirty birds in four time thirty minutes.

Two Sanderlings Calidris alba with Little Stint Calidris minuta in front to show size comparion

Birds seen:
Mallard, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Snipe, Meditaerranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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