Thursday 31 January 2019

Sierra de Maria and Cabo de Gata

David Elliott-Binns, the man himself with his new T-shirt.  Well it made Dave smile!
Wednesday 30 January

Two for the price of one!  Looks like Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group have taken to double-day birding and well-rewarded with some very good sightings despite the strong winds.  Good to read that the Trumpeter Finches are being easily seen as I shall be up at Cabo de Gata in a fortnight's time.  And all being well the weather will have improved with some delightful sunshine but, even better, calmer days!

Sierra de Maria   -   Wednesday 30th January

I picked up Paul and Reyna and made our way to the Overa hotel where Paul and Kath were waiting in their car to follow us to Maria.  We passed the bird count starting point at the garage outside Velez Blanco, but only saw a Collared Dove before we arrived in Maria.  We were joined by John & Alan, who'd fared better when Alan had spotted a Booted Eagle.
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We decided to take the loop road from near the La Piza entrance towards the village of Canada de Canepla and beyond.  We saw a large flock of Chaffinch followed by Carrion Crows, a Raven, and singles of Spotless Starling and Crested Lark.  As we approached the village there was a small flock of Goldfinch.  After the village we had small numbers of Calandra Lark and Magpie, but a good flock of Corn Bunting.  Also seen were Linnet, House and Rock Sparrow.
Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We back-tracked past the village and turned right onto the loop road.  We stopped by the reed bed, half of which had been destroyed by fire, whether accidentally or deliberately, I don't know, since Paul and I were here last week.  It will regenerate in time.  We did see a Moorhen!  Reyna then spotted some Griffon Vultures, some of which came quite low and close.  Also seen were Greenfinch and Red-legged Partridge.  I spotted a Blue Rock Thrush on top of the cliff face.  Paul spied a Kestrel.  As we departed Paul found a Black Wheatear and some Sardinian Warblers.  As we were approaching the hamlet from the opposite direction, we saw a flock of birds in a ploughed field. Mostly White Wagtails, but at least two Meadow Pipits.  Alan had seen a Black Redstart.  At the hamlet we added Thekla Lark.  Paul also saw a Woodpigeon.
Record shot of Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus through the bar window (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
It was then time to head for La Piza for lunch.  I'd bought a supply of peanuts for the feeders but they were already half-full.  We saw all the common Tits.....Blue, Coal, Crested, Great and Long Tailed.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker came a-calling as did a Jay.  After lunch we headed home, apart from John and Alan who made a quick visit to the chapel area before the Botanical Gardens.  On the way back to Maria we all saw a small group of low flying Griffon Vultures.  Alan and John added Cirl Bunting, Mistle Thrush and Blackbird to the list.
Jay Garrulus glandarius (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
38 species in all. Thank you to Kath for being scribe for the day. Great company.
Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales  -  Thursday 31st January

On this second consecutive day of birdwatching as requested by my friend, Paul (Groves).   It started with me picking up the other Paul and Reyna and heading south towards Cabo de Gata.  We'd already seen White Wagtail, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Black Redstart and Magpie by the time we'd reached Pujaire.  Paul and Neville were already having a coffee in the cafe as we, and Peter and Alec, arrived.  As forecasted, there was high winds, but are we fair weather birders?  Never!  We headed for the first hide.  There were as usual plenty of Greater Flamingos.  A Little Egret was to our left and 5 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding in front of the hide.  Another small flock joined them.  Three small birds flew past with a slightly pinky beige colouring.  Trumpeter Finches.  I spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike perched just beyond the right hand stone wall.  Paul (G) then spotted an Eurasian Curlew walking near to the water line in front of us.  I found a Water Pipit walking on the yellow floating weeds to the left.
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We drove round to the beach across from the second hide.  High winds meant large waves.  We sea-watched for a bit without success.  A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over as we walked towards the hide.  Knowing where the Spoonbills had previously been seen, I checked the small island opposite and sure enough half a dozen or more were there. as was some Yellow-legged Gulls.   Paul (G) found a Redshank and Mallard.  A male Stonechat showed well atop a shrub in front of us.  A pair of Greenfinch perched briefly to our right.  We tacked back to the vehicles and seeked the shelter of the enclosed public hide.  In front of it was a line of mostly Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but there were also half a dozen Audouin's Gulls.  Later Paul noticed two Mediterranean Gulls had joined them.  A Sardinian Warbler flew past.  

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
There were small flocks of Shelduck on the water and I spotted a couple of Cormorant on the far left causeway.  Paul (G) checked out the waders to the right and found small numbers of Sanderling, Dunlin, Avocet and Black-winged Stilt.  I found a distant Greenshank. We left the area using the track to the church, seeing the odd Stonechat on the way.  As we waited for the others to catch up we saw an adult Gannet fly by quite close to the shore.  We drove back along the beach road, stopping once to check out a Meadow Pipit.
Stonechat Saxicola torquatus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
The wind speed had increased as we drove along the beach-side track towards the Rambla Morales. We added Thekla Lark and Corn Bunting en route.   The wind pushed us towards the "hump".  Once up there a quick scan produced Coot, Shoveler and about a dozen White-headed Ducks.  I spotted a raft of 20 Wigeon, a good record here.  We struggled back to the cars against the wind and getting sand-blasted as well.  We headed for the warmth and shelter of the pasteleria opposite the new BP petrol station.  Through the window we added Spotless Starling and Kestrel to complete the list.
39 species in total.  The winter cobwebs have definitely been blown away! 
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you, Ann Smith, wife of Trevor, passed away on Monday. I'm sure you'll join me in expressing our sincere condolences to Trevor and the rest of the family.
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Sanderlings Correlimos Tridactilo Caladris alba
Tuesday 29 January

Up in the dark as Jenny having to leave early so I was a t the Guadalhorce reserve at daybreak (7.55) in the hope that the visiting Scoters might still be about.  Upon arrival the Cormorants were in the process of heading out and a few Herons were noted.  From the footbridge over the western canal I noted the local Rock Doves and a couple of Coots on the water.  passing over I was in time to see a female Marsh Harrier land in the meadow to the right, Would have preferred it to be a Short-eared Owl on the way to bed (!), but no such luck.  A Blackbird flew across the track in front of me and then I was at the first hide.

The Laguna Casillas held a dozen Coot and a dozen Pochard and then I noted the lone Little Grebe. A couple of Mallard drifted in to sight and a male Sardinian Warbler landed in front of me.  On to the Wader Pool with a Hoopoe recorded and from the hide I counted 20 Black-winged Stilts plus a another pair of mallard and a similar number of teal.  Just the one Black-tailed Godwit with a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls passing over before the arrival of the hordes of screaming Monk Parakeets making their way towards the city.  But only the single White Wagtail working the water edges.

Moving on down to the Sea Watch I picked up both Common and Green Sanpiper in the old river ( Rio Viejo) along with more Black-winged Stilts and another Black-tailed Godwit.  Diligent use of the hide found a single Little Ringed Plover and then it was time to scope the sea, not helped by the bright, low level, early morning sun.  No scoters to be seen but there were a number of gulls including Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls and a handful of fishing Cormorants.

The return journey and onwards to the Laguna Escondida produced a small flock of Serin and Greenfinches and a female Shoveler had arrived at the wader Pool.  Also present were a trio of Spanish birders that I recognised and they informed me that, at about 8 o'clock, they had seen three Velvet in the company of three Common Scoters way off the beach further west in front of the hotel.  No need to guess where I would be heading upon leaving the immediate site!

Distant record shot of the White-headed Ducks Malvasia cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala

Wonderful surprise upon arriving at the Escondida, not the roosting Booted Eagle but the return of White-headed Ducks with two pairs at the far end.  Also a couple of Little Grebes and a quartet of Coot plus a MoorhenChiffchaffs were playing about in the bushes as they had been at previous hides and a number of Crag Martins were feeding overhead.

Well-concealed Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus

As usual, plenty to see at the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.  A reduced number, but still plenty, of Cormorant and a single Little Egret along with a number of Spotless Starling s but also at least five Common Starlings

Total of five Common Starlings Estornio Pinto Sturnus vulgaris with tehor native cousins
Two Greenshanks and 23 Sanderlings increased the wader numbers plus another Black-tailed Godwit and Green Sandpiper.  More Black-winged Stilts.  A second Booted Eagle was seen resting away to me left.  Out on the water itself 13 Black-necked Grebes in a tight pack plus a couple of Little Grebes on the other side of the water.  Shoveler numbers were much reduced from my last visit.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia

Before leaving a couple of Collared Doves alighted in the trees to my left and right at the back a Peregrine Falcon took up residence in one of the large, bare trees.  Making my way back to the car I quickly added a Meadow Pipit and on the stony bank near the exit a number of Black Redstarts and a single Great Tit.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa with Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Within five minutes I had driven to the hotel just west of the reserve and taken my scope to the promenade overlooking the sea.  Scope up and started by looking from slightly west of the bright sunlight drawing a line across the sea.  Almost immediately I found the scoters and, in the event, the bright sunshine was a help as it seemed to reflect off the white patches on the three Velvet Scoter heads.  Nevermind three, my count revealed at least 27 Common Scoters, all tightly packed and slowly drifting or being pushed westwards by the strong wind.  Almost impossible to see with just the bins but, nevertheless, I took many seascapes in the hope that I might just pick up a record shot of the scoter flock.  I even added House Sparrow before setting of for home to bring the morning's (three hours) total up to 45 species.

"Seascape." And if only I had gone further right I might have obtained a record shot of the 3 Velvet Scoters Melanitta fusca and 27 Common Scoters Melanitta nigra!
Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch.

Most of the Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Caladris alba with a couple of Black-winged Stilts Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus

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

Monday 28 January 2019

Cranes at Rest(ish)

Monday 28 January

Lots of photographs taken last Tuesday on my visit to Laguna Dulce where we found the large flock of Cranes Grus grus.  The previous Saturday there had been as many as 1000 feeding on the fields behind the laguna whereas on this occasion there were, perhaps, only about 4 to 500 and they seemed to be settling down on flooded fields behind the main road opposite the water.  As always, there was the odd family to be found in the neighbouring area but we did get quite close to a spread flock of about forty as we made our way back to Fuente de Piedra so a few closer shot.  It certainly meant that you could see the red foreheads of the adults and the brown-like hue of their offspring.

Our lad's already bigger than both of us!

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

Osuna with John & Jenny

Saturday 26 January

It would appear that whilst I was looking for the Allen's Gallinule on Saturday John and Jenny Wainwright were over near Osuna looking for Great Bustards and judging by John's report, unlike me, they were successful with good views of many individuals. And also rewarded with lots of raptors, especially Red Kites.

Osuna: 27th January

A very overcast and chilly day, although brighter later.

We started off in the fog this morning and it wasn´t until we got close to our exit at km80, that the fog had started to lift. We then logged  Red Kite, Ravens, three Buzzards, Collard Doves, Spotless Starlings and of course White Wagtails. We stopped for coffee at km 80. then headed down the Lantejuela road. The first sighting was of a male Marsh Harrier over the olive groves, then a Red Kite. Lots of White Wagtails about, on the road and in the fields. 

A few Raven were noted as turned off the road prior to the second bridge and scanning the fields here a Peregrine Falcon was spotted on top of a clod of earth.  Up and over the bridge, Jenny spotted a group of at least fifteen Great Bustards skulking in the olive grove to our far right. We decided to follow the track down to see if there were any more about and after about 400 metres another group of twenty birds were spotted. We got some distant photos of them but they took off and headed out into the newly tilled fields. As we headed back for the main road we saw Corn Buntings, Stonechats, Red-legged Partridges and Crested Tits.

Group of 25 Great Bustards Otis tarda (PJHOTO: John Wainwright)
Moving onto the third bridge we then logged three Little Bustards as they flew into the crops to our front and promptly disappeared from view, her also we saw Common Kestrel, Chaffinch and Chiffchaffs.

We then headed for the "Roller" ruin, down the track we saw more Ravens, two Black Kites, two Buzzards, a Hoopoe and yet more Stonechats and Corn Buntings.  No luck here as there were at least seven vehicles and several guns about in the fields.

So we headed for the flooded fields alongside the new railway track. Here we logged Little Ringed Plovers and one Kentish Plover, at least forty Golden Plovers and the same amount of  Lapwings, several Meadow Pipits and large numbers of White Wagtails. Looking under the bridge we noted forty three White Storks, more Lapwings and one Common Snipe, while under the bridge itself Rock Doves were nesting. 

As we headed back along the new railway track another three Little Bustards flew over, then another Red Kite, and a female Marsh Harrier, while in the bushes Spanish and House Sparrows were seen as well as a Sardinian Warbler, a Greenfinch, Black Redstarts, Goldfinches, Azure-winged Magpies and more Corn Buntings.

Still, good to know there are at least thirty five Great Bustards roaming the fields and olive groves.

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

Saturday 26 January 2019

El Fondo with Dave & Company

Saturday 26 January

Whilst I was relatively near home in search of the Allen's Gallinule, my friend Dave Elliott-Binns was off at the crack of dawn for yet another visit to the El Fondo reserve near Elche, Alicante.  Lots of great birds recorded an so pleased to read that at least one marbled Duck is on site and, perhaps, leading to a successful breeding season.

El Fondo, Elche   -   Saturday 26th January

Up at stupid o'clock in time to pick Kevin up from the Overa Hotel at 05.45hrs.  Sadly Paul and Reyna had car trouble so had to cancel. We headed north and stopped at the Cox service station for coffee.  We made our way to the North Gate of the El Fondo reserve seeing Jackdaw and Blackbird on the way.  We were first in the queue to gain entry. Whilst waiting for the ranger to arrive, we started birdwatching.  Chiffchaff were feeding in the trees nearby. Cormorants, Magpies, Spotless Starlings all flew past.  We heard a Green Woodpecker.  We were let into the reserve at about 08.15 and parked up. We trudged our way towards the first elevated hide.  We had fly overs by Marsh Harrier, Lapwings, Glossy Ibis and Kestrel.  Kevin spotted a Hoopoe.  We heard Cetti's Warbler.  We climbed the steps up to the hide and scanned the distant palm trees, hoping to see a Spotted Eagle, but alas, no.  There were lots of Shoveler on the water.  Kevin spotted some Teal as well.  Behind us were over 100 Lapwing at rest.  There were numerous Little Grebes together with Black-necked Grebes.  Also seen were Coot, Black-winged Stilt, White Wagtail and Stonechat.  I then noticed a line of White Headed Duck swimming in from the left hand side.  I counted 215 birds.  Amazing!  Kevin found some Red Crested Pochard.  Some Common Pochard also flew in.
We then walked down to the next hide. Here we added Snipe and Sardinian Warbler.  The next hide we saw 100+ Greater Flamingo fly past.  A pair of Gadwall flew in.  As we headed to the second last hide, the large elevated one, a fast flying small falcon flashed past us...a Merlin. 
Up on the hide we had good views over the waters and reeds in front of us.   To start with we only saw Coot and Little Grebe.  Eventually Kevin spotted an egret flying to our right.  A Great White Egret, closely followed by a second.  One landed in front of the far reeds.  A Spanish birder spotted a Kingfisher.  Numerous flights of 12 or 13 Glossy Ibis flew past, as did a Grey Heron.  I then spotted 8 distant large birds flying in our general direction.  They didn't come close but we identified them as Common Crane.

Great White Egret Egretta alba (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
The final hide didn't produce anything apart from a couple of Cormorants so we began to head back. Missing out the elevated hide, we went to the next one.  After seeing a number of Robin in the same location, at last an adult Bluethroat made an appearance!  We also had our first Moorhen of the day. The next hide added Avocet and Shelduck to the list.  Most of the wildfowl had moved away from the reeds to the deeper open water. It was one huge raft of between 5 - 10,000 birds.  Heading back to the exit we saw a flock of 100+ Glossy Ibis.

Just visible Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
The time approaching 11.30 hrs we were released by the ranger and headed to the information centre. As we got out of the truck, I spotted a Booted Eagle.  The pool by the car park gave us more Coot, Moorhen and another Snipe.  The enclosed pool by the picnic table area added three Red-knobbed Coot.  I managed to spot a single Marbled Duck resting in the reeds near to a Purple Swamphen.  We also had a House Sparrow and male Black Redstart.  We walked along the raised wooden walkway. Had good views of two Purple Swamphen, a distant view of a first winter Bluethroat and our first Mallard.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
We walked to the furthest hide first and only added a Yellow-legged Gull.   The penultimate hide was better.  A Green and a Wood Sandpiper were right in front of it.  A pair of Glossy Ibis were preening nearby.  

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
Kevin spied a Little Egret and I got a Water Pipit.  The Spanish birder who'd seen the Kingfisher earlier found two more in the reeds beside the water filled ditch next to the hide.  There was also another Little Egret there. 

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
We then headed for a bar for lunch, seeing an Iberian Grey Shrike and Serin on the way.  Tummies full, we headed south, stopping at my friends house between Lorca and Puerto Lumbreres.  In the past weeks, up to 8 Long Eared Owls had been roosting in their garden.  Over the last few days the numbers had decreased.  Today we saw the last remaining two.

Long-eared Owl Asio otus (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
These made our total for the day 55 species.  A cracking day with a good mate.  Good weather as well!

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

Nerja - and what a surprise!

Saturday 26 January

Off to Nerja this morning along with Derek and Barbara Etherton and Jerry and Barbara Laycock in search of the visiting Allen's Gallinule.  Much searching up and down the lower River Chillar on both sides but no luck.  The bird was last reported two days so it may have departed, either by natural means or via the stomach of one or more of the numerous cats that we saw!  However, not all bad news in that we managed to record at least 25 species including a first (female) Reed Bunting for the year, not a common species out here, and then a Wryneck which hung around for almost half an hour giving good views.

Almost as soon as we arrived on site we had both White and Grey Wagtail along with House Sparrows and then a Common Sandpiper.  A number of Blackbirds were busy feeding and drinking whilst above a steady movement of Rock and Collared Doves along with Spotless Starlings.

Common Sandpiper Andarrios Chico Actitis hypoleucos

The occasional Greenfinch was seen and then both Goldfinch and Robin.  A Blackcap was taking advantage of what looked like a leaking water pipe to actually take a shower!

Blackcap Curruca Capirotada Sylvia atricapilla taking a shower!

Working our way back up stream Derek and I were watching a female Reed Bunting when attracted by Barbara (Etherton) who had  found a Wryneck.  What a lovely surprise as the bird seemed faithful to the immediate area for almost half an hour and was still present when we were joined by Ricky Owen and Kevin Wade, both of whom had also driven up from south of Marbella to try and locate the Allen's Galinule.

Distant shots of the Wryneck Torcecuello Euroasiatico Jynx torquilla
A Cetti's Warbler suddenly started "shouting" its presence and then we were also made aware of the numerous Chiffchaffs feeding in the bushes and trees below.  Sardinian Warbler were seen and then a pair of Linnet.  Lovely to see the Serins with the males looking very handsome in their fine, yellow livery and one could not help but be deafened by the Great Tit singing above us.

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis

Two Meadow Pipits near the water and then a pair of Stonechats.  making our way home we even had a Little Egret upstream of the road bridge.

Linnet Pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina
Birds seen:
Little Egret, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull,Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Wryneck, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

Great Tit Carbonero Comun Parus major

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

Delights of Andalucian Birding

Record shot of Red-breasted Merganser Serreta Mediana Mergus serrator
Friday 25 January

Following a request received through Birding Pal I had the pleasure and privilege of introducing a visiting American birder to the delights of three of my favourite birding sites in Andalucia.  A very early retired attorney from Baton Rouge,Louisiana, Tammeryn has spent much time in the States, and other countries, improving her birding skills and is here on a Spanish tour based on Madrid.  Perhaps a future visit to our region might introduce Tammeryn to the delights of the Donana National Park and the Odiel Marshes.  However, Tammeryn arrived a week ahead of schedule so that she could spend some time in Andalucia and, at the same time, take in some of the local flavour during her five night stay in Malaga.  The following itinerary was agreed:

Tuesday afternoon:  Collect in the city centre then off to Laguna Dulce and Fuente de Piedra for the afternoon.
Wednesday:  Drive down to Cadiz so that, after taking in the Roman remains at Bolonia, we could spend some time at Barbate
Thursday:  A full day in La Janda

Lots to see and lots of driving but by the time we returned to Malaga at 7pm on the Thursday I think we had seen all our target birds other than a Spanish Imperial Eagle whilst in La Janda.  Also, probably because the vast amount of water at Fuente de Piedra, we were unable to find an Avocet.  On the other hand we did find the Red-breasted Merganser, Lesser Kestrel, a first Barn Swallow of the year, Great White Egret and a range of raptors including Griffon Vulture, Osprey, Marsh and Hen Harrier, Black Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Buzzard and Common Kestrel.

Just a few of the Cranes Grulla Comun Grus grus
Other notable sightings included Golden Plover, scores of Glossy Ibis, a score of Spoonbill, Grey Plover, Kentish and Ringed Plover, Redshank along with a Stone Curlew and a number of Audouin's Gulls at Barbate and La Janda.  Laguna Dulce produced a flock of about 400 Cranes but thousands at La Janda.

Lapwing Avefra Europea Vanellus vanellus

Flamingos at Fuente de Piedra plus ducks including White-headed, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler and Common Pochard but no doubt the highlight of the Laguna Dulce was getting up close to the flock of about 400 Cranes.

White-headed Ducks Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala
No doubt the Red-breasted Merganser and Grey Plover were probably the highlight at Barbate along with a number of Sandwich Tern at Los Lances beach.  On the other hand, in the late afternoon it was lovely to see the tightly-packed flock of about 50 Flamingos.  Then, of course, there was the search for the Bald Ibis.  Not seen at the marshes and a visit to Barca de Vejer revealed the nesting site but too early for the birds to be nesting.  So, as a final resort, a stop at the local golf course.  Despite looking everywhere and turning round in the far car park still no Bald Ibis.  The, as we set off for our overnight hotel, Tammeryn said, "Stop!  back up a little."  From the first tee we looked down the fairway to the and bunker and, sure enough, Tammeryn had seen the dark silhouette actually down in the bunker and we were able, at last, to get a distant view of a Bald Ibis.

Distant Bald Ibis Ibis Eremita Geronticus eremita in the bunker
Not content, Tammeryn took a walk don the adjacent path towards said bunker and came back with closer photographs.  It turned out that the Bad Ibis that was now out of the bunker was a second individual.. Also from her position she could see a hidden pool on which a number of Mallards were dabbling and up against the fence in the reeds a further nine Bald Ibis.  Do they roost in the reeds?

Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis
Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia
Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus

Having found one we then found very many Red-legged partridge plus a few Pheasants at La Janda which also produced the range of raptors referred to above plus Purple Swamphen and both Common and Green Sandpiper.  One of our memories of this visit will be taking to the water.  Having driven down the avenue towards the "smelly farm"which holds the Cattle Egret breeding site and crossed the bridge we were confronted by the lake across the track.  No way we could follow the dry stretch to the left as the steepness of the bank would surely have turned the car over.  Five minutes spent trying to fathom the depth of the water and we had seen no other vehicle since the single 4 x 4 that passed us upon first arriving on site.  Did this mean that we were lucky in that there were no other birders present or the others knew that the track was impassible?  Eventually we decided to turn round and take the long way round to Benalup and approach from the far side.  Half-way down the avenue I noticed that a car was approaching form behind so stopped, got out and spoke to the driver.  He and his passenger insisted that the road was passable; keep to the water and drive to the left, my usual tactic.

Bathing time for Corn Bunting Triguero Emberiza calandra (right) and Linnet pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina

Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinerea

So, turn round again and approach the lake, engage second gear, wind up the windows, check that the tractor was still working in the field about 800 metres away and go for for it at a steady, consistent speed.  Great way to clean the underside, side panels and almost the roof!  But we made it which also meant that, having birded, we could return the same way!  And then of course, the return part of this drive produced Black Kites, Booted Eagle, a lovely male Hen Harrier, Black-shouldered Kite and so on. By the way, bare in mind that my car is NOT a 4 x 4!

Record shot of Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus

Many of the species recorded will appear more than once as I list the species sen on individual days.

Tuesday Birds:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe,  Great Crested Grebe, Cattle Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.

White-headed Ducks Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala on the marsh - or swim!

Wednesday Birds:
Mallard, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-legged Partridge, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Bald Ibis, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Collared Dove, Stone Curlew, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Calandra Lark,  Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Audouin's Gulls Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii

Thursday Birds:
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Griffon Vulture, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Crane, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Black Redstart,  Stonechat,  Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting. 

Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia
All in all, a final total of 80 species.  A most enjoyable two and a half days and I trust that Tammeryn was able to take some pleasant memories away with her.

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