Saturday 12 October 2019

Birding Seville & Huelva Province: Day Three

Iberian Grey Shrike Alcaudon Real Lanius meridionalis
Day Three:  9 October - Castro Marim and Tavira Salinas

Portugal day!  Within thirty minutes we had cross the Guadiana and Spanish border to arrive at the Castro Marim reserve on the western bank of the river.  having already seen a Robin as we left our resort we looking forward to a selection of passerines.  Crested Lark and a few Common and Azure-winged Magpies as we awaited Gerry and Barbara then quickly added maybe thirty or more Red-legged Partridge.  A distant Heron and Cattle Egret and a small flock of Greenfinch passed by.  In the distance below the brow of the hill a passing quartet of Mallard and a quartering Marsh Harrier.

One of a dozen Red-legged Partridge Perdiz Roja Alectoris rufa

Moving slowly onwards up the track a number of Redshank were seen in the various lagoons and a pair of Hoopoe crossed in front of us so revealing a lovely Northern Wheatear.

Northern Wheatear Collalba Gris Oenanthe oenanthe

Also present were Black-winged Stilts and both Common and Green SandpipersKestrels overhead along with Spotless Starlings as we made our way to the Visitors Centre.  No water in the screened pool  so off towards the salinas where we found a mixed flock of Bar and Black-tailed Godwit along with Ringed Plover and Sanderling

Black-tailed Godwits Aguja Colinegra Limosa limosa
 A couple of pools up the main flock of Flamingo and at least forty Avocet and as we checked out the gull flocks we found Black-headed, Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and a trio of Common Gulls.  Accompanying them were also at least three resting Caspian Terns. Our attention was also drawn to what looked very much like a sick Marsh Sandpiper.  A Cormorant flew past and then, closer to hand, we added Sardinian Warbler, Collared Dove and more Azure-winged Magpies.  Returning to the main road to check out the working salinas below the town we added White Stork and Moorhen.

Turnstone Vuelvepiedras Comun Arenaria interpres

And so onto the main salinas at Tavira where we were spoilt for choice in both quantity and variety.  Little Stint and many White Stork and then we found a good supply of feeding Little Egret and HeronTurnstones were working the edges along with Sanderling and Ringed Plover and with both Zitting Cistcola and Blackcap behind us.  Stopping for lunch we discovered a single Slender-billed Gull in the pool below us whilst on the other side of the track we had a small flock of Cormorant and Little Grebe working the waters plus a couple of Shelduck.  Once more back to the mixed gull flock and this time a trio of Mediterranean Gulls were recorded along with a small number of Audouin's Gull

Audouin's Gull Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii (centre right)

Almost some sort of record with seven gull species in the morning!  Then the Caspian Tern flew over and we also picked up a small number of Grey Plover.

Grey Plover Chorlito Gris Pluvialis squatarola (left) with Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus
Leaving the salinas we made our way to the water separating us from the long, narrow island for a rest and well-deserved beer.  And then the real fun started.  Not so much the four Turnstones that came to rest on the boat immediately in front of us or even the Whimbrel but the realisation that the gulls had be put up by a passing Osprey which having flown directly over us then turned and headed inland.  No sooner had we recovered and only just expressed the comment that we had yet toss this raptor all week than both Sandwich and Common Tern also put in an appearance.  Well refreshed and inspired we set out for home picking up Coot, Wood Pigeon and a Barn Swallow on the wires as we left the site.

A gathering of Spoonbills Espatula Comun Platalea leucorcdia

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