Monday 3 February 2020

Gone West - Day Two

Monday 3 February

A travelling day of today's birding.  After a thirty minute stop at the back of Barbate it was on to La Janda for the morning before travelling on to tonight's stop at Chipiona on the mouth of the great Rio Guadalquivir.  Just before arriving time for some birding in the Bay of Cadiz and even a brief stop at Bonanza on the half-chance that I might get a sighting of the visiting Allen's Gallinule - I didn't.   Cloudless skies, hardly a breeze and  a high of 25C made it a very hot day after the recent cool days.

Much the same at Barbate with a good number of Audouin's Gulls and more Stone Curlews.  In addition to the Herons I also had a pair of Great White Egrets whilst no shortage of Kentish Plovers in front of me on the damp soil; does this part of the scrape ever get covered with water now that the fish pools have had raised banks added?

Also present a few Ringed Plovers, a Redshank plus Lesser Black-backed Gulls albeit I did find a quartet of Mallard to my right and more Meadow Pipits on the grass and Crested Larks on the track behind me.

Last pf the mixed group of Cranes and White Storks - along with the odd Heron

Moving on to La Janda I recorded my first Collared Doves of the day plus a good number of Cattle Egret and then started off down the entrance track with many Stonechat and more Crested Larks. A Red-legged Partridge was exploring the ditch at the side of the track but very little else other than the first of very many Little Egrets until I reached the remaining mixed flock of White Storks and Cranes.  Finding a flock of 32 sleeping Spoonbill was rather lovely and the following fields, in addition to Herons and Little Egrets contained a good number of Lapwing.  A Barn Swallow was feeding above the canal and then a large party of Jackdaws.  Again, no shortage of White Wagtails.

A few of the sleeping Spoonbills

The first Kestrels put in an appearance along with the first of a few Marsh Harriers seen during the morning.  Cetti's Warblers in the reeds and then the first of three Buzzards.  

Female Kestrel
Working my way up to he smelly farm and beyond I found jut the one Pheasant but a few high Griffon Vultures and then a pair of Raven.  Loads of Feral Pigeon at the farm, and indeed at all four sites, but also a couple more Collared Doves.  Both Chaffinch and Goldfinch as I made my way down the lane between the trees and many more Cattle Egrets with the young stock as I dropped down to the valley below.  The drive along the sandy track between the paddy fields produced numerous Linnet, a Great White Egret and also a Green Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Lapwing in the wet area.  A couple of Common Starlings were found among the score or more Spotless Starlings.

Cattle Egret
Having enjoyed my picnic lunch I mad my way towards Cadiz and approaching the Bay of Cadiz had my first Flamingos of he day.  With the Visitors Centre closed I took advantage of an almost empty car park at the southern end of the Isla de Leon where, having been welcomed by a Magpie and couple of Stonechat, I found very many water birds.  Just a few Mallards and Black-winged Stilts but over 500 Avocet and probably 200 Black-tailed Godwits.

Many of the 500 or more Avocet

Other waders included Redshank, Sanderling, Kentish Plover and Turnstone with a good number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the back of the water.  There were Audouin's Gulls in the main water and on the sore more White Wagtails. The occasional Barn Swallow was seen and as I left I recorded both House Sparrow and Wood Pigeon.  A little further on making my way to the end of the bay I also added Little Egret, Cormorant and White Stork.

Purple Swamphen
Being ahead of schedule and passing with a few kilometres of Sanlucar on way to Chipiona I made a slight deviation to see if I could find the visiting Allen's Gallinume at Bonanza.  No sign during my thirty minute visit but the ponds held plenty of Moorhen and Coot plus a single Purple Swamphen.  Also on the op en waters a number of White-headed Duck and a few Little Grebe.  The far bank held a Green Sandpiper and I even found a pair of Mallard.  Smaller birds included a number of Cetti's Warblers, Chiffchaff, Common Waxbill, Blackbird and House Sparrows.  And, naturally, more Barn Swallows were recorded.

The newly-wedded White-headed Ducks
So what will tomorrow bring?  Will I find the elusive Allen's Gallinule and the reported Lesser Flamingo?  Time will tell.

Cranes - soon to depart northwards

Birds seen:
Mallard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge. Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Griffon Vulture, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Crane, Stone Curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Turnstone, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.

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