Thursday 30 April 2020

Scores of Swifts

Thursday 30 April

All shops shut tomorrow so a walk down to the newsagent to get the weekly paper and then Lidl via the beach promenade.  Immediately House Sparrows and Rock Doves but the biggest surprise was the number of male Blackbirds.  By the time I returned form my usual route I must have recorded well over a dozen individuals, and all males.  Yet again I notice that the dog walkers seem to include those who actually go out for a walk with a dog then relax on a bench whilst their "precious" runs around.  Even worse, arriving on the nearby footbridge I discover the other type of dog-walker whose idea of exercise is to stand on the beach and watch his animal chase the birds for want of pleasure and exercise - but only for the dog.  So not a single bird to be seen at the estuary.

Blackbird Mirlo Comun Turdus merula

Crossing the bridge I could see scores of Pallid Swifts above the apartment blocks swirling around the sky and visiting their respective nesting sites.  More Blackbirds and, of course, all the resident Monk Parakeets.  As I was walking to the newsagent with my shopping trolley, I passed my usual turn off for the direct route to Lidl's and no sooner done that a pair of moulting Black-headed Gulls on the beach followed by a single Mediterranean Gull.

Inland to the newsagent and then the walk back to the centre of Algarobbo Costa and Lidl's watching a score or more Common Swifts at their nest site plus at least a dozen House Martins who nest in properties behind the main street.  By way of variety on this occasion, I even recorded a couple of Spotless Starlings.  Yet more Blackbirds as I started on my return walk via the promenade along with the first Collared Dove of the morning.

Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula

And so back to my footbridge as I approached the urbanisation.  No intruders present so some of the birds had returned including double-figures of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a single Audouin's Gull.  Still lots of Pallid Swifts about and even a handful of Barn Swallows plus the occasional House Martin.  In the river itself below the bridge a White Wagtail made it usual undulating departure flight whilst a pair of Ringed Plovers foraged very close to the beach outlet to the sea.  But, best of all, my bird of the day must have been the Common Sandpiper which had turned up in time to be recorded on this month's list of species.

Common Sandpiper Andarrios Chico Actitis hypoleucos
Birds seen:Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

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

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Algarrobo Costa

Monday 27 April

Funny old sort of day; sunny, relatively calm with light waves on the sea but not that warm in the morning.  But we are promised, at last, better weather towards the week-end with the temperatures rising to the high eighties and, from Saturday, we are even allowed out of the house to visit our communal garden.  Very much in need of stretching my legs and stiff from working on the computer updating the Family Tree, so decided to take the longer walk down to Caleta and visit Aldi's for my preferred chocolate bars and see what is about.  See if there are any copies of Friday's free paper in English still at the newsagent (there were not) and back from Lidl's via my usual return route along the front, probably just over two miles in total.

Leaving the house I immediately recorded House Sparrow, Blackbird and Rock Dove and approaching the footbridge a Barn Swallow swooped past me.  However, once on the bridge not a single gull in sight, neither on land nor sea.  A few marauding Monk Parakeets and a Collared Dove but, using the bins, I did manage to identify the moving "shape" as a Dunlin with a close-by White Wagtail.  Once at the far side of the bridge I watched maybe as many as a dozen Monk Parakeets feeding or stripping twigs from a very green bush but by the time I got the small camera out most had disappeared.

Only two of the 20 plus Monk Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus remaining

Walking past the high apartment blocks lots of feeding Pallid Swifts around the tops and even lower down once at my usual turn off inland to Lidl's.  However, on this occasion I was continuing all the way down to Caleta and the entry harbour to the fish dock.  Once under way a near view of a single Mediterranean Gull with its head still "spotty" and then a further two resting on the beach with a quartet of Audouin's Gulls.  Very close and just a shame that I did not have the main camera with me.  Finally, the harbour beach only contained a handful of Yellow-legged Gulls plus a quintet of feeding Sanderling.

Audouin's Gulls gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii
So inland to do the shopping then walk back up along the main road for the newspaper and on towards the centre of Algarrobo Costa.  More Barn Swallows and then the local House Martins plus the Common Swifts had returned to the long-standing abandoned building shell they use as a nesting colony.

The final part of the return journey revealed nothing new and, indeed, hardly a bird of any description.  Once back on the footbridge both the previous small birds had disappeared but there was a Ringed Plover exploring the river's edge below the upstream side of the bridge and the Audouin's Gulls had moved eastwards from their previous position and were now at the river's mouth.  A little further out on the sea itself a few Lesser Black-blacked Gulls had come to rest on the water.  And so to the house with a total of 17 species recorded.

Too late to capture the quintet of Sanderling!
Birds seen:
Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, Mediterranean Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, House Sparrow.

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

Thursday 23 April 2020

More Algarrobo Costa

Thursday 23 April

The latest walk to the shops and what better day than the Queen's birthday plus also that of William Shakespeare, who also died on the same day.  A calm stat and the sun peeping out from the slight cloud cover as I set off for Lidl's.  But, I thought, no bulky goods to purchase this morning so I'll take the proper camera as well as the binoculars in on the shopping trolley.  Great start as a Sardinian Warbler flew into the ground cover as I immediately stepped on to the pathway.  Then it was along the front encountering House Sparrow, Rock Dove and Monk Parakeet and up onto the footbridge to admire he gull roost.  But wait!  Upon arriving not a single bird to be seen; serves me right for bring the camera.  Looking all around me I did eventually locate both Common and Pallid Swifts high above the apartment blocks and over the river plus both Blackbird and a couple of Spotless Starlings.  As expected, the local Monk Parakeets were still collecting nesting material and the first of the morning's Collared Doves put in an appearance.

Somebody left food out for the Ferral Pigeons Columba livia and Monk Parakeets Cotorra Argentina Myiopsitta monachus

Having decided it being Thursday I might be in time to collect a copy of the weekly free paper in English, I continued another two hundred metres beyond my usual turning up to the main road so as to arrive almost outside the newsagent.  However, no sooner had I started my little diversion than I cam across a dozen or so resting gulls on the beach which turned out to be mainly Mediterranean and the odd lesser Black-backed Gull.  Not just more Pallid Swifts flying much lower near the the above roundabout but as I walked on past the gulls a trio of Sand Martins were making their ways eastwards along the waters edge.

Mediterranean Gull Gaviota cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus
So up to the main road, collect my paper and start the walk back to the supermarket.  Above the houses on both sides I saw the handful of feeding House Martins, later followed by more swifts plus a couple of Barn Swallows over the field near my destination.

Shopping completed and both camera and bins at the top of the trolley, it was back to the front and the return journey home.  I did stop on the bridge with its deserted shore line to take an appropriate photograph, see below, but in the process also picked up the movement near the river's terminal.  Bins out and yes, a pair of visiting Sanderlings to make a pleasant change form the usual birds seen on my weekly shop.

The present-day necessary "passport" to enable Spanish birding!
Then it was back home and from the bedroom terrace where I was able to watch the return of the fishing fleet towards Caleta harbour and managed to record Gannet, Cormorant and Yellow-legged Gull.

Birds seen:
Gannet, Cormorant, Sanderling, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

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

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Birding in Malaga City

Monday 20 April

You don't have to be cut off from the birding world living in a large city or town; but it certainly helps if you have a view of the mountains, sea or a park.  Indeed, you are far more likely to see more than me with my limited view of the sea!

Mixed flock of Gulls on the Misericordia beach in Malaga (PHOTO: Jacinto Villavilla)
Yesterday I had an email from my dear friend, Jacinto Villavilla who lives within sight of the Misericordia Beach in the city of Malaga which stretches from the centre of the city to the mouth of the Guadalhorce. I'm not sure where exactly Jacinto lives and whether or not he has an apartment overlooking the sea or access to a roof terrace but the beach can be seen.  And to his surprise and pleasure, not just the usual gathering of small flocks of mixed gulls on Sunday but he first found a small group of Mediterranean Gulls then a flock of 13 Greater Flamingos resting at the water's edge.  Ere long the flock moved off westwards to, perhaps, take shelter and feed in the Guadalhorce reserve itself, especially now that there is no access due to the Coronavirus shutdown, or maybe either working their way inland to Fuente de Piedra or far west along the coast towards the mighty Guadalquivir or even the Donana National Park itself plus also the gathering of large flocks at the Odiel river west of Huelva.

Greater Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus (PHOTO: Jacinto Villavilla)
So, the secret is to remain positive as there are birds to be seen everywhere.  Like me it maybe House Sparrows and Monk Parakeets with my resident Blackbirds and Sardinian Warblers throughout the year plus the arrival of Black Redstarts and White Wagtails for their winter holidays at the sea side, not to mention the regular over-flying, mainly, Mediterranean Gulls but, nevertheless, there are birds to be seen if you look.  And even if you say you only have House Sparrows, take a moment to listen to their happy chirping and watch their behaviour; certainly better than watching the television during the day and makes a relaxing rest from continuous reading and using the computer.

Mediterranen Gull Gaviota Cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus (PHOTO: Jacinto Villavilla)
Remember; stay safe, stay well but also stay happy and positive.  Sunshine will return and we shall all once again be able to go out birding.

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

Sunday 19 April 2020

Birding updates form here, there and everywhere!

Sunday 19 April

Lots to report today from all parts of Europe; Steve Powell's update from his home in Frigiliana, Birgit Fastrup just a mile or so away near the golf course, my little contribution now that the Mediterranean Gulls have decided to roost on the beach right in front of us.  Then I have a gorgeous photo from Sweden showing how friend Hans is coping with his lock down plus the latest from the UK, including some lovely photos of a Yellowhammer taken by our dear friend, Mick Richardson who has been back in Blighty now for almost a year but hopes to return here as soon as the lock down is lifted.  Very much looking forward to some birding with Mick when he gets back, hopefully before we make our summer pilgrimage back to the UK.  It all links in very nicely with new summer migrants arrivals, both here and in the UK.  So, where to start?
Steve Powell

Now that his returning House Martins are once more settled into their summer homes below the roof of his terrace, not only did Steve have the pleasure of rescuing a Common Swift from the pool last week, aiding its recovery and the successful release back into the wild but sent me a message last as follows:   Just had a Golden Orioles in the pine trees below our terrace, and Bee-eaters are flying around the house.  Nice.   I'm sure he got much pleasure from the sighting and also able to wind me up at the same time!

The recovering Common Swift Apus apus before successful release (PHOTO: Steve Powel)

Meanwhile, another close neighbour who lives near the golf course was able to send me the following message an hour or so ago.

Hola Bob!

Today I got a nice garden observation: pruning my pergola climbers, what did I suddenly spotted over my head: a fine specimen of Booted Eagle! That saved my day after the noisy bunch of sparrows making trouble in the hedge!

Camera of course not within reach!

Time to travel to the north of Europe where my friend Hans Borjesson sent me a photo of his scope overlooking the immediate countryside in Sweden.  Oh for the joys of actually being able to get out of the house.

What a view! (PHOTO: Hans Borjesson)
As for me, my view of the beach is decidedly restricted as can be seen from the photograph taken from the bedroom terrace.  On the other hand I did slip out down to the patio whilst all was quiet and noticed that the local Mediterranean Gulls had decided to use the immediate area on the beach in front for their daily roost.  So not all bad news then.

View inland from our home in Algarrobo Costa
View to the sea  from same balcony

The beach with roosting Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus
Close up of Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus
Meanwhile, back in the UK I was so pleased to see out dear friend, Mick Richardson is getting back to birding and posted a couple of great shots of the Yellowhammer he came across.

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella (PHOTO: Mick Richardson)
Something else we do not see in Andalucia; Bluebell woods(PHOTO: Mick Richardson)
Which brings me to the new arrivals both here and back in the UK.  The Pallid and Common Swifts are back in the nearby apartment blocks, not to mention we also have both local Barn Swallows and House Martins and my weekly walks to the supermarket produced a Whitethroat last Friday morning.  As above , we can also add Bee-eaters, Golden Oriole and I also had a Woodchat Shrike a couple of weeks ago.  And what with Derek reporting a male Crossbill from his terrace only to be trumped by Ricky's sighting of a Roller from his garden, it's time to head off to the UK.

In the UK birding is still going on during exercise periods but birders are concerned which side of the line they are actually on, and don't want to " dirty their own nests" and hence are reluctant to put information as to their movement into the public domain.  However, in summary, this is some of the exercise period birding.

7.5 miles walk in 3 hours with birds logged being Mute Swan, Canada Goose, etc ,which  includes  Raven ,a year tick for the exerciser, and also male Mandarin Duck, Oystercatcher, Wood Lark and Grey Partridge along with many Blackcaps and Chiffchaff and with first Whitethroat and Barn Swallows for the year.

So, as can be seen from the above, the birding world continues unabated and suggests that there is lots more to come.  We just have to be patient and soon will be back out and about again.  As Captain Tom would say, "There will be sunshine tomorrow."  Stay safe, stay well and stay happy and positive.

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

Friday 17 April 2020

Algarrobo Costa Update

Friday 17 April

All this sitting and reading or messing around on the computer all day, whether it be birding or family Tree, is beginning to take its toll and the legs feel cramped and tired; I really need to give them a good stretch even in these times of lock down in Spain which, unlike the UK, excludes personal exercise.  Well, what better way than to get hold of the wheeled trolley and take a walk to the local supermarket for a food shop.  Wheeled trolley?  Well one has to hide the binoculars somewhere even if the small Canon Ixus camera will fit in my trouser pocket.

Calm seas but an empty beach at the mouth of the Rio Algarrobo
So off to the beach and take the paseo along the front till I turn inland at the centre of Algarrobo Costa and the short walk up to Lidl's.  Couple of Rock Doves scaveging on the beach and the usual resident House Sparrows, Collared Doves and Monk Parakeets as I walk towards the small footbridge over the Rio Algarrobo - and still water coming down from the mountains.  Once at the top of the bridge I can see that the beach and estuary are deserted with just the one, solitary Audouin's GullMonk Parakeets flying around and gathering small twigs, etc and up above the apartment block in front I can see the recently-arrived Pallid Swifts exploring the potential nesting sites at the roofs edge.  Further up in the calm , slightly cloudy sky  a number of Common Swifts are also feeding on the wing before they continue to rise higher as the temperature creeps up towards the twenties.  As I move on I watch the single Cormorant flying westwards low over the water towards the harbour at Caleta.

As I approach the end of the paseo to make my turn inland I can see a mixed gull flock of approximately fifty individuals.  Mainly split between Black-headed and Yellow-legged but also a few Lesser Black-backed and a small number of Mediterranean Gulls.

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus (black cap) resting with Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus
Shopping completed and the bins stored on top of the food in the trolley I commence my return journey.  Still plenty of Monk Parakeets flying around and the gull flock is also present in front of me.  To their left, eastwards, a small handful of Mediterranean Gulls are nearer me and that moment i watch five Black-winged Stilts fly eastwards low over the water and swirl back before finally coming to rest alongside the gull flock.  Time to try and get a few in-light photos as well as their, relatively, distant rest.

The quintet of Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus fly westwards and then come to rest in the gull flock

Back at the footbridge I see that a small number of Black-headed Gulls have taken u residence and as I watch a single Barn Swallow flies westwards below me.  The swifts are now all out of site but a friendly Collared Dove comes to rest on the bridge rail to check if I might be the bearer of food; I am not.  Watching a few House Sparrows exploring the shrubs and weeds between me and the sea I then turn to look upstream but no birds are produced.  Then, just as I am about to store the bins back in the trolley, a brown shape make  a short flight between the bamboos below me on the eastern side of the bridge.  Not a House Sparrow, not quite big enough, but raising the bins I find the warbler and it remains just long enough for me to identify a female Whitethroat.  What a lovely way to end my shopping walk.

The optimistic Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Continuing on home with a self-satisfied smile on my face, I make the left turn to the house and there to welcome me home are the breeding pair of Blackbirds.  All I need now is discover where the resident Sardinian Warblers are nesting this year.

Back-headed Gulls Larus Larus ridibundus had returned to the mouth of the Rio Algarrobo

Birds seen:
Cormorant, Black-winged Stilt, Mediterranean Gull, Back-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, Blackbird, Whitethroat, House Sparrow.

Lesser Back-backed Gull Larus fuscus and friends

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

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Torrox Pueblo Bird Fair

Tuesday 14 April

As Christophe rightly says, if we look about us we can all enjoy our own private "Bird Fair."

Good morning, today's show of nature at the Bird Fair.  A fair that can be enjoyed every day of the year in Torrox Pueblo, as in all the Axarquia, and from home, a window like a terrace.  Excuse me for the quality of the Photos

Christope Dez, Torrox Pueblo

The dance of the hungry Kestrel Falco tinnunculus as he brings home the super for mum.

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

Saturday 11 April 2020

Algarrobo Cost latest

11 April 2020

Mouth of the Rio Algarrobo with a few resting Gulls
Now eight days since I last ventured out so with the supermarkets once more open for business was that usual walk along to front and then up to both local supermarkets, Mercadona and Lidl to stock up on food once again.  No sooner had I reached the front and I was seeing both the local Rock Doves and House Sparrows but there, resting on the zip wire right i front of me a pair of Barn Swallows.  And given that I could see resting gulls in front of me at the mouth of the Rio Algarrobo I moved on to the footbridge to take a closer look.

Barn Swallows Golondrina Comun Hirundo rustica

Yes, mainly Black-headed but also a few immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  meanwhile, the noisy Monk Parakeets were charging around collecting nesting materials (I wonder these birds do any actual egg-laying and raising broods as they keep up their nest building year round) and, at the same time, I also noted a couple of Spotless Starlings on the rubble below along with a departing Blackbird.

Gull mix on the beach

Returning my gaze back to the shore I noticed the distant very white bird passing low over the water and my binoculars confirmed an adult Gannet.  From the top of the bridge I was able to lift my eyes skywards and be rewarded with both Pallid and Common Swifts which have now returned their traditional nesting sites in the nearby tall apartment blocks.  Time to move on and the first Collared Doves of the morning recorded.  Just before leaving the beach paseo to turn in towards the supermarkets I also found a small group of Yellow-legged Gulls.

Lots of police about this morning checking cars to ascertain why they were out and about and even got stopped myself and asked to produce Passport or ID card.  Not too long in Mercadona as that was mainly the bread and frozen food requirements before setting off along the short back road to neighbouring Lidl to complete my purchases.  As I passed the fields above me on the left I could not help but notice the feeding Barn Swallows low over the field accompanied by the occasional House Martin and above them more Common Swifts.

Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo with a hair problem getting the once over from the neighbouring gulls

Shopping completed I made my way across the main car park to take the return journey back along the front and single White Wagtail dipped across in front of me.  Much of the same on the way back but, in addition, a dozen Audouin's Gulls had taken up residence on the beach along with more Mediterranean Gulls.  And on reaching the footbridge, the Lesser Black-backed Gulls had been joined by a single Cormorant.  Poor chap had not really got the idea of how to stretch out hos wings to dry off in the now warm sunshine.  Finally, a Collared Dove came to rest on the footbridge railing next to me and pleaded to have his photograph taken.  How could I refuse?

Our friendly Collared Dove Tortola Turca Streptopelia decaocto

Birds seen:
Gannet, Cormorant. Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

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

The Easter Bunny

11 April 2020

Interesting to receive an email from friends Pauline and John Horton this morning.  Unlike ourselves, they are "trapped" back in the UK and unable to make their usual visits to Andalucia and enjoy some excellent birding.  However, they, too, have undertaking some garden watching and how appropriate at this time of the year that they have managed to record an "Easter Bunny" along with a Short-tailed Field Vole.  Well, it's not just about birds!

The visiting "Easter Bunny" Oryctolagus cuniculus (PHOTO: Pauline Horton)

Short-tailed Field Vole Microtus agrestis (PHOTO: Pauline Horton)

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

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Who Needs Dedicated Birding Sites?

Wednesday 8 April

Good to see my birding friend AB back again and what a wonderful time he is having undertaking early morning exercise and so missing human contact but getting to see a good range of birds.  And the exercise is doing him no harm!  But also, I trust, a report full of interest and showing that the birds are still out there and awaiting our return.

Who needs dedicated birding sites: Tuesday 7 April

I had checked what I was doing during those now halcyon days of 2019, and on the 7th of April I was having a no doubt leisurely bird-filled outing, with probably coffee and cake at the Visitors Centre, to RSPB Budby South Common in Nottinghamshire, and my records showed that species seen included Crossbill, Woodlark, and Willow Warbler.  I must have chosen the Willow Warbler as my species of the day, would have been tricky.  However today’s “enforced in the name of fitness” march was unlikely to include views of such exotica, but as I had decide the Shrubbery lakes as my destination and had heard Woodlark there on my previous visit, one never knows.  (It is additionally an area that as far as I know is devoid of tigers, however I do have the feeling that this news item might be nonsense.)

You guys hunkered down in Spain might just “pin back your lug holes” and from your “prisons” hear some, to me, real exotica, like passing Bee-eater, and much more beside.  I experimented from my housing estate home and had no difficult “pinning” about 20 species by ear whilst doing mundane gardening/domestic tasks.

When I left home at 7am with not a cloud in the sky and hardly a breath of wind.  However, with the temperature just above freezing (and when I first reached the countryside there was a grass frost there), I was well wrapped up and within 10 minutes had donned gloves.

So off I went and I was soon seeing/hearing several species; Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock , House Sparrow, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Blackbird as I made my way “at speed” via pavements beside main roads, the noise from the road traffic making “birding by ear” difficult . In half an hour I had completed the first 3km and was able to turn off on to the lane where it was by comparison silent, and I will feel happier to have the binoculars out.

Greenfinch Carduelis carduelis  (PHOTO: Bob Wright
I had been just been able to discern the odd Skylark earlier during lulls in the traffic, but now the full joy of their calls filled the air.  Ahead I could hear Yellowhammer and both these species were going to be my companion during most of the rural part of my wanderings.  However, with the only sighting of the later species that I recall being a male flying just above hedge height.

A couple of Pied Wagtail busied themselves in a ploughed field.  In the small “duck pond” over the hedge a couple of male Mallard, a Coot or two, and a Grey-lag Goose with its head tucked in.
I was warming up and gloves had been removed and the zip of my outer jacket pulled down, but also birding was warming up.  As I approached the small wood adjacent to, and on the right hand side of the track, I could first hear Chiffchaff, and then Blackcap and, oh yes, my first Willow Warbler of the year.  Stepping away from the wood to the very left of the track, and just avoiding the ditch, I searched for it and despite it being to the top of the trees, and obviously moving to the right, I couldn’t see it however comforting myself in so far as the most reliable way of definitely “pinning the species” is by song/call.  It just has to be my “species of the day”.

I could however see Chaffinch, both male and female, and to the back of the wood a Song Thrush was “singing”.  This is an “exercise” outing so I moved on and because I am looking to my right fail to notice a bird in the middle of the track which, as it zig-zags away from me but without me hearing it call, might well have been a species not called Jack.  Dam, but if it was easy, then it wouldn’t be so interesting.  The reason why I was looking to the right was I could hear and then saw 6 Lapwing in the next field and also saw 3 Moorhen, numerous Pheasant and a Hare.

In the large wood some distance ahead of me I could hear, advertising his availability, a Great Spotted Woodpecker which had found a really resonant dead tree to hammer on.  As it was still going on nearly an hour later perhaps it wasn’t such an effective tool.

Onwards and upwards (and the lane does climb up to and then through the wood ahead).  To the far left over beyond a hedge row a Sparrowhawk flies by low down.

I pick up a gorgeous Wren, sat atop a hedge strangely quiet, and then half a dozen birds singing 
Nuthatch Sitta europaea (PHOTO: Bob Wright
sweetly resolve themselves into Linnet.  When I reach the wood I can hear an apparently vexed Nuthatch.  Peering into the woods with bins I find the probable reason for its wrath, a perched Buzzard.

Out of the sun in the wood it is definitely colder, but I am quickly out as the path only cuts through the corner of it, and viewing in the sun the field that slopes down to the lakes, and it is not only may be Skylark heaven (I estimate 12 plus pairs) but I can hear 2 Woodlark up calling and despite my difficulty viewing on a blue background, I find one, and apart from the song you know you are looking at one when you view that tiny tail.  I just love them and it is such a privilege and joy to see them that no doubt at all  Take 2, my "Species of the Day”.

Onwards and “downwards” towards the lake picking up more Skylark both up and on the ground as I go, and to my right a dozen Grey-Lag Geese probably alert to my presence, I can hear several Mistle Thrush calling and at the bottom left near the wood limiting my view onto the lakes, a Red-legged Partridge.

Just before I reach the lakes, ahead of me is a man and woman each with dogs. He takes avoiding action but she (maybe because she knows she has that seemingly important second set of X chromosomes) doesn’t, but I avoid her and we pass at a safe distance.

The area around the lake is alive with the call of Chiffchaff and Blackcap and on the water probably the same species as last time I viewed but in different proportions: 4 Shellduck,5 pair of Gadwall, 10 male Mallard, a male TealCoot , Grey-lag Geese, a single Mute Swan and 2 Canada Geese.

It’s about turn and I’m homeward bound, with all the same birds, including larks ascending, as I saw not many minutes earlier but also the 2 dog walkers which, as this time I view them well before we pass, I position myself a good distance off the path.  Looking back to the lakes whist I wait for the people to pass, I see 3 Cormorant over the trees to the east end of the lakes.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (PHOTO: Bob Wright
Through the corner of the path and another obstacle.  Why oh why would someone be stood on the path with a greyhound?  So I stop more than a chain away, that is the length of a cricket pitch between the stumps, its 22 yards, 20 metres, a distance that I use often in visualising birds distances (as in 1 cricket pitch, 2 cricket pitches,etc).

Eventually this awesome two-some move off in the direction I am intending to go, and whilst in different circumstances their slow progress might have been annoying, it does suit me as I feel they are a perfect opportunity for me to frequently pause and look around and maybe this helps me to find a pair of Long-tailed Tit.  When I get to the small wood adjacent to the lane, I stop and search again for the Willow Warbler.  It takes me some time, but there it is in all its glory in the sun, and perhaps because of the effort I had to put in to see it, “take 3,” it is back to “my Species of the Day.”

A few minutes’ walk further on to my left a Red Kite drifting slowly from above a wood towards me with a tinkering of its wings changing direction at will.  Beautiful. Not quite a rarity in these parts, and not a year tick for me as I have seen them many miles to the south, but definitely ,”take 4” my Species of the Day.

Red Kite Milvus milvus (PHOTO: Bob Wright
Not far to go now until I am back on to the race track of the main road, but time enough for me to see my 3rd raptor species of the day, a Kestrel sat atop of a wooden electricity pole.

The weather has warmed up nicely and my outer layer has long since been discarded but not quite down to sleeveless order.  I then make my sprint walk home, not coming across a single obstacle either in the form of a human or a tiger, having logged 38 species, sorted out my bird of the day, and in the weather conditions it has been so much healthier for me than sitting around in those bird hides of my usual birding outings.

Species logged:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Cormorant, Red Kite, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler , Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

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