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

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