Saturday 4 April 2020

Walk on the Wildside

Saturday 4 April

The Anonymous Birder has returned with another birding report of his/her latest walk on the wildside.  He/she may have to make the most of it, as if as reported on the UK News last evening, half the country decides to take a nature walk out into the countryside, then he, like us out here in Spain, may find that lockdown in the UK next week means no walking, running or cycling exercise in the near future!  Looking at the list of birds provided, I find that six of the species would be new sightings for the year for me out here in Spain.   Similarly, in the hope that I receive more reports from our Anonymous Birder, I shall in future refer to the writer as a "he" unless instructed otherwise.  But many thanks anyway and please do continue to communicate.

Walk on the Wildside: Friday 3 April

Another day, another dollar.  Most important task today is to buy some bread as I have exactly two slices and both of them crusts, and past their best by date, as if there was ever a day in their life when they were best, a lot like me.  Second most important task is, “to get fit for Brexit ,“ no not Brexit, that other thing, Coronavirus.

So where to today?  Nothing too ambitious.  Destiny the large quarry, that route is good for social distancing.  However, on this occasion, just before I reach my turn around point, a runner and shortly after I start back for home another, both male.  It’s enough to make one spit.  Both runners passed at a safe distance as the path, which probably was an old cart track, is quite wide on the off-road section. Those were the only social distancing problems that I encountered.

With the first 2km on pavements alongside roads, one could cruise along at 6km/hour and I was soon turning off on to the “piste” in 20 minutes, having seen/herd, a large Gull species, Greenfinch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Robin, Blackbird, BlueTit, Great Tit, a male Mallard and Skylark.  I was to see several of the last species all either at “crooning” height or descending, which made me think that if somewhere there is someone called Williams Vaughan, then is there a natural opportunity for him to compose something called “Lark Descending” which with due apologies to Eric Morecambe contains, “all the right notes but definitely not in the right order?"
Just before I left the main road a Pied Wagtail showed itself.  Before that at the closed Garden Centre, two Swan Geese, probably wing clipped birds hence uncountable as a species, were patrolling the site.
Dunnock Prunella modularis (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Up the lane and a Collared Dove which calls as it flies off.  Checking a calling yellowhammer shows that there are two males.  The winter thrush field houses only a male Pheasant and a Crow, whilst distantly to the north a Lapwing disappears behind a wood.  Approaching the quarry in addition to more chiffing Chiffchaff, a male and female Chaffinch show themselves.

The quarry water itself is again quiet, populated by at least 4 Mallard, 7 Grey-lag Geese, 5 Black-headed Gull, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, a pair of Gadwall , double figure Tufted Duck, 2 Cormorant, a Moorhen, and two Coot, but most certainly more, but it is a difficult to view the water.  Three Magpies were messing about on the quarry side.  A Wren showed itself briefly.
I can hear a Song Thrush singing beyond the end of the lane so I go to investigate and was surprise when it was perched in the clear towards the top of a tree, however to the north a Jay was making its murderous calls from cover.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
So about turn and start my journey home, and yes I see many of the species already recorded but also a few additional ones.  The first was a Mistle Thrush, initially heard flying straight as an arrow west just to the north of me, then a split flock of approximately 70 Starling, a flyover pair of Canada Geese and a fast disappearing Kestrel

Bins back in the rucksack and back on to the level ground of pavement, so quickly back into top gear, however slowing as I pass a small wood, and yes, “bird of the day” a singing Blackcap.  Surely it has to be a soon to depart to Europe over-wintering bird.  Once back into the outskirts of town a small flock of Feral Pigeon seem to be flying just for the joy of it. 

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Exercise over for the day, circa 35 species logged, and I still need bread.

Species logged
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull. Large Gull Species, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Yellow-hammer.

The things we birders prioritise.  No doubt back to the baker and, this time, hopefully remembering the reason why you came out!  Although, on the other hand, there just might be some more exciting birds about.

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

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