Saturday 30 May 2020

The joy and delight of birding - at last!

Friday 29 May

For all of yo who have missed your biding treat for over two months, I have attached a report that I received from my friend Derek Etherton of his day out with wife, Barbara and close friends Jerry and Barbara Layock from Fuengirola.  Derek illustrates the pleasure that we get from our birding, the moreso when we can share the experience with friends. Its not just the birds that you actually see, it's more the mutual sharing of the experience itself.  There were no pictures from Derek so apologies for including a few of my own to illustrate my friends' experience.

Yesterday was an early start for us for a trip to the Serrania de Ronda and a favourite birding area - Quejigales.  We met up with Barbara & Jerry for a much needed coffee before starting the action of driving up the mountain track.  So good to have most of the ventas open again where, as in the most of Spain, a decent, I would say the best, cup of coffee costs but a single Euro.  Why people persist in patronising the largely owned American coffee franchisees with their awful product at amazingly high prices continues to bewilder me.
Jay Garrulus glandarius
Refreshed, we first drove into the lower car park arriving at the same time as a large, mixed nationality, group of walkers.  Trust me, it's not just the Spanish who talk loudly, the Germans do too!  We picked a couple of birds down here, Choughs, Little Owl, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Chaffinch (so many Chaffinches about that it's no wonder I call them the ABC bird - Another Bloody Chaffinch), Blue Tits, many Mistle Thrushes and Great Tit.  We moved on and decided to stay on the bottom track and look in the known area for Dartford Warbler and other small delights.  Sadly not to be, the wind was so strong in this valley that all but the hardy Stonechat, feeding young, a cruising Booted Eagle and hunting Common Kestrel showed themselves - ah, forgot the House Sparrows around the finca.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
So we decided to climb the trail, by car of course, we're not that silly, but it wasn't until we were near the top that the bird action really started.  Rock Buntings began to appear, several Jays, Corn Buntings still calling and then at a large patch of May trees - warblers.  Firstly a Melodious Warbler in full song, and whilst respecting the report on the Wrens song on this weeks "Springwatch," the Wren has nothing on the Melodious's song.  Wouldn't I just like to know all it says!  Then a Subalpine Warbler appeared some 25 mtrs away and started to sing, but for some reason, I'd like to know why, the Melodious took offence and chased it right into a small, thorny bush just some 4 mtrs away from us.  Great views of both birds and they were so caught up in their disagreement they ignored us.  Driving on to the top car park and picnic area we noted many Blackbirds, heard Red-legged Partridge, saw and heard Wood Pigeon, Robin and Blackcap.  

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans
One of the main reasons for the trip was to find the Common Redstarts that are known to favour the nest boxes in the pine tree area at the picnic site.  We were not to be disappointed, we found 2 pairs busy feeding their young still obviously in the boxes.  Superb views of both males and females who we noticed seemed to always halt on a close by branch before entering or leaving the box.  Just over our heads were Crested Tits feeding well fledged young and Greenfinch clinging on to the pine bark to feed theirs.  We remarked on the fact that the young Greenfinches were so well camouflaged when stationery on the trunks.  Common Crossbills came into feed directly above us as did a Coal Tit and its young.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
After eating we decided to walk up the track and were soon rewarded with Black Redstart  and a female Cirl Bunting gathering seeds on the edge of the track only 4/5 mtrs away from us.  More Rock Buntings were bathing in the still running stream, then drying out on a nearby bush.  A Wood Lark was in full song atop of a close by pine tree, both when walking up and then back down an hour later.  Barbara E said she wanted Nuthatch for the year list and blow me one obliged within two minutes of her saying so.  Not only obliged by showing but by sitting out in the open and preening for a full five minutes.  Not content with this Barbara L said she wanted a woodpecker and I kid you not within a minute a Great Spotted Woodpecker obliged barely 20 mtrs away, low down and very visible.  A Short-toed Treecreeper (long name for such a small bird) was active close to us and in the further distance Rock Doves (I never ever count ferals!) were flying.

Rock Bunting Emberiza cia
I'm no botanist but even I was amazed and the spectacular amount and colour of the wild flower variety on display, an absolute riot of colour.

Returning to the car we added Jackdaw, Collared Dove and Spotless Starlings to the list on the downward journey.  All in all, target bird(s) achieved and a thoroughly enjoyable day in great company. 


Many thanks Derek for sharing your experience with us all.

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

Friday 29 May 2020

Unexpected Trio in the Sierra Tejeda

Friday 29 May

Off early to be up at the picnic area above Alcaucin before the day-trippers arrive- or, at least, that was the idea when I set off from home just before 9 o'clock.  Approaching La Vinuela I had already recorded House Sparrow, Collared Dove and Spotless Starling when a handsome Short-toed Eagle drifted down the valley side to my left and crossed above the car with about five metres giving a wonderful view of its "orange-striped" underside with almost folded wings as it disappeared away to my right.  What an unexpected surprise and given I have spent more than two months in lock down at the coast my first for the year.  But this was not to be the start of an exciting exploration of Alcaucin and the search for Firecrests, Nuthatches, Crossbill, etc.  Having climbed above the town and reached the start of the track I was confronted by the barrier and the realisation that the track was closed to all traffic.  Bother!

Back down to Alcaucin and then the narrow, twisting roads as i drive down to the valley bottom and up the other side to pick up the main road to Ventas de Zafarraya.  A couple of Blackbirds on the way and approaching the old railway bridge at the top of the mountain a kettle of over 50 Choughs wheeling in the sky above the cliffs.  Where to go?  On up to Robledal and no sooner had I taken the track of the main road than a Green Woodpecker passed in front of the car; the second unexpected surprise of the day.

Approaching the picnic area a couple of White Wagtails at the junction and a Woodchat Shrike posing on a fence post.  Once parked up all was deserted and with not a human in site, the smell of the pines and the continuous bird song.  Lots of Chaffinches and then both Great and Coat Tit.  I was convinced I heard a Golden Oriole but wrong habitat surely.  But still the bird persisted sounding more convincing and as a special treat, and my third unexpected surprise, a lovely male Golden Oriole crossed the opening and into the trees on my right.  What a wonderful sight.

Golden Oriole Oropendola Oriolus oriolus
Working my way back to Ventas de Zafrarraya lots of Barn Swallows along with SerinCrested Lark and Corn BuntingHouse Martins in the village and a brief stop at the railway track produced a smaller number of Choughs along with both Black Redstart and Black Wheatear in addition to a handful of Crag MartinsRock Sparrows in the cave but no sight of the Alpine Swifts, albeit I did find a Hoopoe as I made my way home.

Birds seen:
Short-toed Eagle, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Golden Oriole, Woodchat Shrike,  Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Corn Bunting.

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

Alhaurin de la Torre

Thursday 28 May

Another lovely sunny day and strange that this better weather has coincided with the lifting of the most severe lock down restrictions.  Today Jenny and I are spending quality time with or friends Derek and Barbara Etherton and, approaching Alhaurin de la Torre a resting Little Owl on a water deposit and a Hoopoe flew across the road in front of us.  After an enjoyable coffee it was time to set off for our walk to the neighbouring pine woods up towards the large, working quarry.

As we left the house we very soon recorded the usual locals of Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling and entering a small path to take us up through the wood our first Blackbird of the morning.  Ere long we had also found both Serin and Sardinian Warbler.  After a quick dash over the nearby trees we eventually found, we think, the same bird as the Jay rested in the shade on top of a large electricity pylon.  As might be expected in this habitat a regular sighting or call of a Wood Pigeon and then the sight and sounds of the many local Serins and Chaffinches.  Lots of Barn Swallows to be seen and just before crossing the access road to enter the main wood a Crested Tit took of in front of us and we watched it land atop of a tree on the opposite side.

Difficult to spot, but not identify, this Hoopoe

Entering the wood we spent some time watching a very active Spotted Flycatcher before resting in a clearing to listen to the various calls and identify the neighbouring birds.  A single Crossbill flew over the tree top at a very high altitude and then a distant Hoopoe sheltering in a large bush before we settled to watch the busy Blue Tits feeding their young in a natural nest hole formed in a deformed trunk.  Judging by the number o caterpillars being brought back to the nest these birds, at the moment, are not going to go hungry.  before setting off back down the hill a pair of Long-tailed Tits kept us occupied for another five minutes or so.

Great place for a Blue Tit's nest

Entering a meadow with fallen dead branches and natural bushy outcrops we soon picked up a couple of Zitting Cisticola and another Sardinian Warbler whilst overhead the Barn Swallows and House Martins were actively feeding.  A Red-legged Partridge behind us and a handful of Monk Parakeets to the front as we made our way back to the house.

After a delicious lunch, time to settle back, enjoy a cool drink and watch the view below us.  The now well-known Spotless Starling serenaded us with his "Golden Oriole impersonation" and we watched, twice, as a Booted Eagle gracefully soared around, on the second occasion accompanied by a trio of Common Swifts.  Lovely day and great to be once again out with friends.

an anyone identify this thistle please?

Birds seen:
Red-legged Partridge, Booted Eagle, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeets, Little Owl, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Crested Tit, Blue Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Jay, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Crossbill.

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

Monday 25 May 2020

Fuente de Piedra and Laguna Dulce

Monday 25 May

Warm and sunny again but slightly cooler then the week-end along with a very light breeze.  Time to pay a visit to Fuente de Piedra, even though warned that most may be closed to the public and then take the farm track across to the back of Laguna Dulce.  Despite the car park being closed at Fuente I was able to observe the flooded entry field and then walk around most of the site albeit very frustrating to find that all paths leading to the hides were closed off.  But first a quick note to record the Raven that crossed the front of the car as I neared the to of the A45 leading towards Antequera.

Greater Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus with Avocet  Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta
On the shallow flooded field to the left of the entry road a number of Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts and Avocets along with a score or more Coot.  The odd Lapwing, Redshank and Moorhen plus the feeding Barn Swallows and occasional House Martin plus a quartet of Slender-billed Gulls.

Avocet  Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta

Approaching the board walk from the rear more Flamingos and Avocets and the first of the feeding Gull-billed Terns. A single Blue-headed Wagtail put in an appearance and, as I was walked along the edge of the meadow towards the main mirador, both Reed Warblers and Nightingales were calling.  Once at the mirador the resident Jackdaws put in an appearance and out on the main salina a selection of birds.  Just a few Black-headed Gulls but hundreds of Flamingos to my left and the opposite side a score or more resting Gull-billed Terns and a single Marsh Harrier.  Checking once again the Flamingos to my left I was delighted to find a single Lesser Flamingo showing well.

Distant record shot of Lesser Flamenco Flamenco Enano Phoeniconaias minor (far right0
Making my way back to the car I noticed a few lapwing at the flooded field before setting of on an ant-clockwise circuit of the water.  However, on reaching the distant farm I turned right and took the old farm track towards the back of Laguna Dulce.  This was to prove a successful drive as in addition to a number of Blue-headed Wagtails I also found a single Grey Wagtail along with a number of Crested Larks and Corn Buntings.  A lone Little Owl was resting near the first farm ruin and shortly after a Wood Lark was identified near the edge of the track.

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Iberica Motacilla flava iberiae
Once at the back of Laguna Dulce I stopped to observe the large number of Coots along with a few Red-crested Pochards about was more excited to discover a couple of Glossy Ibis near some water-bound trees.  More Gull-billed Terns were feeding over the grass edges and so to the far end where I came across more Barn Swallows.  Making my way towards the end of the track I stopped to admire the male Montagu's Harrier that swooped over the car and away.  Goodbye to the local House Sparrows and off to the lay-bye and enter the hide overlooking the water.

Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus  in the shade of the trees

To my left another couple of Glossy Ibis and a little further away a resting small mixed flock of Common and Red-crested Pochards.  A pair of Mallard paddled away and out on the main water more Common Pochard a pair of male White-headed Ducks.  No end of Little Grebes, they must have had a fabulous breeding season, along with a quartet of Great Crested Grebes.  Much searching in the distant water also produces a small number of Black-necked Grebes.  Still plenty of Coots and a small number of Moorhen as the Gull-billed Terns fed over the water and then the finding of a couple of Whiskered Terns to add to the morning's list.  Both Blackbird and Hoopoe were found below me to my left and then more Reed Warblers and both Goldfinch and Serin.  Perhaps my final bird was not the couple of Lapwing but a very noisy Cetti's Warbler.

Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus
A slight diversion on the way home took me to the village of Mollina where I found Blackbird, Hoopoes, Barn Swallows and Collared Dove but not the hoped for Rufous Bush Robin.

Red-crested Pochard pato Colorado Netta rufina
Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Wood Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

Greater Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus

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

Friday 22 May 2020

Algarrobo Costa; Rio Algarrobo re-visited

Friday 22 May

Another lovely war and sunny morning with clear blue skies and not a breath of wind.  Friends Derek and Barbara Etherton joined us for a morning coffee visit and then time for a short walk up the track alongside the Rio Algarrobo.  All on our own in terms of people but lots of bird activity starting with the very many Monk Parakeets and a the start of numerous Collared Dove sightings.  A few House Sparrows and Pallid Swifts over the apartment buildings but in the first spinney time to stop, listen and finally find a pair of Bonelli's Warblers.  No sooner had we moved on than we had a Sardinian Warbler calling from the river bed and the appearance of a Greenfinch.

Male Sardinian Warbler Curruca Cabecinegra Sylvia melanocephala

Moving on up the river the fort of a quintet of Spotted Flycatchers and then the sight of both Serins and Goldfinches.  A pair of Red-rumped Swallows were feeding low down and above the first of the House Martins and long with a couple of Barn Swallows.  Having reached the large, bare tree and found the solitary Collared Dove we heard, then watched, a couple of Bee-eaters come to rest in the top of the tree.  A pair of Wood Pigeons took of and disappeared upstream and the next warbler was a beautiful, singing Blackcap.

Red-rumped Swallow Golondrina Daurica Hirundo daurica

Making our way slowly back to the start we spent considerable time watching an Olivacious Warbler feeding in front of us and not just a number of Spotless Starlings but the single male Common Kestrel than flew away above us.  We may only have walked about 500 metres in total but what a lovely selection of birds for us to all enjoy on a warm, sunny morning with the very many Monk Parakeets flying and feeding all around us.  And just to complete the list we even had a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the river's mouth.

Birds seen: 
Kestrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove. Monk Parakeet, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House martin, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Bonelli's Warbler, Olivacious Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Ventas de Zafarraya

Choughs Chova Piquirroja Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Wednesday 20 May

A beautiful clear and sunny day turning very warm as the day progressed and in the very high twenties when I eventually returned home.  Today to the mountains as I paid a morning visit to the old railway tack at Ventas de Zafarraya.  Not that many birds about but having recorded a few Choughs as I arrived the track up to the tunnel produced first a House Sparrow then a single Rock Bunting resting on a wire.  Approaching the tunnel itself a movement drew my attention to the male Blue Rock Thrush which paused long enough on a low rock to get a record photograph, even if the bird was facing away from me but it certainly showed its blue colouring very well.

Rock Bunting Escribano Montesino Emberiza cia
Distant male Blue Rock Thrush Roquero Solitario Monticola solitarius

Crag martins in and out of the tunnel to their nests and beyond the tunnel my first Stonechats of the month with at least five individuals observed.  Before turning at the old ruin to make my way back a couple of Goldfinch and then a posing male Peregrine Falcon on almost the highest peak above the rock face.

Stonechat tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus

A Rock Sparrow was seen on the rocks above the tunnel entrance and, coming out of the tunnel, I noticed a pair of resting Crag Martins so an opportunity to get a fairly close photograph.

Crag Martin Avion Roquero Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Working my way through the fertile growing fields on the plateau below Ventas de Zafarraya I found both Spotless Starling and Barn Swallow along with a few Mallards on the irrigation pond.  The, up and through the "Magpie Woods" where I recorded a Chaffinch before heading off to the left and the arable fields.  A number of both Crested and Thekla Larks, very much dependent upon the habitat, along with the first Hoopoe of the morning.  On the far side lovely to see a Little Owl resting on a large water container and almost immediately a Magpie to the left.  The nearby verges produced a pair of Linnet and a small number of Corn Buntings on the fence.

Magpie Urraca Pica pica

Many of the nearby fields were growing corn and as is often found at this time of the year plenty of poppies to give a lovely red carpet.  No sign of a Red-legged Partridge on this occasion but having come so far at the top of the now resurfaced old road up towards the Salar - Alhambra road I made the short detour to a neighbouring old farm ruin, where I was happy to find a few of the Lesser Kestrels know to breed at this site along wit a couple of Jackdaw.

Andalucian Poppy Fields
The return drive back down the gravelled road produced a couple of Wood Pigeon and a Hoopoe flew across the front of the car.  At the bottom of the hill a right-turn and the circular track back towards Ventas de Zafarraya which eventually produced a couple of Azure-winged Magpies and many Collared Doves.  Passing through the village itself I added both Common Swift and Serin and my last bird of the morning was a posing Bee-eater.  Only 29 species in my almost three hour tour but certainly some lovely birds seen.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Lesser Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Azure -winged Magpie, Magpie, Chough, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Very distant, high record shot of the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

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

Monday 18 May 2020

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Sandwich Tern Charran Patinegro Sterna sandvicensis
Monday 18 May

At last, the big day has arrived!  Nine weeks of lock down and only allowed out for an hour a day within one kilometre of your home for the past week but, today for the first time, anywhere provided you stay within your own province, in our case Malaga.  So what better way to start than a morning at the Guadalhorce, arriving at 9am for three hours in glorious sunshine and not a cloud in the beautiful blue sky.

Welcomed by scores of House Martins and just a few Barn Swallow I was soon crossing the footbridge into the reserve itself.  Th e occasional House Sparrow but nothing on the river itself.  However, once on the far side lots of calling Nightingales and scores of Common Swifts feeding low over the fields with the House Martins.  The occasional passing of a squadron of noisy Monk Parakeets and then the deafening call of the resident Cetti's Warblers.

Lots of cyclists about and the occasional walker but no birders seen the whole morning so the hides all to myself.  Once at the Lagina Casillas a collection of a dozen Black-winged Stilts along with a Moorhen, a trio of Coots and both a pair of Mallard and White-headed Ducks.  Just as I was about to move on a Common Pochard presented itself.

A few of the Black-winged Stilts Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
The Wader Hide was full of Black-winged Stilts and I duly counted a total of 34.  Also present a number of Redshank along with, mainly, Ringed Plover and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers.  A Shelduck was resting at the far end of the water and as a Blackbird flew across in front of me I also picked up a couple of Dunlin.  Lots of calling Reed Warblers and, just outside the hide, the first Sardinian Warbler of the morning.

Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus

The Rio Viejo, old river, was also complete with Black-winged Stilts (20) and a good-sized mixed flock of gulls, mainly Black-headed but also a few Audouin's Gulls.  Resting with the I counted a quartet of Sandwich Terns.  On the nearest shore a couple of Kentish Plovers to add to more Ringed Plovers and Redshanks.  On the other side of the track, in addition to the constant supply of Common Swifts and House Martins I had a Crested Lark along with both Greenfinch and Goldfinch.  However, the best sighting probably was that of a Willow Warbler, Zitting Cisticola and two juvenile Goldfinches all sharing the same small open bush.  A Little Egret flew high overhead as it made its way upstream and from the Sea Watch I found a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  The return walk produced a female Blackcap.

Gulls, including Audouin's gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii and four Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Continuing on to the Laguna Escondida I had a pair of Linnets pass me and another Crested Lark.  On the water itself just a trio of Little Grebe plus a couple each of White-headed Duck and Common Pochard

Little Grebe ZampullinComun Tachybaptus ruficollis
On the dead tree to my left a single Bee-eater remained resting for almost the whole of my stay, occasionally joined by another individual and a half-dozen Spotless Starlings.  Then, just proving that it pays to be be patient, a Red-rumped Swallow passed in front of the hide to feed over the water.
Bee-eater Abejaruco Europeo Merops apiaster

And so on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.  Another twenty Black-winged Stilts plus thirteen Flamingos.  Almost a dozen Collared Doves in the trees to my left and whilst most of the gulls were Black-headed there was also a couple of Slender-billed Gulls.  As I made my way back to the exit I saw my first and only plane of the morning, showing how quiet everything is at the moment, as a Ryanair flight departed towards the sea just before midday.  Approaching the footbridge a lovely male Serin alighted on the fence to my right and when back at the car I had the joy of listening to, and then finding, the lone Turtle Dove.

Six of the thirteen Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus

Three lovely hours so rather than straight home i took the slight detour so that I could spend thirty minutes driving through the track above the rive at Zapata.  All very overgrown and a lot of heavy activity below as lorry after lorry removed soil to deposit on the far side of the river.  Most of the birds seen had already been recorded at the Guadalhorce but I did have a Spotted Flycatcher and then another couple of Crested Larks.  Just before turning down towards the ford a trio of Hoopoe were hiding in a low bush to me left and, at the water's edge, a couple of Cattle Egrets.  Again, lots of calling from both Cetti's and Reed Warblers.

"Push off, Mallard, this is our spot!" screamed the Black-winged Stilts
All in all, a lovely first day of birding wit 47 species recorded.

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Flamingo, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

Bee-eater with Spotless Starlings Estornino Negro Sturnus unicolor

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

Another Algarrobo river walk

Sunday 17 May

Whilst the weather was dry, abut the possibility of more light rain, I took the opportunity to take a morning walk once more up the Rio Algarrobo as far as the motorway then back home via the mouth of the river itself.  Once in the spinney at the start of the walk a ready supply of both Collared Doves and Monk Parakeets.  Always a few House Sparrows about and the first Blackbird of the morning before getting a clear sight of the apartment blocks on the far side of the river which duly produced a good number of Pallid Swifts.

Spotted Flycatcher papamoscas Gris Muscicapa striata

A Spotted Flycatcher was on the fence near the picnic area and soon many feeding House Martins feeding over the river but only a handful of Barn Swallows.  Just as yesterday, a single Bee-eater resting high up in the dead tree on the far bank and, on my side, the first Greenfinch and Goldfinches of the morning.

Greenfinch Verderon Comun Carduelis chloris

All then relatively quiet until, passing a good number of House Sparrows, I finally reached the motorway bridge and found a pair of the nesting Crag Martins.  Working my way back down the river more Monk Parakeets, a few Spotless Starlings and a score or more of Common Swifts before a handful of Serin and the Bee-eater was still in the tree with both Collared Doves and a juvenile Wood Pigeon for company.  A single White Wagtail was on a wires above the lower weir and then it was on down the footbridge at the mouth of the river where I found a couple of Rock Doves and a singe Little Ringed Plover.

White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacilla alba

Birds seen:
Little Ringed Plover, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

The same Bee-eater Abejarucco Europeo Meropa apiaster?
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Friday 15 May 2020

Where have all the gulls gone?

Friday 15 May

I had my hour's walk within a kilometre of home this morning and took the easterly direction along the coast to the Mezquitilla boundary, resulting in the sighting of ten species including Serin, Barn Swallow and House Martin.  In all that time not a single gull observed until almost at the turning point when I found a dozen resting Lesser Black-backed Gulls out on the sea, about 200 metres from the shore.

Late afternoon I cycled down to Caleta harbour where, again, very few gulls to be seen sheltering on the beach in the inner harbour.  Not having seen a large fishing vessel since Easter I understand that the fishing fleet might be confined to port.  This would certainly explain the lack of gulls to be seen.  All very quiet apart from the raucous Monk Parakeets flying around behind me.

A closer look produced about a handful of Audouin's Gulls and as many as  eighteen Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Audouin's Gull Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii

Returning home I stopped for at least twenty minutes on the nearby footbridge and watched a pair of (possibly nesting) Little Ringed Plovers.  A single White Wagtail was also in the small pool left behind after the rain earlier in the week, the river now having dried up again.  But then, just as I was preparing to take some photos, a family of three were taking a leisurely walk down the river bed.  Fortunately, the trio moved off westwards away from the river bed and the Little Ringed Plovers returned - but not the White Wagtail.

Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius

More Monk Parakeets and Collared Doves flying around along with a couple of Blackbirds and then a trio of Spotless Starlings came to feed on the grass seeds just below the upstream side of the bridge.

Spotless Starling Estornino Pinto Sturnus unicolor

Birds seen:
Little Ringed Plover, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin.

Come in number N:C4R
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Thursday 14 May 2020

Algarrobo Costa River Walk

Bee-eater Abejaruco Europeo Merops apiaster
Thursday 14 May

At last, chance once again to get out into the sunshine and take a walk up the Rio Algarrobo.  Not bad enough that we had to suffer seven weeks confined to the house but then a swollen foot saw me self-isolated again within a few days of the release to undertake some personal exercise.  So, 'nough said and time to set out for the return walk of about three kilometres and all within the allotted time for me to be out of the house.  Across the road and entering the trees at the start of the walk immediately aware of the local Monk Parakeets and Collared Doves.  With low cloud following the recent rain the swifts were lower that last week and first up a handful of Common Swifts.  With ten minutes I was able to check out the breeding Pallid Swifts making use of the high apartments on the far side of the river and with water flowing all set , hopefully, for a few surprises.

A Sardinian Warbler crossed in front of me and int a nearby tree and a Hoopoe was calling of the far side of the river..  Out into the parkland area and a couple of Greenfinches in  bare tree and quickly followed by a Serin and then a juvenile Goldfinch.  No shortage of Spotless Starlings and the Wood Pigeons appeared sooner than my last visit.

Greenfinch Verderon Comun Carduelis chloris

Continuing on up the river I soon encountered my first Barn Swallows along with a few House Martins.  All the time the chatter of the local House Sparrows and regular flights of Blackbirds as they flew over and back across the river. Interesting to watch a single Lesser Black-backed Gull cross over above me and then, no doubt, on down stream to the beach and sea.

Serin Verdecillo Serinus serinus

Continuing to the motorway bridge I waited to confirm that at least two pairs of Crag Martins were nesting in the dark shade at the bridge's abutment then the return walk back to the coast.  More House SparrowsGoldfinches and Monk Parakeets along with many Collared Doves before, at last, a pair of Red-rumped Swallows came to feed over the flowing river.

Back near the picnic area I stopped to check but unable to find last week's Turtle Dove but overhead my first raptor since returning from the UK exactly two months ago as a Kestrel gradually drifted away.

Common Kestrel Cernicalo Vulgar Falco tinnunculus
Time to stop and watch  a pair of both Serins and Greenfinches and a Hoopoe which flew into the tree in front of me before checking out the bare tree on the far side of the river which this morning held a different visitor; my first Bee-eater of the year.  What a lovely way to finish and so return home with a pleasant smile on my face.

Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epos

Birds see:
Kestrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, House sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch

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