Wednesday 23 December
A beautiful, sunny morning and time for the walk up the dry river bed and what a wonderful surprise it turned out to be. Not the Collared Doves and Monk Parakeets as I entered the initial spinney or even the couple of Blackbirds, Black Redstart and White Wagtail as I made my way upstream through the open trees. But approaching the fences barbecue area I spotted, not five metres away, the Wryneck resting on the fence immediately in front of me. Just a shame it upped and away before I had chance to lift the camera.
|Male Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Continuing onward past the Spotless Starlings and I happened to see movement below me on the concrete sill below the first weir. I could not believe it, a quartet of Crossbills drinking from what turned out to be the only water on the whole journey. Disappointment again as I lifted the camera only to discover that the battery was flat and by the time I had replaced with a fully charged unit the birds had retreated back into the tops of the neighbouring, very high, Eucalyptus trees. Meanwhile, lots of feeding Chiffchaffs about along with the marauding Monk Parakeets.
|Count the Monk Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus
Ah well, onwards and upwards with many Chiffchaff followed by a dozen or more House Sparrows. Once on the other side of the motorway underpass the odd Rock Dove and a few feeding Crag Martins circling above me. Only a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving to and from the hidden water reservoir but at the top of the nearby bare tree another four Common Starlings.
|Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
The opposite bank of the dry river held a Hoopoe and a male Sardinian Warbler was observed in a nearby low bush. Turning just after the ford for the return journey I quickly picked up the first of three Stonechats on the return walk. Back near the underpass a trio of Greenfinches landed at the side of the road and passing the sewage works on my usual diversion just the one Cattle Egret noted. But just think of the Crossbills and that Wryneck; certainly made the walk most worthwhile.
Cattle Egret, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Crossbill.
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