Wednesday 9 December 2020

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Wednesday 9 December

Up early for my 9am hospital appointment in Torre del Mar but it did mean, following completion, that I could be at the relatively nearby Rio Velez by 9.45.  beautiful clear blue skies and the warming sunshine increasing the initial 12C temperature as I parked up the car.  But where was the water?  Not a drop in sight despite last week's heavy showers but, at least, the actual river bed looked relatively clear so, presumably, most of the rubbish had been washed away last week.  A couple of foraging Serins and then my first of many White Wagtails on the shingle of the river bed.  Walking under both bridges I made my way towards the beach and almost no birds to be seen anywhere.  A single Rock Dove followed by a couple of passing Collared Doves before I heard the Hoopoe as I approached the open bird hide.  What a mess this has become with damaged hand and protective rails and the end result of recent bamboo cutting ought to shame those responsible.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

A couple of White Wagtails on the grass in front of the hide but nothing else to be seen either near or far so continued on with the walk to the beach.  A female Black Redstart put in an appearance and I found the Hoopoe resting on a low wall to the side of the water treatment plant.  At the far side making its way to the water was a Moorhen and in front on the grass the first Crested Lark

A very sleepy Hoopoe Upupa epos

Once on the beach it was advantageous that a couple of fishing boats were returning to harbour as they brought with them numerous Lesser Black-backed Gulls and even a couple of Gannets.  Behind me, looking up river there was not only a good-sized lagoon but the river seemed to stretch further than I had expected.  In the forefront a Coot and pair of Mallard whilst, partly hidden by the reeds what looked like a mas of white and grey.  I had my suspicions but decided to wait until I had made my way further upstream on he far, western, side of the river.  A number of Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls were making their way back towards the river as I worked my way upstream.

Eventually reaching a crossing point beyond the end of the water I had scores of low-feeding Crag Martins along with a number of Chifchaff.  A lone Grey Wagtail was obviously disturbed by my approach and departed to the nearby growing fields.  At the same time a couple of Snipe took to the skies and zigg-zagged away.  I then worked my way back down stream close to the water and watched a couple of Heron fly overhead and then found the half-dozen Cattle Egrets that I had seen when looking upstream from the beach.

Resting Herons Ardea cinerea

Back to the main track passing a male Stonechat and on towards my parked car a few hundred metres away.  Monk Parakeets flew over and, approaching the bridges the fist House Sparrows.  Once under a Great Tit and then a drive upstream into the arable fields finding more Crested Larks.  First stop at the "muck heap" where a number of White wagtails were foraging but also a Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

 Parking up on the corner near a plastic greenhouse I watched a quartet of Waxbills along with a single Linnet.  A handful of Spotless Starlings were also recorded and looking towards the muck heap saw the arrival of a trio of Cattle Egrets. A second Hoopoe flew past as I made my departure.

Common Waxbills Estrilda astrild

My final call was to the arable field to the west of the river and an anti-clockwise circuit of the farm tracks produced a good number of Cattle Egrets, Black-headed Gulls and White Wagtails that were taking advantage of the potato sowing following the two working tractors.  A few more Crested Larks and Black Redstarts but nothing new for the morning.

Female Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros

All done and a total of 30 species recorded for the day.  making my way back to Algarrobo Costa I made a very brief stop at the entrance harbour at Caleta and noted the hundreds of resting Lesser Black-backed Gulls along with a few Yellow-legged Gulls and a trio of Sanderling working the water's edge.

Birds seen:

Mallard, Gannet, Cattle Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Waxbill, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.

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