Sunday 31 January
The month id certainly going out with a blow. Away much earlier for my return walk up the Rio Algarrobo but my word there was a strong wind blowing. The sun was still relatively low in the sky so much colder than I had anticipated and began to wonder whether or not I was wearing sufficient clothing. But with strong winds comes a lack of birds as they all hunkered down for some shelter. The start of the walk found both a Collared Dove and male Blackbird on the ground in front of me and a pair of Monk Parakeets passed over to find a prospective feeding tree; indeed the only parakeets I was to see during the whole walk.
|Just the minutest fraction of the departing gulls from the hidden reservoir|
Leaving the activity area to the more open trees I noticed a distant handful of Spotless Starlings to the left along with a nearby couple of White Wagtails and a lone House Sparrow. All then very quiet until I was the other side of the motorway where I duly found a quartet of Common Starlings in the usual tree at the back of the grassy area to the right of the Experimental Station entrance along with a few more White Wagtails.
Below me near the river the first Black Redstart of the morning, the first of the majority of females to be seen, whilst above the hidden reservoir it would seem to be a massed exodus of gulls to pastures new. Watching the birds depart I estimated that a fifth were Lesser Black-backed with about equal numbers of Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. Still a lovely sight even if the wind was still blowing.
|Mediterranean Gull Gaviota Cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus|
Still basically very quiet bird wise but then another couple of Black Redstarts and more White Wagtails near the river. Nothing in the grassed area at the end of the hidden reservoir but, approaching the river itself, a Green Sandpiper upped and away in its usual display flight complete with all-white back end and a pair of Hoopoes decided they were safer on the other side of the water. Just in time, I caught the sight of the departing Serin and then watched a large charm, probably in excess of two dozen, Goldfinches come down to the river to drink and bathe.
|Two of the nine Cattle Egrets Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis|
Then, making my way back home, a Feral Pigeon was still sat on the fence near the motorway underpass and completely oblivious to the stealthy cat licking its lips in anticipation of a potential meal. A pause once beyond the motorway gave me chance to check the lower branches of the bushes on the far side of the river where I eventually found my Chiffchaff for the morning. Finally, once at the local sewage works there were no less than nine Cattle Egrets in residence, sufficient to be alarmed by my presence on the other side of the fence and trees to take to the air in a mass of swirling white feathers but quickly resettled and with a couple more exposed and giving me that photographic opportunity. Then it was on back to the starting point recording more Black Redstarts, White Wagtails and Spotless Starlings.
Cattle Egret, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.