Sunday 10 January
|Certainly not a dry riverbed at the moment looking at the lower weir
The forecast said that our wet spell had ended but upon drawing the curtains it evidently had not as it was absolutely pouring the wet stuff. However, it did finally stop late morning so I was able to take a quick walk up the Rio Algarrobo and back in an hour, returning just as the rain decided it would service us with a little more! The walk was a little shorter than usual as the fast flowing river was now about 10cm deep over the ford and I certainly did not fancy wading through in just trainers. So, no detour via the sewage works and unable to check on the usually present Cattle Egrets. Entering the trees at the start of the walk I could see that there was plenty of accumulated water and the first bird recorded was a male Blackbird to be followed by another three in the same area and more further upstream. The first of the White Wagtails departed the path and at the same time I noted both the first of very many Collared Doves and the raucous five Monk Parakeets decided they would prefer to be somewhere else.
|One of the male Blackbirds Turdus merula
Continuing on my first make Black Redstart and the large bare tree produced five resting Wood Pigeons along with a lone female Kestrel.
|Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus and female Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Almost immediately a couple of Common Starlings and, approaching the sports hall, more Collared Doves, White Wagtails and Black Redstarts. The occasional Lesser Black-backed Gull overhead but as soon as I was beyond the motorway underpass gull numbers rapidly increased over the hidden reservoir. In addition, very many Crag Martins, including at least a dozen resting on the rusty fence above me, with a probable total well in excess of thirty individuals.
|Resting Crag Martins Ptyonoprogne rupestris
A single female Stonechat was resting on a tree to my right and the sunken grassy area to the right of the entrance to the Experimental Station had White Wagtails and at least half a dozen Chiffchaff plus a quartet of feeding Meadow Pipits. Even better, as I approached to take a closer look a Green Sandpiper flew up from the water-logged ground below me.
|Female Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
On the opposite side of the now rapidly-flowing river a mixed party of twenty starlings, mainly Spotless but also a few Common Starlings. A final stop at the garden to the far end of the hidden reservoir produced a single Serin before I started the return journey. Approaching the Experimental Station entrance I noted a female Sardinian Warbler and in the grassy area described above even more Chiffchaff and a single Hoopoe resting in a tree at the back along with a number of Collared Doves. Passing the football stadium, the grassy bank to the river produced a couple of departing Linnet but with too much water flowing over the ford I gave the sewage works a miss on this occasion.
|Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
As already stated, back before the light rain recommenced and even in the short space of time managed to record a very credible twenty species in the bare hour.
|No walking across the ford at the moment!
Kestrel, Green Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.