Friday 19 February
Busy, busy morning having to sort appointment for car service followed by ITV, collect shopping for jenny and also make doctor's appointment for removing stitches from Jenny's arm following last Friday's operation. What better way to tart the than pay a quick visit to the Rio Velez, just west of Torre del Mar, on the off-chance of some different birds to those seen so far this month.
Approaching the chimney factory to park slightly upstream form the old road bridge over the N340, I passed a flock of at least twenty Serin and then nothing until beyond the main road bridge where I picked up a couple of Rock Doves. A single Black Redstart and a male Blackbird as I made my way down the tack with a distant Hoopoe calling. The tall trees on the western side of the rived held only four Cormorants before arriving at the now well desecrated hide, which is still a disgrace and eye-sore to all who stop here.
|Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocoax carbo|
With just a single, visiting Crested Lark to the grass below the hide I was beginning to think this could well be a wasted morning as I continued on towards the beach. On the right, though, first a Goldfinch followed by a Stonechat and then able to pick up the half-dozen Moorhen which had left the river to graze on the grass edges.
|Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata|
However, once on the beach probably approaching an hundred Lesser Black-backed Gulls resting just off shore along with a much smaller number of Black-headed Gulls. Looking up the river there were a couple of Coot and then I picked up a trio of Mallard along with a pair of Shoveler. A Purple Swamphen edged out of the rees to my left upstream and remained long enough to get a couple of photos. At least two very voluble Cetti's Warbler and every time a handful of Mediterranean Gulls landed on the river they were away almost as soon as their belies hit the water. But, crossing to the far side to walk back towards the road I climbed the bank to take a closer look at the ploughed filed on my left and found the main resting flock of these delightful gulls in a range of moult.
|Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio|
Following the narrow path alongside the reed bed at least a further two calling Cetti's Warblers and then a couple of Serin on the post in front of me. A Greenfinch then flew in and disturbed the pair of Chiffchaff feeding below. It was whilst observing the Collared Dove and Blackbird in the large bare tree in front of me that I picked up the departing Blackcap and moving to follow its flight I was fortunate enough to see the low flying Marsh Harrier making its way , very low and presumably looking for its next meal, as it moved upstream but never to be seen again.
|Mediterranean Gulls Gaviota Cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus in a range of moults|
Back at the road bridge having walked up the dry river bed I cam across more Rock Doves and the first House Sparrows of the morning. Once in the car I drove a little further on upstream to take a look at the growing fields and as I approached was rewarded with the resting Kestrel on the wire in front of me. More Serins and then a turn down to the "muck heap" where I found just a few House Sparrows along with a couple more Crested Larks in the neighbouring field. However, looking more closely at the sparrows I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of Tree Sparrow in the small dead tree at the back of the manure.
So on to the end of the track and the river bed where looking down I found not only a further four Mallard but also a pair of Gadwall, another unexpected surprise for the morning. Time to make my way back and as I re-joined the main exit track I looked ahead to record the thirty plus Spotless Starlings on the wires at the back of the ploughed field and also, behind them, the lone Heron making its way towards the mouth of the river. No sooner seen than I noticed the first of three Barn Swallows feeding slightly above the field. Continuing on, I stopped to see the lone Stonechat resting on a stick half-way up the slope of the hill with a Hoopoe in the small, dead tree in front and was then distracted by the arrival of a flock of about twenty Meadow Pipits. So, far from a potentially wasted morning I ended up with 32 species and not a Monk Parakeet in sight.
|Gadwall Anade Friso Anas strepera|
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Cormorant, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
|A very shy Greenfinch Verderon Comun Carduelis chloris|