Thursday 22 April
Friends Derek and Barbara Etherton over for the day so, fist things first, take a coffee in Algarrobo Costa centre before, with scores of Pallid Swifts swirling around our heads above their apartment nesting sites, we headed off to Las Campinuelas taking the country road via the golf course. Arriving by 11.45 we had time to tale a leisurely two-hour circular walk around the site and the expected rain came to nothing.
Approaching my usual parking spot we had a lone Sparrowhawk above us and no shortage of Barn Swallows. The Bee-eaters were very active and seem to have excavated some of their nesting holes in a bank alongside the road. The occasional Blackbird of many to be seen during the day and even a rather smart male Serin plus the first of the many Goldfinch before we had gone very far. Spotless Starlings were moving around the site and a couple of Crested Larks immediately on front of the parked car along with a Great Tit busy exploring the base of an old olive tree immediately in front of us.
|Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Walking through the trees alongside the road many more Crested Larks and Sardinian Warblers plus the local House Sparrows. Collared Doves regularly alighted on the wires whilst above the Common Swifts were feeding much lower given the overcast weather. Before reaching the ruined building on top of the nearby slope we had found our first Hoopoe and Woodchat Shrike whilst a Greenfinch was resting on a distant fence.
|Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
The area around the spring and its holding pool was very productive providing both Goldfinch and Serin with the occasional Zitting Cisticola flittering around above. In the trees next to the reeds, where we could hear the Reed Warblers calling, first a Blackcap and quickly followed by Willow Warbler. Moving slightly away from the area we turned to find a Bonelli's Warbler in the tree on front of us.
Crossing the road and making our way onto the circular track we saw a Red-legged Partridge dash away through the trees then an other Woodchat Shrike below us. Indeed, we were to finally record four individuals. Above us a quartet of Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving towards the coast which led our eyes to the lone Booted Eagle making lazy circles in the sky. it was in this far part of the circuit that we found our a Red-rumped Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher and in the base of a nearby tree a Whitethroat. Also nearby were the noisy Monk Parakeets and a small number of Chaffinch.
|Juvenile Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
Once in the sandy area including the scrambling course we encountered far more Crested Larks, Kestrel and, although being late ion the year, one of Vaughan Williams's ascending Sky Larks. Stonechats included male, female and juveniles and also a Corn Bunting. Finally, having crossed the road onto Bee-eater territory we saw more of these delightful birds along with a single Wood Pigeon so taking our mornings species total to 35.
Red-legged Partridge, Booted Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Crested Lark, Sky Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinaian Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Bonelli's Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.