Thursday 27 May 2021

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa with the Arboleas Birding Group

Bee-eater Merops apiaster (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

 Wednesday 26 May

Lovey to read about the good day's birding undertaken by Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group.  It had been my intention to join the group until I realised that the previous evening was the annual community meeting so no time to book an overnight in the area.    Reading the report I, too, would like to add my best wishes to John (who I had the pleasure of meeting on a couple of occasions) and Marion upon their relocation back in Britain and trust the move goes well and no Covid paperwork problems!  Jenny and I will also be making the same change of plans come the end of the year, albeit we will retain our base in Velez de Benaudalla (Granada province) to use for birding visits once settled in at Warsash at the mouth of the Hamble River overlooking its confluence with Southampton Water.

It would appear that Black-winged Stilts are being found everywhere and also single, or few, sightings of Glossy Ibis.  yet again I seem to have missed out on a Little Bittern but I'll get their in the end!  It may be my imagination but you're now very lucky to see one of the handfulof White-headed Ducks at the Guadalhorce in Malaga but their still seem to be plenty around.  Indeed, up at Daimiel last week they could be counted in scores, well out-numbering all the other ducks present even if you doubled the latter.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 26th May

Going local this week. I picked Juda up from the Ballabona service station on the A7/E15 and headed via Cuevas de Almanzora to the rambla.  On the roadside power line near the Desert Springs golf complex we saw a Roller.  A Stone Curlew flew across the road in front of us.  We joined the rambla and stopped at the first weir pool.  Only Mallard and Moorhen in the water, but plenty of House Martins flying above it.  A Red-rumped Swallow  made an appearance.  Driving further along, Juda spotted a single Glossy Ibis, presumably the same one we saw three weeks ago in the same place.  There we added Little Egret and Black-winged Stilt.  Also seen were Hoopoe, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow and Barn Swallow. The only birds at the ford were Black-winged Stilts.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We parked up on the embankment next to Peter and Adrian.  We were joined by Michael, Karen, Kevin, John, Trevor and Neville.  Having seen Collared Dove, Woodpigeon and Common Swift we began to walk towards the sewage works.  John spotted a Serin.  At the sewage we saw a Little Ringed Plover.  Trevor was first to see a Black-headed Gull.  On the big pool we found some Common Pochard.  Around the peripherals were Mallard and Black-winged Stilts.  John added Greenfinch whilst Peter and Adrian saw a Grey Wagtail.  A Hoopoe flew over. It was part albino.  Both outer halves of the wings were pure white!  We could hear Reed Warblers.  We added White Wagtail, Blackbird and Thekla Lark.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We adjourned for coffee in Villaricos village.  We were joined by David and Myrtle who came down especially to say their goodbyes and best wishes to John, my second in command, who's going back to the UK with his wife Marion.  As a group we all wished them both all the best.

We made our way down to the beach.  With the breakers coming in with force, unsurprisingly there was no birdlife on the harbour rocks.  Trevor did find a resting Cormorant drying its wings on the beach.  Nearby was a Kentish Plover.

We walked over the flat "field" and up the embankment to view the estuary.  Numerous Coot were in evidence.  John found some Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls.  Sitting next to them was a Sandwich Tern and a Little Tern.  Close by was the resident Whimbrel.  Also seen were a Grey Heron and a Ringed Plover.  We walked back via the beach and saw nothing new.

We made our way to the dual carriageway at the back of Vera Playa, which overlooks a shallow wetland.  Apart from previously seen Mallard, Common Pochard, Coot and Black-winged Stilts, Kevin spotted a Little Grebe and then a Black-necked Grebe.  There were a few Greater Flamingos.  I spotted some White-headed Ducks.  John then found a fast low flying Little Bittern above the far reeds.  Moving beyond the hump, he found a perched Whiskered Tern, behind which were some Cattle Egret. 

White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
(Male above, female below)

Michael and Karen departed as we moved on.  Kevin and John stopped at the first elevated viewing platform whilst the rest of us made for the second one.  Both parties added Red-crested Pochard, females and ducklings for us and males for them.  We had close up views of a pair of White-headed Ducks.  Amongst the House Martins and Barn Swallows I found a Sand Martin.  We said our goodbyes.  John saw an Iberian Grey Shrike on his way home.
A total of 46 species today.  A good day in good company.
Regards, Dave

Female Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina with ducklings (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Algarrobo Costa

Collared Dove Tortola Turca Streptopelia decaocto

 Tuesday 25 May 

Another beautiful, clear and sunny start to the day so chance for a relatively early walk u the nearby Rio Algarrobo where there is still a swift stream flowing down to the sea following the heavy rain last Sunday.  Monk Parakeets and Collared Doves at the start in the first treed area with the bowling facilities and as I approached the far end the first of four Spotted Flycatchers to be seen in the next hour.  Entering the more open area more Collared Doves along with a number of Blackbirds and a couple of Goldfinch.

Record shot of Spotted Flycatcher Papamoscas Gria Muscicapa striata

 A Wood Pigeon was restring on the wires and as I made my way upstream a few Spotless Starling and numerous Barn Swallows along with regular House Martin sightings.  Up beyond the ford and the first House Sparrows and a single Crag Martin dashed upstream to, presumably, its nest under the motorway.  Round the corner and underneath the motorway and a White Wagtail was foraging in a large puddle but little else other than Barn Swallows and a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Lots of water at the upper ford beyond the hidden pool so a start on the return journey which produced another White Wagtail, Rock Dove and more Spotted Flycatchers.  However, it was lovely to also record a Red-rumped Swallow.  Approaching the end a sight of the local breeding Pallid Swifts and so back home for coffee.

Wood Pigeon Paloma Torcaz Columba palumbus

Birds seen:

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Pallid Swift, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Friday 21 May 2021

Las Campimuelas

 Friday 21 May

Up to my usual parking place at the top of Las Campinuelas by 9.20 and already 20C in the clear blue sky and with little breeze it was certainly going to be uncomfortable birding.  In addition, the trees were now in full leaf so bird spotting, whether in the high or low vegetation, was going to be somewhat challenging.  Notwithstanding, Barn Swallow, Blackbird, Spotless Starling and House Sparrow already recorded as I parked up the car.

Male Blackbird Mirlo Comun Turdus merula

Setting off along the track parallel to the road I soon added Sardinian Warbler and the first of very many Crested Lark. Approaching the ruin on the hill a Collared Dove was calling from the remains, a Bee-eater was on the wires and the first Goldfinch were seen below.  A couple of Greenfinch made a hasty departure from the pool below to be quickly followed by the sight of a trio of Serin.

Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata

Crossing the road the top path took me to the top of the hill offering opportunities to observe Common Swift and House Martin with yet more Greenfinches before bearing left and heading off down the track to encounter Monk Parakeets and a Spotted Flycatcher.  Continuing the circuit many more Blackbirds and Crested Larks along with Barn Swallows and a number of recently fledged Goldfinches.  Once back across the road and onto the final field I stopped to admire the Little Owl resting on a concrete pillar, but not long enough to get a photograph, and Bee-eaters were again to be seen.  Finally, a lone Wood Pigeon on top of a pylon.  Back at the car a Hoopoe crossed the road and as I drove to the far end of the site to take the road to Caleta I was seen off by a Lesser Black-backed Gull sitting atop one of the floodlights on the adjacent Velez Malaga football stadium.  And of course, the resident breeding Pallid Swifts were waiting to welcome me back to Algarrbo Costa!

Birds seen:

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Little owl, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Daimiel, Castilla la Mancha

 Tuesday 18  May

Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus at Navaseca

Monday morning and up to Frigiliana by 9.30 to collect friend Steve Powell for our visit to Daimiel in the Ciudad Real province of Castilla la Mancha.  The weather was set fair and, indeed, promised to be hot and clear so a short stop at the lake at Padul, half way between Salobrena and Granada, to check out what might be about.  A little disappointing to arrive and fins both a very large and smaller coach in the car park but, fortunately for us, most of the young children were enjoying the entrance picnic area.  off through the trees and immediately both Reed Warbler and Nightingale along with Blackbird and Wood Pigeon. By the time we had reached the end of the following boardwalk we had also recorded a Mallard, Cetti's Warbler and small flock of Waxbill.  A pair of Blackcaps were seen and above us a pair of circling Booted Eagles.  A few Goldfinch, Spotless Starlings and many Common Swifts before the first Magpie of the morning.  Overlooking the reedbed from the raised platform we were also to observe a quartering Marsh Harrier.  Just time for a quick circuit of the site in the car picking up both Great Tit and Crested Lark before on our way to Daimiel with a stop for lunch once inside Castilla la Mancha.  Also seen n the journey were Griffon Vulture, Kestrel and a Raven along with many Magpies and Wood Pigeon.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus quatering Padul

Arriving in Daimiel it was straight to the Laguna Navaseca where there seemed to be more water than last year.  From the top car park we could see scores and scores of feeding Common Swifts with, on and over the water, many Black-headed Gulls, a good number of Whiskered Tern and the expected scores of Flamingos.  Ducks included Common and Red-crested Pochard, Mallard, Shelduck and very many White-headed Ducks.  Naturally there were Black-winged Stilts, Coots and Moorhen plus a plentiful supply of both Little and Black-necked Grebes plus the occasional Great Crested Grebe.  This lake is well-known for its breeding Greylag Geeses and in this we were not to be disappointed.

Coot Fulica atra

Moving on to the roadside hide at the far end of the lake we had our first Serin and noticed the small amount of water in the pool on the opposite side of the road.  here we were to find a handful of Glossy Ibis and Black-winged Stilts along with a quartet of Redshanks, Common Sandpiper and both Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers.  Checking the main pool on the opposite side of the road we noticed the Avocets, Great Reed warblers and even heard a couple of Savi's Warblers.  A Little Tern paid a visit to the area  and soon we were off to check the remaining hides before taking the track alongside the back of the water where we also added Corn Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and very many more White-headed Ducks.  It was rom one of these later hides that we saw our first Marsh Harriers and only Little Egret of this visit.  Our final bird of the visit before rejoining the main road was a Bee-eater where we came across a trio resting on the wires at the edge of a vineyard.

Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus by the score

Time to head off and check into our countryside hostal for the evening and witness the marvellous surroundings of what looked like a massive hacienda set in rolling countryside with wandering Peacocks and Guinea Fowl.  All settled in and overnight cases deposited we decided on an early evening visit to the Tablas de Daimiel some twenty minutes away.

Far more water at Navaseca than Tablas de Daimiel

Approaching the main water we stopped to note the Greylag Geese on the river, the White Storks on and around their nests before parking at the entrance to the reserve where major works were being undertaken to, presumably, create a very large, organised car park.  Entering, we discovered that in order to minimise personal contact with others there was now a one-way, anti-clockwise trail.   Being very ate in the afternoon we were not expecting to see more than the occasional visitor so happily wandered along seeing Collared Dove and Corn Bunting and listening to the many, very vocal, Nightingales. This initial track took us to the hide overlooking the recovery lake which held Wigeon, Garganey, Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous, Tufted and White-headed Duck, as well as the nesting Barn Swallows actually inside the hide, before moving on towards the outward boardwalk.

White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (male above and female below)

Once on the boardwalk and in the reeds we were, literally, being deafened by the singing Great Reed Warblers along with Reed and Savi's Warblers.  Lots of Magpies and Wood Pigeons about and having discovered how little water there was, it being completely dry once beyond the first, relatively small pool, we made our way round to the far boardwalk and back to the original pool.  Here, many more warblers of Reed, Great Reed and Savi's persuasion along with a lovely male Reed Bunting.  A couple of pairs of Coot both had three chicks and were bust feeding the small beaks.  Then making our way back to the car park both Blackbird and Glossy Ibis overhead along with calling Hoopoes and a solitary Spotted Flycatcher in the old trees just opposite the car.

Coot Fulica atra with one of its three chicks

Time to stop for some liquid refreshment at the small bar near the former water mill having just passed a trio of departing Red-legged Partridge and whilst sitting outside enjoying our drinks we watched the local House Sparrows, Crested Larks, Magpies and White Storks we noticed the handsome male Marsh Harrier to our left and a trio of Squacco Herons flew in overhead on their way to , presumably, their evening roost on the river behind.  And so to bed in readiness for an early departure come the morning.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia

Up and out of the hostal just after daybreak so that we arrived back at the Tablas de Daimiel by 7.15.  On leaving the front door a Blackbird was flying across the car park, Collared Dove calling from the tree on the left and above us a Golden Oriole singing from the nearest tree.  As we approached we noticed a Little owl resting on top of a small farm hut and arriving in the car park the usual assortment of Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon and Magpies.  First to arrive, and suddenly discovered having come dressed for yesterday's hot weather that the temperature was only 11C so really need the hot sun to warm us up as soon as possible! 

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoenicius (Male above, female below)

Working our way straight to the boardwalk to pick up the anti-clockwise track having, as we passed the old mill area, watched a pair of Carrion Crows crossed the mall trees just above our heads, a most unexpected and pleasant surprise.  In addition, White Storks on our left and right and a few Greylag Geese resting below us on the left.  Immediately we could hear numerous Nightingales and a few Great Tits before reaching the reeds where upon our senses were blasted by the raucous calling of the Great Reed Warblers along with an undercurrent of Reed and Savi's Warblers.  It soon became obvious that here were plenty of Linnets about and the males looking particularly handsome in their red breeding waistcoats.

Female Linnet Carduelis cannabina

A Great White Egret flew from the right in front of us and then a trio of Red-legged Partridge made a hasty departure.  Barn Swallows were flying overhead as we reached the first water which produced both Common Pochard and Mallard.   Having watched a pair of Flamingo fly over we then noticed the trio of Black-winged Stilts to our left and a distant Marsh Harrier.  Next over from the direction of the river a couple of Night Herons whilst the Coot fed their young and all accompanied by the constant calling of Hoopoes.

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra

No sooner had we stated again and we were at the platform overlooking what we think of as the Bearded Tit area.  Lots of both Reed and Great Reed Warblers but, eventually, a couple of brief sightings of female Bearded Tits.  At this point a distant flight of Glossy Ibis from the direction of the river plus a pair of Greylag Geese whilst foraging in the reeds was a Blue Tit and more Linnets. On towards the old, stone croft and a real pleasing surprise as a Roller flew from left to right in front of us.  Once in the hilly meadow with its mass of red flowers, more and more Linnets, House Sparrows and Crested Larks along with a few Tree Sparrows.  Whilst at the top near the mirador a cattle Egret flew past and it was obvious that the river below must have been the overnight roosting area for the egrets and herons, especially as a Grey heron was still present.

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

Working our way onwards the first of many Corn Buntings which seemed to enjoy occupying every tall, single tree.    A single juvenile Stonechat remained stationary for a long time then the loud calling of Cetti's Warblers.  More Marsh Harriers to our right near the river and a Spoonbill, or maybe two, flew in towards said water.  back, eventually, to the boardwalk we now continued round to the back of the original pool and spent much time watching at the Linnets and Great Reed Warblers as we tried to photograph both Savi's and Reed Warbler.  A quartet of Purple Heron flew over and returned to settle down in the reeds to our left.  On the water in front both Common Pochard and Mallard plus also a pair of Gadwall. An Avocet flew in and then we concentrated on the Reed Buntings.  In front of us suddenly a pair of Iberian Yellow Wagtails which later returned to pose on the reeds to our advantage.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

Once the Gadwalls had moved on and been replaced by a pair of Shelduck we made our way back towards the car park finding Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Red-rumped Swallow and a number of Common Swifts.  Indeed, it seemed quite out of place to suddenly have a single Black-headed Gull above us!  Now it was a case of a very hurried return to the hostal to be in time for breakfast which was only served till 10.30 and then pack up and make our departure.

Gadwall Anas strepera

By 11 o'clock we were back on the road and decided to make a further, short stop at the Tablas before finally saying our goodbyes at the Laguna de Navaseca.  This time it was straight to the far board walk to spend more time trying to catch good sightings of the ever-present Savi's Warblers, albeit the Great Reed Warblers refused to remain either hidden or quiet.  Lovely to continue to see Nightingales, Reed Buntings and Linnets along with both Reed and Great Reed Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Common Swifts and Barn Swallows but the time finally came to move on to the Navaseca.

Female Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with ducklings line astern

This time we entered form our previous exit track to travel in reverse order and had soon observed Crested Lark, Goldfinches and Serin.  Once in sight of the water scores of Flamingo and Black-headed Gulls along with so many duck species, especially White-headed Duck, but also Shoveler, Common and Red-crested Pochard, and Shelduck.  Both Little and Black-necked Grebe were still present along with the scores of Common Swifts and many Barn Swallows.  Certainly no shortage of Coots but just the single Moorhen.  Add on Little EgretAvocet and Greylag Geese and the you began to wonder how all the water birds managed to find enough space never mind food! For Steve and the visiting Spanish birder it was the trio of Marsh Harriers that seemed to capture the most attention.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus at Navaseca

Finally, back at the little pool at the side of the "main" road it was obvious that the last of the water would be gone within a day or two if no more rain but still a handful of Glossy Ibis present along with Black-winged StiltRedshank, Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover.  And, as you might expect, out of the reeds the continuous calling of Savi's, Reed and Great Reed Warbler.  Time to make our way all the way back to the Andalucian coast.

That Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus continues to sing

At last we found a couple of  Buzzards as we made our way south and so, eventually back to Frigiliana where we were welcomed by the first House Martins seen these past two days and Steve was able to rejoin his wife.  But not just House Martins.  As with first thing this morning, on getting out of the car a Golden Oriole was singing from the tree opposite.  Home for me in Mezquitilla where I was welcomed by the first Pallid Swifts and Monk Parakeets seen since last week-end and as I parked the car behind the house I looked up to see the "missing" White Wagtail foraging on the road.  A great visit, great weather and enjoyable company which finally resulted in a total of 87 species.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus with Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Night Heron Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Crested Lark,  Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Golden Oriole, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Waxbill, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.

More photographs from Daimiel:

Bee-eater Merops apiaster

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea

Common Redshank Tringa totanus

Two of the many Greylag Geese Anser anser

The many remaining Poppies Stylophorum still make a lovely sight on the bank of the meadow

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 18 May

Good to see Dave out with an almost full compliment of the Arboleas Birding Group and also finding some good birds.  Even after all my new bird yesterday up in Daimiel I am still to see both a Little Bittern and a Short-toed Eagle.  Have to see where you are off to next week!  The Short-toed Eagle was certainly a great sighting but then also Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Lesser Kestrel and Hobby; you were well and truly spoiltl!

Sierra de Maria   -   Wednesday 19th May

Decided to head off to our favourite local birding destination this morning....the Sierra de Maria.  The weather looked good and it will be nice to escape the hotter temperature that have recently been endured!  Juda and I left from my house and headed north in a roundabout sort of way, now that we can enter the Murcia region.  As we passed the cliff face just outside Velez Blanco, a Blue Rock Thrush passed the front of the truck.  A good start.

We met up with Peter, Adrian, Trevor, Michael and Karen at the Repsol garage cafe in Maria town.  As we drank coffee about 20 House Martins were nesting under the garage canopy.  We also saw Common Swift, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling.

I decided we'd miss out the Botanical gardens and "do" the loop.  As we convoyed down to the right turn, the start of the loop, I spotted three Griffon Vultures soaring to our left.  We didn't see any birds to begin with, but as we drove round some narrow bends we were greeted by a low flying Short-toed Eagle.  As bad luck would have it, I couldn't stop because...A) narrow bends .....B) a huge lorry was following the convoy!  No photo then.  We carried on, seeing Thekla Lark, Carrion Crow and a perched Little Owl.  A pair of Calandra Lark flittered over a wheat field.  I had a brief glimpse of a Rock Sparrow.  Behind our vehicle, and out of our view, Trevor, Michael and Karen had a good view of a probable Golden Eagle.  As we approached the village a Raven was seen. 

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)

We stopped at the start of the track.  Griffon Vultures were soaring behind the village.  I spotted a Goldfinch on a power line and Karen saw a Magpie.  Also seen were a Corn Bunting and a Collared Dove.  We carried on along the now revamped track seeing more Thekla Larks and Corn Buntings.  Juda then spotted a Roller over the far side of a field to our left. 

Roller Coracias garrulus (Photo: David Elliott-Binns

I added a Stonechat and a Zitting Cisicola near the reed bed area.  A pair of Bee-eaters flew out of a low sandy roadside bank.  We didn't stop. We stopped one side of the cliff face.  All we could find were nesting House Sparrows. We could hear a Nightingale. We walked to the far side of the cliff face.  I eventually found a Black Wheatear on some rocky outcrop to our left. Further down the road to our left we saw another pair of Bee-eaters.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)
I found a Spotted Flycatcher in the same area.  We moved on.  Juda and I were some distance ahead of the other two vehicles.  Two falcon type birds flew from an isolated tree to our left and began to gain height.  Couldn't believe my eyes.  A pair of Hobbys.  Sadly they had disappeared into the ether before the others joined us.  We carried on into the cave house hamlet and was amazed to find a Red-billed Chough on top of a pylon.  Just along the power line was another Bee-eater.

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorrax (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)

En route to the hamlet at the end of the plain I spotted a Black-eared Wheatear fly across the road in front of us as did a Short-toed lark species.  At the hamlet there was a female Lesser Kestrel sitting on top of their nesting barn roof.  A photo later revealed that it had been ringed. 

Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)

Nothing else was seen, so we headed along the plain.  We stopped when I spotted a perched Little Owl.  Our intention was to stop at the water trough, but 100+ goats beat us to it!  Plan B was to head for the La Piza forest cafe.  En route I found a Mistle Thrush.  There were no nuts in the feeders, so no activity there.  Peter spotted a Jay and Adrian, a Blackbird.  Above us a plume of 35+ Griffon Vultures soared.

Only 33 species seen today, but some crackers amongst them! Great company.
Regards, Dave

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Sunday 16 May 2021

Rio Algarrobo

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala

 Sunday 16 May

The start of another very warm, clear and sunny day so off for my walk up the the nearby Rio Algarrobo before 9 am and its gets too hot; also before the massed dog-walkers take to the paths and let their dogs run free, whether it be along the path or actual river bed.  And the decision certainly paid off with 23 species recorded in just over the hour and back whist still comfortable in the increasing warmth.

Entering the wooded play area at the start I was greeted by House Sparrow, Collared Dove and Monk Parakeet.  Ere the visit was finished I had seen a score of Collared Doves and a dozen Monk Parakeets.  No sooner had I moved into the more open trees I had the first of a dozen Blackbirds and numerous calling Goldfinches which duly presented themselves.  A pair of Blackcap were bust feeding and then, what a lovely surprise, a diminutive Western Olivaceous Warbler, Isabelline if you prefer, foraging in the leaves immediately above me.

Female Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

Continuing on up the wooded path I was aware of the local Pallid Swifts from the nearby apartment blacks feeding above and then stopped to admire a Spotted Flycatcher doing what these birds do.  Before long they were joined, at a lower level, by a good number of both Barn Swallows and House Martins. At the top of the large bare tree a single Wood Pigeon and a further two recorded on the return journey. Before reaching the ford I also added my first of a quartet of Serin and this next stretch of the riverbed held the only water; a number of small, clear puddles that held a visiting Common Sandpiper.  Once at the motorway no more water anywhere upstream but I did find a resting female Kestrel under the motorway atop one of the supports.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Once at the far end of the "hidden pool" I found my fist Sardinian Warbler and a second Spotted Flycatcher.  Over the irrigation pool a handful of Common Swifts and a departing Lesser Black-backed Gull.  More hirundines and then the start of the return journey.  Back under the motorway one of the breeding Crag Martins had returned to the site and on the opposite side a Rock Dove atop an electricity pylon.  A few Greenfinches and Goldfinches at the back near the sewage works having, as is my way,  taken the diversion and once back to the open trees near the end of the trail a pair of Hoopoes.  A most satisfying and leisurely walk.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Birds seen:

Kestrel, Common Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch. Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information