Sunday 17 October
Away from the hotel before 8.30 so that we could take a quick breakfast and then on to the sandy south side of the salinas for almost three hours before heading back to Mezquitilla and a celebratory birthday lunch with friends. There had been a light shower of rain during the night so fresher air and a little cloud at the start of the birding but quickly warming during our visit.
No sooner had we passed through the entrance gate than a pair of Hoopoe flew over and once at the small pond on the left a number of House Sparrows whilst on the water Mallard. Moorhen and Coot along with a single Little Grebe. A lone Great White Egret passed high overhead followed by a Marsh Harrier quartering the reed beds and once on the main track a trio of Barn Swallow. Stopping to check one of the very many Stonechat we saw a few Spotless Starlings and Crested Lark.
|Sanderling Calidris alba|
A little more water than on my visit last month but only that there were now a few puddles, probably a result of last night's rain. On such salina produced a wealth of small waders including Ringed Plover and Little Stint along with Redshank, Sanderling and Dunlin. The next short drive also produced Kentish Plover with Iberian Grey Shrike atop a bush on the opposite side of the track. At least three Kestrels recorded in this general area plus a pair of Sardinian Warblers.
|Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis|
Once back to the main water a number of Flamingos and resting on the causeways Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls. Lovely to see the quartet of Audouin's Gulls. Amongst the gulls Redshank, Greenshank, Little Egret and Black-winged Stilt.
Looking ahead we watched the and movement of closely-packed flock of over 500 Spotless Starlings which seemed to feeding in the low bushes. Left of them another Iberian Grey Shrike.
|Just a few of the Spotless Starlings Sturnus unicolor|
Once at the end of the track near the pumping ruins more waders including Sanderling, Greenshank, Dunlin and Black-winged Stilt. These were later to be joined by more Kentish and Ringed Plovers. On the water, many more Flamingos along with Glossy Ibis and Great Crested and Black-necked Grebe. Even a couple of Slender-billed Gulls. Barbara drew our attention t the female Peregrine Falcon that had landed near the top of a pylon for a long rest. A White Wagtail walked across the track.
|Distant female Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus|
Watching a Marsh Harrier crossing the back of the water our attention was drawn to the three Magpies atop a pylon. Almost as a last scan of the area I picked up a tightly packed flock of Avocet in the distance to the far left and as we watched they took off, circled and returned to their original position. Time to make a start back to the main gate and the return journey but this time following a few of the inland tracks. We were well rewarded when a Song Thrush flew across and posed but not long enough to lift our cameras. Almost immediately an obliging Robin posed instead.
Mallard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.
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