Sunday 11 September 2022

Tarifa Area

Resting Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

 Saturday 10 September

Very much like setting out n a farewell visit to sites I have enjoyed out here in Spain these past twenty years.  All still and heat already building in the clear blue sky as I left Velez de Benaudalla at 8 to take the long drive down to the Atlantic coast.  No shortage of Collared Doves on the journey but not another species until I arrived at Algarrobo, the first raptor point, just beyond Algeciras.  Then greeted by a foraging Blue Tit as I made my way up to the viewing point.

No heavy migration but a steady trickle of both Griffon Vultures and Booted Eagles before the first Black Kite and Short-toed Eagle.  A handful of Pallid Swifts and then the first of my four target birds (none if the others were to be seen) as a pair of Honey Buzzards moved off to cross the Strait. A Greenfinch slipped down the slope in front of me and the local Spanish birders managed to see a couple of Golden Oriel working their way through the trees below them.  Looking up a flock of fifty plus Bee-eaters passed overhead giving their usual location call. and a single Goldfinch was noted as I reached the exit with its gated fence.

Time to travel on to the western end of the headland and make a stop at the very popular, especially today, Cazalla viewing point above Tarifa.  Obviously a week-end as there must have been well over a hundred birders present and the car park full with double parking plus a continuous row of cars along both the entry and exit roads.  Not me idea of birding. Apart from Barn Swallows I had more Pallid Swifts, Griffon Vultures, Booted and Short-toed Eagles along with another Black Kite.

Time for a coffee stop before spending a couple of hours touring nearby La Janda.  What a welcome as an adult Woodchat Shrike sat patiently on a fence waiting for its photograph to be taken from a all angles; what a complete poser!  Moving on down the track towards the canal there was certainly no shortage of Stonechats as they continued to be seen for the rest of the visit.

Adult Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

Once at the canal having also noted the many Common Kestrels, a scan across the river to the far fields produced a score or more Glossy Ibis along with a single White Stork and a quartering male Montagu's Harrier. A Sardinian Warbler appeared in the bust in front of me and a couple of Stonechat posed on the opposite side of the track.

Male Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

Moving on down the track to the distant bridge over the river a Heron was disturbed on the river itself and a handful of Jackdaw rested on the wires above to my left.  Very many more White Stork were noted in the growing rice fields. The control gates across the river held a couple of Little and a single Cattle Egret whilst in the trees alongside the river a small number of both Spanish and House Sparrows were also recorded.

White Storks Ciconia ciconia in the growing rice

Approaching the bridge the pump house roof on the left held a score of Cattle Egrets with even more resting on the bank below.  Then, after maybe a dozen or more Common at last a Lesser Kestrel. At the "smelly farm" so many Jackdaws, nevermind the Feral Pigeons, it was like some ginormous murmuration as many took to the air at the same time. Before turning to retrace my steps to the river bridge followed by a right turn to access the distant main road, a Buzzard overhead.  And once on my way back to La Barca de Vejer it was decide whether or not to make a stop at the hacienda and golf course to see if there were any of the local population of Bald Ibis about when I came across three perched atop a wooden pole.  No need to visit the golf course and just as well as nothing to be seen at the birds' nesting site on Barca,  And so ended a long and fairly memorable day's birding as I reached my hostal for the next two nights.

Just a few of the scores of Cattle Egrets Bibulcus ibis

Birds seen:

Glossy Ibis, Bald Ibis, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Griffon Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Ringed Plover, Collared Dove, Bee-eater, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Sootless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

A small kettle of White Storks Ciconia ciconia

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