Saturday 25 February 2023

Hook with Warsash Nature Reserve

Flighty Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Saturday 25 February

A double visit to the local area today.  First, this morning, a circular walk down Workmans Lane taking in the Horse Fields, then on down to the shore and along the coast passing both the Meandering Pool and the Scrape before arriving home after 2 1/2 hours for the 5 1/2 hour circuit.  Then, mid-afternoon, a return to  the top of Workmans Lane so that I could walk the length of Hook Park Road and back, a gravelled track at best, hoping the hour spent on the 2 1/2km walk might produce a Mistle Thrush; it did not but I did add a further six species to this morning's total making a final count of 45.

Noting the Collared Dove, a bird not often seen at our end of the village, I arrived at my starting point around 9.45 I immediately had many calling Great Tits and the first of many Carrion Crows.  A Magpie was foraging in the adjacent horse field and a lone Black-headed Gull few over.  On the grassy meadow to my right as I walked down the lane more Carrion Crows and Magpies along with a single Brent Goose near the much-reduced water.  A Robin was recorded in the hedge and around me many passing and resting Woodpigeons.

The walk along the side of the Horse Field produced a few more Carrion Crows and in the meadow to my right a couple of Stonechat and a single Linnet.  making my way back I managed to find the resting Peregrine Falcon that was partially hidden behind the top tiers of the pylon.  Finding myself at the end of the path, where I had noted both Blue and Great Tits along with a single Long-tailed Tit on the feeders of the nearby bungalow, a Song Thrush was singing its heart out at the top of a tall tree and below it a pair of foraging Long-tailed Tits.  As I left to make my way down to the shore a Heron drifted over and away inland.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Once on the shore with the tide now at lest half-way in, very many Brent Geese totalling around 150 along with  single Redshank and an Oystercatcher.  On the water itself more Brents and a few Herring plus a single great Black-backed Gull.

Brent Geese Branta bernicla

Making my way to the Meandering Pool I picked up a skulking Moorhen in a watery area of reed and at the water itself a half-dozen Teal along with a single Snipe.  Next on to the Scrape where the pair of Mute Swans were accompanied by a few Mallard, a score of Pintail and small numbers of both Teal and Wigeon.  Two Oystercatchers were resting on the nearby small island and at the back along with a trio of Brent Geese a quartet of resting Shelduck.

Resting Shelduck Tadorna tadorna with a trio of Brent Geese

Finally the Spit area and the bays either side of the School of Navigation pier. At the first around forty Wigeon along with a few Black-headed and a single Common Gull plus a lone Little Egret.  The (still) mud flats on the sea side of the spit held over fifty Oystercatchers and a trio of Curlew.  The bays produced another two hundred Brent Geese along with around 450 Dunlin.  In addition, a few more Curlew plus a trio of Grey Plover, dozen Ringed Plover, about the same number of Redshank and maybe ten Black-tailed Godwits.

Hundreds of Dunlin Calidris alpina and Brent Geese Branta bernicla

In the weeds on the beach at the the northern side of the pier a couple of foraging Turnstone and on the small pool inside the ground of the School of Navigation a single Mediterranean Gull busy washing and preening itself.

Once lunch way out of the way I set off again to the top of Workmans Lane and took a the gravelled track, still known as Hook Park Road to its end in the centre of the hamlet of Hook itself.  Lots of Carrion Crows, Woodpigeons and Great Tits to start and then a couple of Rooks on my right at the edge of the neighbouring horse field.  In a field to my left no less than ten Magpies and on the wires a score of Starling.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

The bushes along the road produced more Blue and Great Tits along with both Robin and Dunnock.  After also recording a couple of Long-tailed Tits I took the side path towards the main Horse Field to check what might be in the distance and quickly saw a pair of Canada Geese.  As I rounded a bend in the narrow path a Wren dashed out form cover to cross in front of me and away to my right on the flooded track in front of the house seven Pied Wagtails and a male Chaffinch. Then, making my way back to the car, I added a Blackbird and a Kestrel was found resting in  tree to my right. And no sooner was I settled inside the car than a few drops of rain started to fall!

More Brent Geese Branta bernicla

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Little Egret, Heron, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Snipe, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Wren, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Linnet.

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Friday 24 February 2023

New Forest Birding

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Thursday 23 February

A morning n the New Forest in dry but cloudy weather and a horrible light cold breeze that reduced the just about double figure temperature by three or four degrees.  On my way to Bashford Lakes near Ringwood I stopped for thirty minutes at Eyeworth Pond by taking the northern route via Fritham and Fordingbridge.  Even though parked right next to the water I had to eventually get out of the car as two wandering Forest donkeys decided an open window meant food was on offer!

As ell as a Nuthatch and many more Chaffinches than usual, there was a plentiful supply of tits with mainly Blue and Great abut also single Coal and Marsh Tits.  The foraging Dunnocks were joined by Robins and a couple of Blackbirds whilst on the water over a dozen Mallards and a lone Heron resting on the far bank.  Looking behind me I managed to locate both Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow and as I was about to depart a male Goosander flew in and proceeded to bathe and ret before making its exit about five minutes later.  And as I left the site a quartet of Jackdaws on the power lines above.

Male Goosander Mergus merganser

Approaching the Blashford Lakes reserve at least thirty foraging Rooks in the neighbouring field and a pair of Mute Swans on the river opposite.  Straight to the Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water and the weather now very dull and cold with choppy waters.  No shortage of Coot and a few Tufted Ducks but the use of the scope revealed the main flocks of both the above along with almost an hundred Shoveler, a few Gadwall and a handful of Pintails.  Indeed, the far island held half a dozen resting Cormorant and a couple of Lapwing.

I did eventually find a quartet of Great Crested Grebe along with a small number of Wigeon and a good mixed raft of gulls, mainly Black-headed and Herring but also a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Moving across the road the the wooded part of the reserve the Ivy North Hide produced nothing knew other than a couple of Mute Swans on site plus more Wigeon.  As I moved on through the trees I encountered a small number of Blue Tits, Siskin and Goldfinches before entering the Woodland Hide.

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Having recorded a Wren on the approach, once inside the hide it again, as with Eyeworth, it became evident that there were far more Chaffinches about than on my last visit.  Also a plentiful supply of both Goldfinches and Greenfinches and certainly many more Siskins.  

Siskins Carduelis spinus (male bottom left, female top right)

Makin a rare appearance a couple of Blackbirds along with both Robin and Dunnock.  But, perhaps, the delight of this stay was the appearance of a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the feeding station beyond the plastic window, so chance of a photo.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Next came the walk down between the waters to the Ivy South Hide but first a stop to study the and photograph the resting Kingfisher on the edge of a thick bush in the middle of the small pool to my right.  What a lovely sight with its blue feathers shining brightly.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

From the hide a few more Cormorants and a handful of Black-headed Gulls but mainly more Wigeon and Shoveler.  A Heron was resting near the end of the reedbed and immediately above it a Little Egret had come to rest in a tree.  To its right as I looked I also found an immature Cormorant hiding behind the wooded branches and looking for all the world like some kind of raptor as seen through bins rather than scope.  Enlarged photos soon showed the true colours of the bird.

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

And then, thinking about what was missing, a Moorhen wandered out of the reeds immediately to my left and as I returned to the smaller pool, where I had seen the Kingfisher, at last a couple of Mallards.  And as I walked back and made a short return visit to the Woodland Hide, a single Long-tailed Tit obliged me with its presence.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta above Heron Ardea cinerea

But on this occasion, before departing I wandered across the track to follow the path to yet another water, Ellingham Lake, and was rewarded with a pair of Mute Swan and a Magpie. A couple of Canada Geese flew over and once back in the car I managed to ad both Jackdaw and House Sparrows as I made my departure.

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Goosander Mergus merganser

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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Wednesday 22 February 2023

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 22 February

Nevermind the photo opportunity Dave, good to see that you managed to survive the day and were rewarded with some good sightings, especially all those Corn Buntings, Red-legged Partridges and Griffon Vultures., on your latest Arboleas Birding Group adventure.  I note you mention Barrie and Jan joining you for the first time since Covid and I, too, (along with my Jenny) had the pleasure of their company back here in Warsash at the end of last month before they returned to Spain.  I think it was Barrie's first birding trip since Covid so pleased to read that he was able once more to join you.

Trust you'll be feeling better by next week and the camera banging on the case lid to be let out for some more of your cracking pictures.  Foe me, the New Forest beckons on the morrow so fingers crossed that I might just find a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and that the visiting Iceland Gull is still hanging about to the north of Southampton's eastern Dock.  Who knows!

Sierra de Maria  -  Wednesday 22nd February

Having spent some of the night on the toilet, I wasn't feeling too well, but being in charge of the birding I couldn't submit a sick note!  I headed north on the E15/A7 and the west on the Granada motorway, coming off at the Velez Rubio exit.  By-passing Velez Blanco I made my way to Maria, following behind Peter in his car.  The only bird I spotted en route was a Red-legged Partridge.  We stopped at the Repsol garage cafe where we were joined by Trevor, Barrie and Jan, the latter two joining us for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

After a coffee we made our way to the start of the loop, seeing a Collared Dove and Carrion Crows on the way.  Leading the convoy I saw some Chaffinch as we travelled through the forest area.  Once in the agricultural area I only added Thekla Lark, but Trevor, in Peter's car, saw a bush full of Corn Buntings. We stopped outside the village of Canadas de Canepla for a scan and catch up.  We found more Corn Buntings, some House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings and a solitary Rock Sparrow.

We carried on.  I spotted a Hoopoe followed by a Kestrel.  On the chimney stack of a farm building I found a Red-billed Chough, the others seeing a large flock.  Moving on we saw large flocks of Woodpigeon and small flocks of Linnet.  Jan and Barrie saw a Red-legged Partridge and an obliging Rock Sparrow.

We stopped at the cliff face.  Jan found a Stonechat on the reeds opposite.  We walked along the road to the far side.  Trevor and I added a Black Wheatear.  We carried on through the villages, past the air strip and onto the hamlet.  We saw more of the same.  Magpies, Spotless Starlings and Thekla Larks but Trevor did add a White Wagtail. 

At the hamlet he was first to see a male Black Redstart.  A pair of Red-billed Chough seemed interested in the barn where they'd nested in previous years.

We convoyed along the plain.  I saw a displaying Calandra Lark and a Little Owl perched on the small ruined building.

We stopped for lunch at the La Piza forest cafe.  Due to my gippy tummy, I only had a glass of milk...yes, I felt that bad!  The nuts we'd replenished the feeders at the end of last year had well and truly gone.  The cafe had put old pieces of bread next to the water pool.  We had visits from Coal, Blue, Long-tailed and Great Tits plus a Chaffinch.  As we were about to leave, a Crossbill and Robin made an appearance.  We said our goodbyes.  As I drove towards the Maria road, there was a large swirl of Griffon Vultures between the road and the mountain ridge, which, by the way, still had some snow on the shaded areas.  I counted at least 40 individuals.  Further along the road towards Maria I saw another 4.

We ended up with 28 species.  The weather was spring-like.  Sunny and warm enough to take our fleeces off.  Good birding in good company.  Unfortunately I didn't get a photo opportunity this week.

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Sunday 19 February 2023

Warsash and Southampton Water Shore

Sunday 19 February

A beautiful sunny morning with hardly any breeze and getting warmer and warmer as my two hour walk along Warsash shore and on down Southampton Water to both the Scrape and Meandering Pool was completed.  Other than a good flock of Black-headed Gulls around the small harbour very little to be seen until at the School of Navigation pier when a handful of Herring Gulls were seen resting on the water at high tide.

Approaching the Spit I took time to scope the nearside bank and identify the resting birds whist a couple of Carrion Crows flew over.  More than thirty Wigeon and twenty Teal but the main flock was the 82 sleeping/resting Oystercatchers plus a quartet of Redshank and three Curlew.

Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus with a single  Redshank Tringa totanus

Then on to the Scrape where I started with a pair of Mute Swans and a single Coot before checking the main water.  More Black-headed Gulls, Wigeon and Teal but also a few Mallard, another four Gadwall.  However, the min ducks were the very many, 21, Pintail at the back of the water.  Nearer to me I had four Shelduck and a pair of both Canada Geese and Little Grebe plus a lone Little Egret.  In addition three Brent Geese and a further four were noted flying down Southampton Water.

Pintail Anus acuta

Continuing on down to the meandering Pool I finally found the first of two Magpies and, on the water, a handful of Teal.  Beyond the pool and near he fence separating the reserve from the houses at the back I recorded both a Starling and another Curlew.  Making my way back between these two last waters I stopped to watch a trio of Sky Larks in the field housing the gorse bushes. Finally, back in the harbour at Warsash a Pied Wagtail was forging on the slipway.

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrelli 

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Coot, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Sky Lark, Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling.

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Saturday 18 February 2023

Lower Hamble River, Warsash

Saturday 18 February

Back from our Spanish visit and a first opportunity to get out for a little birding, albeit after lunch in order to let the tide recede.  A cloudy, miserable day with the feeling of damp, if not wet, in the air as I walked up past the conservation area and back taking 75 minutes for the 4kms.  As soon as I reached the river path I notice a trio of Brent Geese and single Black-headed Gull alongside a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits.  An octet of Turnstone flew downstream towards the mouth of the river.

Brent Geese Branta bernicla

Continuing on upstream the inlets with water held a number of both Wigeon and Teal along with a single Little Egret and a Greenshank.  Ere long more Wigeon plus a score or more Dunlin and a Little Grebe fishing just of the shore.  A quartet of Carrion Crow flew into the area to forage on the mud and then many more Wigeon and regular sightings of dozens of Black-headed but only the occasional Herring Gull.

Male Wigeon Anas penelope

Approaching the flat, shallow area of mud on the inland side of the path I counted 14 Shelduck with the same number of Canada Geese feeding on the grass of a nearby house.  Also present in the next garden a trio of Magpie and a handful of Meadow Pipits.  Meanwhile, at the water's edge, the only Grey Plover to be seen this afternoon.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

The conservation provided many more Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gulls along with a dozen Teal.  Yet another Little Egret to make three in the area and more Carrion Crows whilst a Robin sang from the top of a bare tree and the first Woodpigeons put in an appearance.  Making my way back to the end of the path and on to the house I noted the single Great Black-backed Gull resting atop a mast of a moored yacht just off the water's edge and, right at the end of the walk, a pair of Mute Swans leisurely making their way downstream.

Male Teal Anas crecca

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

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Friday 17 February 2023

Valencia to Santander via Gallocanta

Common Crane Grus grus

 Tuesday 14 & Wednesday 15 February

Time to start out on the long drive back home, leaving our son in Lliria to tale the road into Valencia and then north-west from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic coast in Santander where our ferry back to Portsmouth awaited us. Given that most of he journey would be completed on the Tuesday, our lunch break was calculated to have us near the Laguna de Gallocanta where, all being well, we would encounter some Cranes.  And indeed it did!

Another cool and cloudy start to the day as we said goodbye to the local Collared Doves, Magpies and our friendly male Black Redstart with no other birds until we were on the A23 from Valencia.  Birds only came occasionally and mainly Magpies and Carrion Crows but not before our first bird on this motorway which was a splendid Iberian Grey Shrike posed atop a small tree next to the carriageway. Having added both Spotless Starling and a Woodpigeon our first raptor was a Buzzard and, not long after, the first Red Kite of the day.  Approaching the turn off to Gallocanta we added a Kestrel and a Raven along with a few Crested Larks.

Overlooking the western end of Laguna Gallocanta

Approaching the laguna itself we first saw hundreds in the sky and then a massed flock of Cranes feeding on the fields to our left.  Our conservative estimate was over 500 individuals and arriving at the Visitors Centre we were informed that the "official" count undertaken two days previously recorded 6,400!  Lots of watching and use of the camera before moving on where we found hundreds more at the other end of the water.  Also at this site more Crested Larks and White Wagtails along with Chaffinch. Leaving the area to resume our journey north-west to our overnight stop at Haro we were delighted to add a pair of Red-legged Partridges.

Hundreds of Cranes Grus grus overhead

North of Zaragosa and crossing the sierras produced both Griffon Vultures and a Booted Eagle as well as more Buzzards.  Naturally, more Collared Doves and a Blackbird as we approached our destination.

The final three hours of our drive to Santander the following morning recorded more Carrion Crows plus a Marsh Harrier and a Kestrel, and then crossing the Ebro both Little Egret and Heron. Whilst awaiting to embark our ferry we saw many Black-headed along  with a dew Yellow-legged Gulls.

And some refused to fly with the masses!

Birds seen:

Red-legged Partridge, Little Egret, Heron, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Crane, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.

Cranes Grus grus less than 30 metres away and quite happy

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Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 15 February

Whilst I was driving the final part of journey from Haro in Rioja province to the ferry port at Santander in cool, cloudy weather, Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were off south to explore the lovely Cabo de Gata once again.  Sad to see that they has little in return for their journey, especially as we recorded twenty species on the total drive from Valencia to Santander, plus some lovely birds at a short stop at the Laguna de Gallocanta, 50km south-west of Zaragosa. (see separate report).  But, there again, those lovely Trumpeter Finches which managed to escape me last year and which are always a joy to see.  And the Golden Plover must have been a very pleasant addition.  Let's hope for better luck next week and maybe, also, much improved weather!

Trumpeter Finches Bucanetes githagineus
Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales:
Wednesday 15th February

The initial plan this week was to go to the Sierra de Maria, but checking the weather forecast I saw there was a 65% chance of rain whereas Cabo de Gata had a 20% chance.  Hence I headed south, picking up Juda at Los Gallardos.  There were some spots of rain on the way but nothing to deter us. Coming off the motorway we saw the first birds for the list, a small flock of Jackdaw.  We added Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, Magpie and Yellow-legged Gull before we arrived at the first hide car park. Trevor was already there and Peter S followed us in.

There was a bitterly cold and gusty north easterly wind which stayed with us all morning.  Scanning the water in front of us didn't warm our cockles.  The water level was high so there were no sandy shores or mud flats.  The rocky causeway only contained two Mallard who were later joined by a pair of Yellow-legged Gulls.  I spotted a Grey Heron hunkered down adjacent to an island to our left.  Down the left hand shrub line I found a Black-winged Stilt.  From here we could see no Greater Flamingos.

We adjourned for a refreshing cup of coffee in Cabo village, seeing House Sparrows as we slurped.  We then made our way to the second hide.  A seawatch proved negative.  The walk to the hide, against the wind, also didn't produce any birds.  There was no sign of any Stone Curlews in their usual place to the left.  We saw some more Yellow-legged Gulls and some Thekla Larks.  Far to the right in a distant salina I saw a huddled group of Greater Flamingos.  15 adults and 2 juveniles.  Peter then spotted a large flight of more Greater Flamingos coming in off the sea from the direction of Roquetas.  A check later of the photo I took, there appeared to be about 45 individuals, mostly adults.

We moved on to the public hide where Peter found some Black-winged Stilts and a pair of Shelduck. There was nothing on the track to the church.  As we drove back towards Cabo village I spotted a small flock of Greenfinch.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Just after the start of the beachside track to Rambla Morales, near the cafe, I spotted some Trumpeter Finches flitting about in the low shrubs.  We got out of the vehicles for a better look.  There were about 12.  Out to sea was an adult Gannet quite close in.  Further along we found a group of Spotless Starlings feeding.  With them were 9 Golden Plover.  As I was photographing them a small flock of brown birds landed in front of them.  A check of the picture later revealed some Skylark and another Trumpeter Finch.

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

There was nothing at the estuary apart from white foam. Peter spotted a Coot.  At the hump he found a solitary Black-tailed Godwit.  Also seen were some Greater Flamingos and Mallard. 

Flight of Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus

We ended up with 21 species, probably the lowest total we'd seen there.  It was however good to be out and about despite being cold!  Our last highlight was seen as we entered Pujaire village.  An adult Wild Boar standing by the side of the road.  Unfortunately traffic prevented me from stopping for a photocall! 

Regards, Dave

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Sunday 12 February 2023

Marjal dels Moros, Valencia

Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Saturday 11 February

Staying in Lliria, ten mike north-west of Valencia, with my youngest son and family so, at last, a chance to explore a local birding site thanks to some great research by my friend Chris Bell back in Worksop.  Only forty-five minutes away, the Marjal dels Moros reserve is huge reedbed with many lagoons and hidden pools on the coast about seven mile north of Valencia.  The day was completely calm albeit lots of white fluffy clouds with occasional blue breaks. so well wrapped up in many layers to keep out the cold.

Marjal dels Moros reserve looking east (away from coast)

No sooner had I arrived and walked through the entrance gap than I was presented with scores of feeding Crag Martins swirling about above me and numerous Chiffchaffs feeding in the reeds to my side. By the end of my 6 1/2 km anti-clockwise walk around the reserve in just under four hours than I had estimated both species to be well into the hundreds.  And once reaching the main pools the number of resting Shoveler topped both with a calculated 160 individuals.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

On the first lagoon I also found both Teal and Mallard along with a quartet of Cormorant. The first of three White Wagtails put in an appearance followed by a Coot. Then, at the back of the water, my first Purple Swamphen fiddling around at the reed base.  I was later to see three more Swamphens and many more Coot.

Mainly Shoveler Anas clypeata with a few Teal Anas crecca

Leaving the water I noticed my first Robin and then at the second lagoon a whole host of ducks.  Mainly Shoveler but also scores of Teal along with about a score of Common and almost as many Red-crested Pochard, a few Mallard and a Gadwall.  Just in front of me a couple of sleeping male White-headed Ducks but before departing more appeared out of the reeds totalling four males and two females.  A Little Grebe was busy feeding and behind me on the scrubland the first of eight Stonechat to be recorded.

Four male and two female White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucosphala

However, this particular hide, the second, remained focused in my mind as the site where, within five metres of the entrance, a female Cirl Bunting landed on the verge immediately in front of me.  With the camera still inside its bag within the rucksack on my back, it was a case of telescope down and bins up to take in its pristine condition; what a gorgeous bird and certainly my "Bird of the Visit."

Meanwhile, a Grey Heron flew over and away to the nearby coast and I moved on to the second hide overlooking this water and found a trio of Black-winged Stilts along with another Purple Swamphen. Way off to the left a Gadwall moved into sight and a Cetti's Warbler let forth with its raucous call.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio

Continuing on I came across a Zitting Cisticola before the next tower hide overlooking a water that seemed to consist of purely Mallards and a single Purple Swamphen other than the obligatory Crag Martins. But then  change in direction led to a small elevation enabling me to look over the trees and scrub below.  It was here that I saw both the Booted Eagles and Marsh Harrier and a Magpie flew over the area.  As I moved on both a Buzzard and a Kestrel. and then looking down a  another track I was somewhat amazed to see, at about thirty metres, a Kingfisher resting high in a small tree. 

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus

A single Chaffinch moving towards the last big hide where it seemed to be the turn of the Gadwalls to take centre stage.  As I departed a couple of Little Egrets flew in and landed, one in the reeds and the other on the track itself.  Finally, as I gradually made my way back to the car and starting point, a stop at the final hide which produced a couple of Grey Herons and more Teal and Mallards.  Approaching the car I recorded both House Sparrows and Woodpigeon and at the car itself a small charm of five Goldfinches were in the adjacent trees.  And just to finish off the day, as I moved away I noted both Spotless Starlings and a Collared Dove on the wires at the side of the road.

Male and female Teal Anas crecca

Birds seen:

Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Male Gadwall Anas strepera

Female Teal Anas crecca

White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucosphala

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus

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