Thursday 25 May 2023

Birding Loja

Thursday 25 May

Another day's excellent birding with my friend, Mick Richardson which produced excellent results, including many new species for the year (12 out of the 62 species I recorded).  Today we concentrated on the area immediately around Mick's home with a relatively early morning visit upon the hill to the Cerro Hacho and then, following a coffee break in Loja itself, a drive ups to the top of the Sierra de Loja.  Finally, after a late sandwich, a short visit to the nearby Balsa de Regidor on the outskirts of Moraleda to check the water's birdlife.  Back home for a rest before starting on photographs and records with a farewell dinner at nearby Huetor Tajar to end my stay.

Approaching the Cerro Hacho we had Turtle Doves, a lovely Little Owl followed by the first of many Mistle Thrushes and then, upon parking the car, Blackbird, many Chaffinches and a few Woodpigeons. Starting our walk along the track through the long abandoned almond orchard we soon added Greenfinch, Great Tit, Serin and Wren before Mick heard the Western Orphean Warbler calling.  Patience was rewarded when the bird was sighted very near Ito us but only a poor record shot obtained.  Nevertheless, a lovely sight. 

Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis

Continuing on down the track a close male Sardinian Warbler before a pair of Hoopoe were seen below us.  Working our way back towards the car we added a lovely Bonelli's Warbler and I managed to find a Crested Tit well-hidden in a thick bush where upon Mick was able to find a second individual. Ere long we added both Short-toed Tree-creeper and Blue Tit before spotting the soaring Sparrowhawk above the mountain summit to our right.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melancocephala

On the wires above us we found two Crossbill and in the abandoned quarry below a Black Wheatear. Making our way back to the road a Rock Bunting and then a pair of Woodchat Shrikes.  Time to start our descent to the town of Loja adding a Montagu's Harrier, House Martins and Common Swifts.  Approaching our morning coffee stop, we added House Sparrow, Collared Dove, a pair of Common Kestrel and both Barn and Red-rumped Swallows.

It was whilst in the cafe that we met up with members of the local Guardia Civil who informed us that the track up the Sierra Loja was not closed earlier that usual; the closure only applied to National Parks in Andalucia and Loja did not have such an identification.  No question, therefore, where we headed as soon as we left the cafe!

Rock Bunting Emberiza cia

Given that we were heading up the Sierra Loja later than would have been the case had we been aware of the situation, we made our way directly to the top and the favoured site for seeing a Rock Thrush. On the way ew noted Rock Bunting and many Thekla Larks plus a plentiful supply of Red-legged Partridges.

Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis

During our stay trying to locate a Rock Thrush we found many Rock and House Sparrows plus a Corn Bunting, a few Black and Black-eared Wheatears, Black Redstart and Blue Rock Thrush. A small number of Linnets, Goldfinches and Greenfinches were moving about and we also had Crag Martins near the cliff face. We also saw a Griffon Vulture.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe Hispanic

The occasional Stonechat put in appearance as did Woodpigeon.  Above us not only Common (predominantly) and Pallid Swifts but also at least one Alpine Swift to bring a smile to our faces. It was as we started our, now slower, descent that we added Blackbird, more Red-legged Partridges and then both Jackdaw and Red-billed Chough as we approached the tree line.  Similarly, nearing the bottom we also added Turtle and Collared Dove, Iberian Magpies, Hoopoe and Great Tit.  Mick also heard the distant Bee-eaters and Orphean Warbler plus seeing a Short-toed Tree-creeper.

Next followed a quick visit to the old quarry where we found a Rock Bunting posing a the top of the tallest tree and a few feet below if our only Dartford Warbler of the day. Above us a few House Martins.

It may've been a tiring day but still mid-afternoon so we made a quick, short visit to the large irrigation lake known as the Balsa de Regidor on the outskirts of Moraleda.  Not a lot of bird life but, nevertheless, it was gratifying to find two successful clutches of Pochard ducklings on the water with their parents.  Also preset a Moorhen, Coot and a single Little Grebe. In the nearby vegetation and trees a calling Golden Oriole along with Chaffinch, Cetti's Warbler, Great Tit and Magpie.

Common Pochard Aythya ferina with ducklings


Following a light evening meal at a local bar we travelled back home and continued top to the wooded area in the hope that we might find a resting Nighjar as evening began to turn dark.  having stopped to listen for the churring we were then staked as an Eagle Owl flew low immediately on front of the car giving very clear sighting of plumage, etc.  What a special treat.  And to finish the evening we sat on the terrace listening to the local Red-necked Nighjars around the house.

Birds seen:

Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Griffon Vulture, Montagu's Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Common Swift, pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Wren, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Bonelli's Warbler, Crested Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Tree-creeper, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Grey Shrike, Golden Oriole, Iberian Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Crossbill, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.

Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
Serin Serinus Serinus

Crossbill Loxia curvirostral

Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis

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Wednesday 24 May 2023

Granada Birding

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava Iberian

 Wednesday 24 May

What a wonderful day's birding with my friend, Mick Richardson; it has to be one of my best ever birding experiences.  Starting at Mick's home in good weather we worked our way down to the now dry river bed at the bottom of the road before making our way inland to cover the steppe area between him and just south of the city of Granada.  And did we see some wonderful birds including 11 (eleven) raptors excluding both Woodchat and Iberian Grey Shrikes. And by the end of the day we had recorded over 70 species and still the thought that we might see a Red-necked Nightjar this evening whilst sitting on the terrace during the early evening.

Leaving the house just after 8.30 we immediately observed both Collared and a number of Turtle Doves plus Blackbird and Barn Swallow.  Once across the now dry ford we stopped to check the fields on our left and immediately added many of the local resident birds plus Linnet, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Corn Bunting and Woodpigeon. However, perhaps the most exciting sighting was that of the male Little Bustard at the distant back of the field.

Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax

Moving on down towards the small wood we then added Zitting Cisticola, Golden Oriole, Iberian Magpie and a number of House Martins.  Our last batch of sightings before heading towards the steppes were a few (Common) Magpies, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw and Mistle Thrush.

Having seen our first Buzzard as we left the home territory we were rewarded with a second, and indeed more, once we arrived at our entrance to the steppe area.  A Common Kestrel, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Blackcap were immediately seen and soon, next to a small, wooded gorge we added the first Serins of the day.

Arriving on some open, ploughed land we suddenly came across at least eight Stone Curlew and whilst watching these "waders" a couple of Black-bellied Sandgrouse made a hasty departure.  At the same time we were inundated with Calandra Larks and even saw the chase off appear of Short-toed Larks.  Crested Larks were also very common throughout the area.  And it was whilst watching the antics of the Calandra Larks that we saw both Hoopoe and the arrival of our first Short-toed Eagle of the day.

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus galicus

Moving on to our next area which included many strands of both almond and olive trees we found our first Roller and a number of Lesser Kestrels.  A Little Owl was sitting on a fence near an irrigation lagoon and an Iberian Grey Shrike was seen atop a nearby olive tree. Over the other side the field a Red-legged Partridge was sitting on top of a small boulder and a couple Feral Pigeons passed over.

Little Owl Athene noctus

Approaching more trees we encountered both Great Tit and Chaffinch and above us a large number of Common Swifts.  Then came a message from one of Mick's friends, just after a close view of a second Roller, that the "special" birds had been sighted and we joined him to see a (true) pair of Red-footed Falcons.  What a wonderful experience as we watched the pair both settle (far away) and quarter the corn field below us.  At the same site we also recorded another Short-toed Eagle, dark phase Booted Eagle and many Lesser Kestrels.

Moving on after a top for lunch we stopped to admire yet another Booted Eagle and also picked up a Melodious Warbler.  Whilst watching the latter, a Rock Sparrow landed immediately below us.

Having found a Thekla lark at the watch point we moved down into the village Cacin to find a White Wagtail walk-in the street and a further quartet in the river itself.  Whilst at the river we also came across two Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major

Our next port of call was the Contraembalse de los Bermejales where we found over thirty Mallards and  over a hundred Coot.  Also present were a small number of Pochards, two Moorhen and a lone Heron.  At the back marsh harrier was quartering the site and in the reed bed to the right both Reed and Great Reed Warblers along with three Cetti's Warblers.

Leaving the water we headed up the road to the trees to stop and find both Blue and Long-tailed Tits along with Grey Wagtail, Wood Lark and Spotted Flycatcher.  Our final stop in the cabin valley Wass to check the cliffs where we found Black Wheatear, Crag Martin and Blue Rock Thrush.

Record shot of Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Then it was on towards home vis the dry river bed and, once again, the Little Bustard on show and we also found a Tree Sparrow, a pair of both Black-winged Kite and Montagu's Harriers.  What a cracking day we had.

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava IberianBirds seen:

Mallard, Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Heron, Honey Buzzard, Black-winged Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Wood Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Golden Oriole, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Crossbill, Corn Bunting.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Distant Roller Coracias garrulous 

Very distant female Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus

Distant high Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus galicus

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Tuesday 23 May 2023

Huetor Tajar

Tuesday 23 May 

A great birding welcome to the stay with Mick and a short walk after!  No sooner had I made the final turn to drive up to Mick's house than a Black-winged Kite took off from the second telegraph pole and within thirty metres three Turtle Doves were seen resting on the wires. 


After a coffee break it was down to the fields to see what was about and, again, another Black-winghed Kite and not less than seven Turtle Doves.  A Bee-eater was showing well on the wires and also seen was a Little Owl resting behind the wires atop a pole at the end of the road.

Little Owl

Once across the river we parked up and took a leisurely stroll along the bank before making our  return in time to mis the rapidly appearing thunder storm!  Well over a hundred Common and a score or more Pallid Swifts along with many House Martins and a few Barn Swallows.  Crested Lark and Blackbirds were soon recorded as was the first Zitting Cisticola. Similarly, no shortage off Corn Buntings and a few Iberian Yellow Wagtails.  However, it was, perhaps, the pair of Montagu's Harriers that really drew our attention even if we found no Little Bustards on this occasion.

Corn Bunting

Making our way back we recorded a Short-toed Lark, Goldfinch and Greenfinch plus a couple of Linnets and then finally found our Tree Sparrow. Nearer the car both Spotless Starling and Nightingale.

After dinner it was a question of sitting on the back terrace and watching first a Golden Oriole fly past quickly followed by both Iberian Magpie and a Mistle Thrush.  Perhaps the icing on the cake when the Serin appeared on the wires.  A great way for Mick to welcome guests to his home.

Birds seen:

Black-winged Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Bee-eater, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Mistkle Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Spotless Starling, Golden Oriole, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow,  Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.

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Cabo de Gata

Tuesday 23 May

Cabo de Gata looking towards the distant sea

With the sun shining and rain promised I made my way straight from Roquetas to the beautiful Cabo de Gata on the far side of Almeria city.  The only "fly in the ointment" was the fact that whilst the stone brightly there were next to no birds on show apart from the 100 plus Flamingos.  From the first hide on the corner a couple of Black-winged Stilts and behind me a couple fo Crested Larks.  Pallid Swifts and House Martins flying around above as I made my way to the next hide and passed both Collared and rock doves as I passed through the village.

Flamingos and Avocets

Nothing to see at the hide so on down to the Public Hide where, again, many ,more Flamingos plus a handful of Avocets. Just three Yellow-legged Gulls on view but driving from the hide down a flooded track to the back of there church I picked up both Greenfinch and House Sparrow.  


On the way up the hill towards the lighthouse a couple of Thekla Larks and a very young Red-legged Partridge cross the edge of the road in front of me.  Yes, there were both Barn Swallows and Pallid Swifts about on the road leading up to the coastguard but it was at a small parking area at the Botton of the last hill that I found the Sardinian Warbler.  Returning towards the salinas I was fortunate enough to come across a Black Wheatear atop one of the pylons. With so few birds about I decided to make an early exit an head back top Granada province to meet up and stay with my great friend Mick Richardson for the next three days.

Birds seen:

Red-legged Partridge, Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Pallid Swift, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Black Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler, House Sparrow, Greenfinch.

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Roquetas de Mar

Tuesday 23 May 2023

After yesterday’s continuous rain I took advantage of the dry, and at present sunny, weather to pay a quick visit to the fresh water pond immediately before the entry to the salinas visited last evening.  Not a lot of birds to be seen but lovely to have a handful of Whiskered Terns along with Little Grebes, Pochards, Mallards, Coots and, above the water, a number of Pallid Swifts and House Martins.  On the far side a few distant Flamingos.

Whiskered Terns over the lake

Also noted were Collared Doves, Blackbirds and House Sparrows.  Fifteen minutes well spent before setting off on the journey to Cabo de Gata.


Birds seen:

Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Flamingo, Whiskered Tern, Collared Dove, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, House sparrow.

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Monday 22 May 2023

Roquetas de Mar

Monday 22 May


 What a fishy wet and miserable day!  No point hanging around at Las Norias despite the many low-flying Pallid Swifts and with the roads under water with much flooding I carried on to Roquetas de Mar to take a menu del did and hope that the weather might improve in the afternoon.  It did not.

After an afternoon in my hotel room I decided I needed some fresh air despite the continuing heavy rain so drove down to nearby salinas and took a return drive to the far end near the old pumping station.  Lots of Flamingos about and the Slender-billed Gull seemed to be by far the dominant gull species albeit I did also record some Yellow-legged Gulls.

Mainly Black-winged Stilts on view with most of the small waders hunkered down for shelter but occasional glimpses of birds on both the track and nearby scrapes revealed a number off both Ringed and Kentish Plovers.  Initially also a number of Pallid Swifts, Barn Swallows and House Martins above but not as I moved away from the reserve entrance.  A pool to my right produced a small number of Red-crested Pochards and even a couple Mallard and a Shelduck.

Moving on down the flooded track I eventually found the main Flamingo flock but also a handful of Avocet. A lone Knot was a bit of a surprise but then I also found a few Dunlin. It was at the end of my drive near the old pumping station that I cam across the Yellow-legged Gulls and on the water a few Coot plus a feeding Great Crested Grebe and a resting Little Tern.

Little Tern

Making my way back I did take a chance to try and take a few photos through the opened rather than closed window.  Lovely to see a Grey Plover and then a first Little Ringed Plover.  On the opposite side of the track I stopped to admire a few small waders and and identified a Sanderling. But the best surprise was the resting Whimbrel. And on the next scrape a newly-arrived Little Tern.  Right at the end of the track my first Crested Lark and in the area immediately outside the gate both House Sparrow and Blackbird, so giving a final total of 26 species on the 5km drive in just over an hour. Still raining outside but hoping for better weather in the morning when I drive up to Cabo de Gata.


Birds seen:

Shelduck, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Flamingo, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Knot, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Pallid Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, House Sparrow

Kentish Plover


Little Tern


Slender-billed Gulls


More Slender-billed Gulls

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Lobres and the Rio Guadalfeo near Motril

 Saturday 20 May

After a suitable rest Steve and I drive over towards Motril and then walked upstream along the western bank of the Rio Guadalfe from Lobres. Pleasant afternoon but the promise of rain later as we made our way along the track noting both Hoopoe and Nightingales.  Above us Pallid Swifts and very many House Martins feeding over the large river pools. A single Little Egret and a Cormorant were noted and then the many Blackbirds and Spotless Starlings plus House Sparrows along with at least three Woodchat Shrikes.

Woodchat Shrike

Both Reed and Cetti's Warblers calling from the reeds below us and first a Linnet feeding on the seeds to our left then a pair of Red-rumped Swallows.  Just the one Cattle Egret but we also discovered a lone Mallard on the water.  Working our way back we had a couple of low-lying Crag Martins and then White Wagtail.  On top of the cliff to our left a lone Black Wheatear was surveying its territory and an Ibex made its way across the cliff face.


Once back at the car we noted a couple of Greenfinches as we made our departure and the drive back along Turtle Dove Alley at the back of the Charca de Suarez produced both a Kestrel and Woodpigeon with a circling Buzzard as e rejoined the main road back towards the motorway.  Only a very short visit but at least we were able to have some time in the Motril area with the Charca reserve being closed for the whole week-end.

Birds seen: 

Mallard, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Pallid Swift, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Staling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

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Caleta de Velez

 Saturday 20 May

A very short stop at Caleta de Velez to check the harbour on my way over to friends Steve and Elena Powell in Frigiliana for a couple nights.  Other than about two score Yellow-legged and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls not a lot to be seen.  As expected, Monk Parakeets in the car park trees along with a Collared Dove and a couple of House Sparrows. And moving away form the beach through the main road a number of House Martins.

Birds seen:

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Pallid Swift, House Martin, House Sparrow.

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Back Birding in Spain

Sunday 21 May

What a way t revisiting birding in Spain.  Collected from the airport by my dear friends Derek and Barbara Etherton by mid-afternoon I was sitting on their terrace watching a circling Booted Eagle along with many Pallid Swifts.  Ere long a pair of Red-rumped Swallows plus a few House martins and Barn Swallow along with the local Collared Doves, Blackbirds, Spotless Starlings and House Sparrows.  An additional bonus was th hovering Kestrel and late afternoon saw a slow pass by the front of the terrace by a Sparrowhawk.  A most rewarding start to my three weeks. 

Barbate Marismas

Thursday saw an early start to the day as we were away by 7 for an overnight in Barbate down on the Atlantic coast near Tarifa. Approaching the marimbas we had already encountered a Booted Eagle, a few White Storks and both Common and Pallid Swifts, all of which were also seen later in the day, before entering the site via the track where we recorded both Spotless Starlings and House Sparrows. Both Barn Swallow and House Martin on the immediate area then a span of the nearby waters soon revealed many Flamingo and , eventually, at least 100 Collared Pratincoles, many still on their breeding territory along with maturing off-spring.

Collared Pratincole

But there were were other exciting birds including a Stone Curlew, a few Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Avocet, Kentish and a good number of Grey Plover.  Always lovely see both Black-winged Stilts and Avocets and then came the fishing Little Terns.  

Iberian Yellow Wagtail

Some lovely smaller birds included the resident Crested Larks along with many Stonechats with fledged young, Greenfinch, Linnet, Zitting Cisticola and Blackbird plus both Corn Bunting and a lovely Greater Short-toed Lark.  Nearer the shallow edges we also encountered Dunlin, Redshank and Ringed Plover. We did see a couple of distant, high Griffon Vultures and the occasional Cattle Egret (there had been scores on the drive past the wind turbine park amongst the cattle).  More appropriate was the Little Egret and a Spoonbill and at the far end of the site both Calandra Lark and a couple of Slender-billed Gulls.  On the other hand, our mystery wader was finally identified as a summer plumage Red Knot.

Ringed Plover

Whilst enjoying our picnic lunch we noted both Chaffinch and a White Wagtail and then it was on to La Barca de Vejer to enjoy the sight of Europe's most ugly bird, the Bald Ibis at their nesting cliff along with many maturing youngsters.  But at least their mothers do love them.  Also noted whilst watching and photographing the Bald Ibis were Nightingale, Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler and numerous Feral Pigeons.

The Bald Ibis family

The afternoon visit to La Janda, entering from the western end, was fairly straight forward and we simply covered the approximately seven km main track to the eastern exit.  The first part as fat as the bridge on the corner produced Corn Bunting, House Sparrow, Barn Swallow and even a single Girl Bunting.  fairly regular sightings of Cattle Egret and Spotless Starling before noting the first pair of Bee-eaters quickly followed by a quartet of Glossy Ibis and a distant Griffon Vulture. Continuing on we came across Stonechat, Goldfinch and Linnet before, almost at the bridge corner, our first sight of a Black-winged Kite.  Wonderful!

Corn Bunting

The final stretch off the track revealed that the fields were about to be flooded with a mixture of dry field and those holding a range of different wettings.  This area produced many singing Reed Warblers to our left on the canal side along with a few jackdaw and more Zitting Cisticola.  A Mallard on the water then another Nightingale before coming across the Turtle Doves. And, almost at the end of the track, both a single White Stork and a couple of Collared Doves.  With that it was back to Barbate for our overnight stop.

Turtle Dove

First thing Friday morning we were down near the bridge over the Barbate estuary and "being blown away" by twenty-seven Red Knot in full rummage plumage with the early morning sunshine reflecting off their chests. Also in their midst very many Ringed Plover along with a few Dunlin, a couple of Redshank and a similar number of Turnstone.  That was before we found the two Little Stints.

Red Knot
With Dunlin in front

This muddy area and surrounds also turned up Blackbird, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow and both Barn Swallow and House Martin along with a number of Pallid Swifts. Once under the bridge and checking the water upstream we added a pair of Spoonbill, Little Egret and a few Yellow-legged Gulls. Then, in addition to the Grey Plover, a fishing Little Tern.

Grey Plover

Then it was a return to the marimbas and those many score of Collared Praticoles along with the Flamingos. Around the edges we once again picked up Crested and Short-toed Larks along with Ringed, Kentish and Grey Plovers and many Stonechats. Both the Stone Curlew and Iberian Yellow Wagtails were also recorded before we found first, a couple of Spotted then a male Pied Flycatcher.

Greater Short-toed Lark

At the far end we found another Spoonbill and a small number of Avocets before locating three Grey Herons.  Meanwhile, a lone Raven was passing over the water which certainly drew the attention of both Yellow-legged Gulls and Collared Pratincoles.

Collared Pratincole

 Time to move on and our next stop was the hide overlooking the Los Lances beach on the outskirts of Tarifa.  And as we approached the main N340 Derek and Barbara noted the Short-toed Eagle above them and a Little Owl was perched on a fence post almost next to our passing car.

Once parked up and walking down towards the boardwalk leading to the main hide we noted House Sparrows, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.  Barn Swallows and Pallid Swifts above us and then the first Crested Larks and Zitting Cisiticola.

Very little water in sight and the heat haze hindering our identification, even with Derek's scope, but we did finally managed to identify Ringed and Grey Plovers, Little Stint, Dunlin, Redshank and Sanderling. Cattle Egret was added to the list along with a Blackbird, White Wagtail and Nightingale.

So ended a splendid couple days birding down in Barbate and the neighbourhood with many species added to may on-going year list.

Black-winged Stilt with Red Knot and Ringed Plovers

Birds seen:

Mallard, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, White Stork, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Collared Pratincole, Stone Curlew, Glossy Ibis, Bald Ibis, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Little Stint, Sanderling, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank, Turnstone, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Bee-eater, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting.




Crested Lark

Bald Ibis

Booted Eagle

Grey Plover

Male Stonechat

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