Thursday, May 9

Isles of Scilly

No Spanish birding this week as Ive returned to the Isles of Scilly for a Birthday Party, and a catch up with my birding friends and mates there. Arriving at the end of the 30th Annual World championships Gig weekend,  St Mary's was full of Gig rowing crew, members, and supporters, its a great event and a crazy time for the Islands with a 170 gigs  competing in the Championships title. if you've  never been there its one for your life list to do its amazing/
 


 

 
 
Not seen any rare migrant birds strong north westerly winds which bring nothing,  but nice to see the common birds around the Islands  some of which are below.



Razor Bill


Guillemot

Puffin


Oyster Catcher

Wren
lots of these tiny Wrens sitting up everywhere and Dunnock's


Dunnock



Gannet

good number of Gannet fishing between St Marys and St Agnes in the tidal currant.


Greater black Back Gull
 
 
great place if your a birder check it out
Cheers Bryan



Thursday, May 2

Rollers Beeeaters and Montagues

 
Today birding with Mark Etheridge on a magical mystery tour, our target for us was Montague's  Harrier at La Mata. On route there we had quick stopped off at la Marina where there are a pair of Rollers, but the early morning light wasn't great so decide to return some other time.

Roller
 
After trying several tracks off Lemon Tree road, finally got to where we wanted to be almost straight away a Montague's Harrier came into view so we new we were more or less in the right area, Nightingale singing and Bee-eaters on the overhead wires, in a field were Mediterranean Gulls.


Bee-eater
 
We watch several Montague's at some distant, in an area which they seemed to keep returning  too, but no track to reach them, un detoured we set off on foot and finally got to where we need to be.

After only few minutes out target bird  drifted over, few moments of glory as the camera shutters clicked away and the Montague's drifted on.  We waited at this spot for a while hoping for repeat  performance, but no, it didn't happen again, we just got lucky this time.

 Montague's  Harrier







 
At the Azure winged Magpie site on the opposite of La Mata there were a few bird moving around,  I counted  between 8/10, I took a few photos but didn't like any of them so I deleted the lot.
 
Its a great time to be birding with plenty going on!
Have a great day

 
 Cheers Bryan
 
 

Tuesday, April 30

Benejuzar

  • This morning I hooked up with friend and birding buddy Mark Etheridge, today we birded along the  banks of the Segura river, close too the town Benejuzar. The earlier part of the day was the most productive with  lots of commoner birds seen like Greenfinch, Linnet, Serin, etc..

  •  Serin
  •  There seemed to be Nightingales singing every 20/50meters and we travel along this track for a few miles, so it just goes to show you just how many there are. Good numbers of Turtle Doves all purring away.


  • Turtle Doves


  •  
  •  Great reed Warbler and Reed Warbler were Vocal and star bird of the day a Melodious Warbler  which show well but just a little distant and very active.

  • Melodious Warbler
     
     
     
     
     
     3 Woodchat Shrike, a Common Cuckoo  calling/displayed flying around the car, 6 Golden Orioles seen and heard, and a fly passed of a Purple Heron.
     
    Cuckoo 

    We had look around the hermitage of Benejuzar, the sounds of Golden Orioles, and  Beeeaters  coming from the surrounding pine forest was about the best of it.

    Hermitage of Benejuzar

     We then returned to the opposite side of the river it had become a little quieter as it gone passed 1 o'clock. We ended our day with Booted Eagle circling above.

     
    I've Not been to Benejuzar for a while, but going to on to days performance its worth another visit  
    Time to head for home, satisfied with what been seen.
     
    Have fun
    Cheers Bryan

    Sunday, April 21

    The Clot de Galvany too Gabo de Gata and Back Again



    John and I dropped in the Clot before leaving to go to Gabo de Gata Almeria. on Wednesday the 17th. At the Clot a singing Nightingale, and very nice drake Garganey with a gammy eye.

    Garganey

    Garganey the good side

    White headed Duck

    A sub Adult Night Heron and the usual duck White headed, Red crested, etc.

    Night Heron

    As we crossed the Santa Pola Salinas close to la Marina a Montague's Harrier passed close by, not able to stop because of traffic, but watched it glide away.

    On route to Almeria perched in a dead tree a Black shoulder Kite and on a rock face a Blue Rock Thrush.

    Gabo de Gata 
    Almeria 

    We only returned to Gabo de Gata because of that elusive Trumpeter Finch, which allegedly occurs around the light house? and the surrounding area, and despite a few hours of diligent searching we came up with nothing except a male Black eared Wheatear, getting cheesed off, it felt like déjà vu with no return for a lots of effort, time to see some birds, so we though? let look at the Salinas. I have to say it was very disappointing with only two waders seen a Greenshank, and Avocet, Slender billed Gull, Gull billed Tern, Greater Flamingo, was about the best of it.

    to be blunt it was CRAP considering the distance and effort and driving involved. 

    Things got better, when Michelle, John wife, found our target birds 2 Trumpeter Finch feeding on a embankment, close to the Salinas and salt works. But it was all a bit brief as the 2 birds flew off without warning and I only managed a record shot,

    Trumpeter Finch 

    Later on a Woodchat Shrike and Southern grey Shrike, we finish the day getting ripped off in a local bar with 3 bottles of cloudy locally brewed cats piss with washing up liquid, which had more sediment in it that the Mekong delta. 
    not nice! 

    Peregrine Falcon

    I have to say our accommodation at Camino Viejo del Faro, 65 Almadrama was perfect and would recommend it. After a nights sleep John and I were up early and at it, searching for the Trumpets again, also seen Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Black Wheatear, Chiffchaffs, female Back eared Wheatear, Crested Lark,

    Crested Lark ?

    It was poor at the World End its like the land time forgot, and if not for the Trumpets it would of been yet another wash out, would I go there again?? mmmmm No 

    Black Wheatear 

    At Los Urritas we looked for the Rose coloured Starling and with only a vague idea of where it had been, we failed. It would have been beneficial to have at least one exact location, GPS. 

    To be honest the Clot de Galvany Nature Reserve in Gran Alacant knocks spots of Gabo de Gata in terms of species seen, and our local Santa Pola Salinas takes some beating.

    Red crested Pochard

    Now if only The Clot had a few Trumpeter Finch?

    This photo from Gran Canaria 

    Cheers Bryan 

    Pochard 

    Finale Comment 
    As we headed home, rain was forecast, but little did i know how much, 3 days now! none stop torrential rain rain rain and more rain, if you didn't believe in climate change you should NOW! 
    The thing is we need the Rain as there been very little or nothing since November 2018 

    UK baking in high temps and extreme weather here. 
    I fear for the younger generation as they will have to try and sort out the mess 
    Please see 
    David Attenborough 
    Climate Change The Facts 
    A MUST SEE BBC PROGRAM 




























































    Monday, April 15

    Little Bustard

    On Friday the 12th April. John, Michelle and myself return to Bonete and the surrounding area the main reason was to relocate the Little Bustard's which Trevor and I had found one week earlier.   We took a slightly different route from the one Trevor and I took mainly because, to get off road where its quieter and away from the tarmac, you see and hear so much more, there's a chance you can pick up a few small stone in the tires and the car can get a little dusty, but it worth it, you can always pop any stones out later and these tracks easily navigated.

     Plains of Bonete
     Our 1st time around.
    We pick out 14 Great Bustard and a few small groups of Little Bustards, which looked great through the scope, before trying to approach closer, some birds took flight and landed in the middle of the field but a single male stuck, it looked to me that this was his patch as he was displaying and calling in the middle of the track, we got a little closer, but still along way away,
    suddenly he was off and gone. At that point the WertherS came out and more than happy with the scope views of those Little Bustard's, if that was the end it, it was fine, but little did we know what was to come?

     
    There were lots of Calandra Larks  singing /flight displaying, Northern Wheatear, Merlin, Tree Sparrow on route.

    Calandra Lark  

    In Flight

    At the station we had a tea break and chat about what options we had and where to go next?  it was unanimous, "we agreed" lets go round the again.
     
    Reminds me of the Average White Band - Let's Go Round Again (1980)
    link  below
     Average white Band

    2nd time around
    Much the same as the first time around but now the male Little Bustard was back in the same place holding his ground, bold and displaying with a few females in his harem.  Slowly but surely we move close taking time before moving again
     I was busy hanging out the side of  the car taking photos, it was starting to get good! and moving ever closer.




    It was a real shame that there was a lot of heat shimmer as it was throwing the auto focus way off, we continued to stalk the Little Bustard's, we got closer and close  until enough was enough and the male slowly walk away following his females.


    Absolutely amazing to see them so close,, I've never been that lucky with little Bustards or getting photographs of them and these may be my best so far, it could of been perfect if not for the heat diffraction, Michelle even managed a few photos, and a new bird for her, how luck is she.  It just goes to show, making the right decision is key, and getting off the tarmac does reward you.


     Happy we achieved what we'd set out to do, and headed towards Petrola. On the way there several Gull billed Terns following a tractor. I suggested we should look at lake Laguna del Salobrjo  as the Marsh Harriers were performing great last week, on the way to the viewing bridge we flush a big flocks of Yellow Wagtail, and a few more Corn Bunting perched up.

     
    And at the bridge all the same birds as the week before, but it was windy and we decided headed off, to  Laguna de Petrola,  I said to John just one more scan around. "Hold on what's this I said" we all got on the bird as crossed back and forth along the ridge. Get back in the car, "lets get closer" we got back in the car and drove fast to get a better views.   I struggled to ID  the bird, nothing seamed to fit properly  I took a few photos, and between us, we all seen some different features of the bird, the bird drifted away I looked at the few photos on the camera,


     I came to the conclusion it was a Golden Eagle?  But still not really happy, as it turns out it may be a Juv Spanish imperial Eagle, I've now had a chance to look on the computer,  I've never though we could see this species around Petrola?   I think its quite rare?  It never crossed my mind to consider Spanish imperial Eagle. I've only seen adults before in Extremadura and Portugal, with there white leading edge to the wings, makes easy ID, Just goes to show you anything can turn up and the birds don't read the books.
     
    At Lagunas de Petrola about 200/300 Greater Flamingo  a single Common Sandpiper, Kentish Plovers, a few more Gull billed Tern, but not much else. On to the Plain's of Corral Rubio some more Great Bastards and 5 Lesser Kestrel.

     
    We were now heading back to Alicante as we drove along a Male Black eared Wheatear crossed the road and landed we turned around and searched, but it had moved on.  A quick stopped at Laguna de Salobrjo lots of White headed Duck, Common Pochard, Red crested Pochard, etc.
     
    Well what super day. It was Amazing !!! these moments don't happen very often but glad they do.

     
    Next week
    Gabo de Gata.  Lets see what that's got to give ?
     
    See John Edwards excellent blog click link below for his review
    john Edwards
     
    Thanks to Julian Sykes
    for the ID help on the Raptor
    cheers Bryan