Tuesday, December 1

Deja Vu



  Ever had a feeling you've been here before

Deja Vu 

San Felipe 30th November

With thoughts that San Felipe could turn up a good Bird.  John, Michelle, and I decided to revisit and give it another go.  It was cold first thing and only 8 degrees and a clear sky.  A Black Wheathear showed as we left GA.

As we drove along I broke the news to John ever so gently, there wasn't a slab of fruit cake for 1st Breakfast, he wasn't happy! 

 A Hoopoe showed at the entrance of San Felipe and a Buzzard perch up in a distant dead tree. The water levels had dropped further and with lots more gloopy mud being exposed. There were more or less the same waders were on show, but lots more in numbers,  It seems the news had got out that there's lashing of mud at San Felipe ( see my previous blog for birds seen )  We had some great views today as there were some very obliging birds.

Dunlin

There was two new Bird on today's list that was absent from last weeks visits a Temminck's Stint,  showed well for a while before moving further out on the mud.

 Temminck's Stint


 Temminck's Stint

And an Osprey which flew over, unfortunately, we didn't notice it till it was too late and was going away,  shame we didn't pick it up earlier.  The Ospery could have been looking for an easy meal of stranded Carp in pools of water left behind.

Volunteer saving Carp

Good numbers of Marsh Harriers, Booted Eagle, and Kestrel. 

 We had a look around at Sante Aguada for Tonn the Great spotted Eagle but no sign of him?

On the pool there 2  Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plover, Bluethroat, Waterpipt,


Ad Male Bluethroat

Juv Bluethoat

We did come across a flooded field full of Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egret also there 4 Wood Sandpipers.


Wood Sandpiper

 Sardinian Warbler

At some point we'll try Sante Aguada again and hopefully, it will turn up something good?

Kingfisher

Stumpy the one legged Ibis
 I've a feeling that Ive seen hop-along before?


Last night Full Beaver Moon

It was almost like daylight with last nights full moon. I bet there was some bird passage happening.

Have a great day

Cheers BT

 


Saturday, November 28

San Felipe Vistors Center



 It's not very often that John and I have one of those exceptional Birding Days but yesterday wasn't bad. We had an enjoyable 6 hours Birding.

26th September

A gloomy cold start to the day, the overnight rain had clear and with more forecast.  I thought I'd best put my jeans on and its the 1st time for jeans since last February.  We planned to explore some different places and routes.  But it didn't work out that way?

The 1st bird seen was a dark phase Booted Eagle just before 9 a.m. which was unusually early for a raptor to up and flying?  Maybe because of the was windy conditions?  We heading towards the North gate of El Hondo we stopped to look at the Treeline inside El Hondo there was a large board winged raptor flying being mobbed by 2 smaller raptors,

( probably Booted Eagle ) the bigger raptor I thought, could be a Great spotted Eagle, who knows? " get in the car John said " we'll get a closer view, so we head off fast,  as it happened we didn't get any better views, and ended up at San Felipe VC and first breakfast.


 From the car park a flock of about 25 Linnet, entertained us and in amongst a few smart Green Finch and Meadow Pipits,

Linnet

Green Finch

Meadow Pipit

At San Felipe, workers have been cutting the reeds, not before time? But the big news is they drained the pool, so there's mud and lots of the gloopy stuff everywhere.  And on the mud hundreds of Glossy Ibis, good numbers of Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Western Purple Swamphen.

Glossy Ibis


Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, A flighty flock of Dunlin and Little Stint.  Also Snipe,  Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers,  Avocets and Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, 23 Marbled Duck some Red-knobbed Coot.

Black-winged Stilt


Black-winged Stilt

Smaller Birds

Bluethroat's, Waterpipit's,  Chiff Chaff, lots of Stonechat's,  fewer Black Redstart, Kingfisher's, Fan Tailed Warbler, plenty of Southern Grey Shrike seen during the day. (Heard only ) Penduline Tits, Little Bittern, Water Rail, Reed Bunting, 

 Stonechat

Raptor's 

At least 10+ Marsh Harriers, Buzzard, 10 Kestrels, Booted Eagles,

Kestrel

On the outer pools 

Huge Numbers of Grag Martin feeding over the water,  Shovelers, Mallard, Shell Duck,  Teal,  small numbers of Pochard, little and Black-necked Grebes. On our way back I almost step on a small snake! 

We spent a few hours at San Felipe it was good birding and back to its best, it was full of birds and always changing.  Nothing outrageously rare seen but a nice selection of Birds.

What a Shame San Felipe is not always like this.

  Time for a Werther's Moment.

 I now wished that if stayed in shorts as it was now a balmy 26 degrees and hot and sunny, how can the forecast be so wrong?

Santa Aguada

No sigh of Great spotted Eagle, but Bluethroat, and very showy Male Black Redstart, and Waterpipit,  2nd Breakfast time and head for home before stopping off at El Pinet.  It was bit quiet there, but there was very smart Grey Plover which is a different bird from a few weeks ago.

Black Redstart

Summing up

 if you're thinking of going Birding get to San Felipe quick before the workers get in there and start cutting back the reeds and disturbing everything and also before they reflood?

Grey Plover

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan.


Saturday, November 14

Birding Update


Apologies for the slow update

 8th of November.

  John and I headed straight to San Felipe,  it was a bit on the cool side to says the least, as per other recent visits San Felipe was crap, the best bit was the 20 or so Marbled Duck. 

I Couldn't find any Red-knobbed Coot, but there was one lone Purple swamp Hen which was warming up in the sun, some Blackcaps were singing and a few popped out briefly plus the odd Bluethroat.

Purple swamp Hen

It was poor birding there and the water looks an odd coloured and well overgrown.

Santa Aguada

Now again flooded, we struggled again to get birding it was quiet, I did hear a few Penduline tit's contact calling and eventually managed to phiss out 2. Which was brief but a nice view. There was plenty of flooded field around the route we'd taken but alas very few birds almost every bird was a White Wagtail or Cattle Egret, but we did see the odd Bluethroat pop out.

 We came across 2 large groups of flying Glossy Ibis in a Murmuration.  John and I have seen this before. Ibis acting as one like the European Starling Murmuration. I've never seen this mentioned in any of the guide books, both groups moved independently of each other.

Glossy Ibis in a Murmuration

Glossy Ibis in a Murmuration

It was fascinating to watch and was the birding moment of the day.

10th November

Playa Lisa

Turn out to be not that bad a Zitting Cisticola, and Black Restart, to start and not even got out the car, a few pairs of Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher, Audouins Gull, a very distant raptor on a pylon which took off and disappeared which we now think was an Ospery, some small wader's showed, probably Dunlin, a Cetti's Warbler put on a brief show, always a difficult bird to get good views. Penduline Tits contact called and eventually showed

Standing Stones

14 Spoonbill, 4 Great white Egret, another or the same Osprey, Marsh Harriers, a few Greenshank tooted on there bugle's in the distant,

El Pinet

Coffee and Sea Watch, coffee good, sea watch abysmal.

Little Owl

At the Salinas pools the usual Avocets and Dunlin, Black-winged Stilts, Little Owl.

Avocet

Next

The Mouth of the Rio Segura.

Lots of people, fishermen and cars.

Sanderling


Chiff Chaff

Great prolonged views of another Cetti's Warbler on the beach hundreds of walkers and one Sanderling trying to find some peace and quiet, few Chiffs in the trees.

Cetti's Warbler 

Not finished we headed to the Clot

Most of the Shoveler Duck have moved on but replaced with lots of Common Pochard.

Some White-headed Duck still, Kingfishers, a single Grey Wagtail,  Black-necked Grebe Marsh Harrier, Heard Little Bitten, and Water Rail.


18th November

Montnegra & Maigmo Mountain 

A cloudy start and not much visibility taking the normal route through Montnegre and the usual stopping off places,  Black Wheatears, Black Redstarts (loads of these everywhere) a spruce of Serin in some large-ish flock's and the same for Goldfinch, and the odd Robin sounding off. Not until we arrived at Montnegre did the sun come out, Blackcaps showed well, and 4 Grey Wagtails frequenting the streams.  There were a few Southern Grey Shrike perched.

Blue rock Thrush


 A  pair of Blue rock Thrush were mobile moving from house to house. Further up the track by the Loan Tree I watch another Blue rock Thrush fly and as I track it in flight, two dark blobs came in to view, now my interest was the 2 dark blobs? I focused and there they we're 2 Golden Eagle (1 Adult 1 Juv)  first views were the closest, I legged it for the camera and by the time I returned they drifted off, its amazing how fast they can move when they want to! Some minutes later we located them again in the distant, but to far away for even a record shot.

At the big Tibi Mountain no Griffin Vultures or anything else.

Maigmo

Very quiet, most birds heard only Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Crossbill,  some Chaffinch flocks under the Almond Trees.   I got excited when I thought I glimpsed a Brambling but it flew off before I could confirm the ID.  A spiral of Short-toed Tree Creepers showed well at only a few meters and Mistle Thrush perched up long enough for a photo

 Mistle Thrush


At the top of Maigmo, Crag Martin's and that was the best of it.

Have fun

Lovely weather!  get out and enjoy it

Full Moon earlier this Month

Cheers

BT


Wednesday, October 28

Mud Glorious Mud

 


An early start by 8 o'clock overcast and windy conditions, making it feel much colder, it should make for an interesting day's birding?

Almost a repeat of last weeks birding route and there's a reason we stick to this route and its because we keep the early morning light coming from behind us.

Today had one exception Urbanova Salt Pans which still holds water, but not a single bird in sight, but the area around had a wonderful treat in store for us?  A huge European Starling Murmuration which blackened the early morning grey sky.

 European Starling

 European Starling

 European Starling

Back on route, across Santa Pola Salinas,  and at Standing Stones a Canteen of Spoonbills, (15)  4 Great white Egret, Sandwhich Terns,  A raft of 100s of Great-crested Grebe, and there seemed more than usual numbers of Greater Flamingo, not a bad start for a very blustery day.

Greater Flamingo

 The cold brisk wind was making it difficult just holding your bins still. It was almost time for first breakfast, so we both thought El Pinet for a tea stop and given El Pinet performance from last week, "that was all it was good for"  a tea stop?

The first scan of the salt pans didn't reveal anything of note the usual Avocets and Black-winged Stilt, Slender-billed Gull, and the same two Shell Duck.

John was making a brew when I was just about to get my tea when I glimpse an incoming wader.

I knew what it was and followed it to where it landed to the smallest bit of mud you could find on the Salt Pans,  I called John over to come and look and there in this corner of the mud was our bird a stunning winter plumage Grey Plover nothing mega "I know" but we don't get to see them close up often? As there usually a quite a flighty bird.

 Grey Plover 

Also on this 2-meter patch of mud, Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank.

 Little Stint

 Ringed Plover

Tea was lukewarm by the time we returned, a doorstop of cake and we were off again and heading inland.

The first part of palm farm road held an exaltation of Sky Larks which took to the air frequently calling,  also in the mix Crested Lark and Kestrel, the odd Marsh Harrier sneaking about and making a nuisance of his self.  It was too busy at palm farm road, workers picking the Pomegranate harvest so we turned back.

 Sky Lark 
Record shot

In the grassy fields, we're good numbers of Meadow Pipits, White wagtails and some smaller numbers of Green Finch, no sign of any Yellow Wagtails.   

 Booted Eagle 

  Overhead a nice Booted Eagle showed well battling against the strong northerly wind.

 Lots of Grag Martin.

 Sante Aguada 

A western whip Snake crossed the road and disappeared 

At last a Waterpipit, also there Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Snipe, 

Waterpipit

A nice flock of Serin 30+ coming to drink at the pond, showed well, no sign of any Bluethroat there? The pool had lost most of the water from last weeks flooding?

Time for Second breakfast,  and then time to head back.

I've not mentioned every single bird seen just the new arrivals or good number of birds

Winter has arrived and today 29th just had my first Black Redstart and what a stunner

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan 




Saturday, October 17

Seven of Twelve



Today John and I thought we'd check out the Santa Pola Salinas it's our local patch, and check out our most productive route around and ending up at San Felipe.

I have to say it was mostly quiet everywhere, but we did have some good moments, more of that later.

Across the Salinas, compared to other visits, it was a bit dead.  Rafts of Great-crested Grebe.  Good views of 12 Great White Egret, from the area of the big stones.

Great White Egret 7 of 12

  No Spoonbills. A few small waders on the muddy margins, as we crossed the Salinas but unable to stop to check out the ID  due to volume of traffic.  lots of Greater Flamingo, Avocet and Black winged Stilt.

It's very dry everywhere so water is key.         
         

El Pinet

 Virtually no mud and big areas of fencing blown down, a waste of effort going there.  I'll give this place a miss till water levels drop

 Kestrel
                                             

At  La Marine and the coast,  nothing much to report but 20+ Grey Herons flew from the fish farms out at sea to the coast which was different. The Herons are obviously after the fish out there? There are a good number of Grey Heron around everywhere.

 Grey Heron

  No sign of any Shearwaters from the beach to the horizon?

At some point we,d hoped to come across a flooded field on our travels. As there's been no significant rain for months and months?

Lucky we did find a few little diamonds......

flood fields, which was more luck than judgement, but great anyway.

                                               
Yellow Wagtail

   There were several fields which held a good number of Migrating Yellow Wagtail, 5 Wood Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper, Ringed Plovers, Hundreds of  Black-headed Gulls and some good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls and in the mix, 100+ Glossy ibis,  Jackdaw,  Cattle Egret, Little Egret, more Yellow Wagtails, White wags and Kingfishers
 .
 Ringed Plover
                                               

 Wood Sandpiper


                                                           Santa Aguada                                                                  
Some major work has been going on, 
all the scrub has been cleared, trees have been cut back and paths cleared, and the main pool has been flooded.

  Mediterranean Gull
                                           
Mediterranean Gull

But not one Water Pipit??? Which is unusual as they been seen elsewhere?

Other bird's seen at least 5 Bluethroats. Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, LRP,  lots of Common Kestrel, Lesser black-backed Gull, Shell Duck, numbers of Stonechat have increased and Swallows still buzzing about.


Stonechat 

San Felipe 

Not much going on around the visitor centre,  the main lake you could hardly see anything.  The usual Marbled Duck and Red knobbed Coot were about. It was very hard to view anywhere it could all do with a cut back and the water in the main pool looked a odd colour, we didn't look at the outer pools as we felt it was all a bit flat and with no birds? 

Yellow Wagtail

So we called it a day and headed for home

A nice days birding thank God for flooded fields

Have fun

Cheers BT