Sunday, August 19, 2018

More Departures then Arrivals

Energized by some recent report I thought we might see a few more returning migrants?

John and I left Gran Alacant @ 6.15.  A crazy time to go birding it not even light I know.   But undaunted we set off.  More chance of seeing Jupiter and its Moons? "  I thought to my self at this time of day"  but if you want to see birds you gotta start early.  The temperature  was a cool 23 degrees,
 and threatening a little rain, all set for a bumper birding day?

And today's target anything with feathers.
Soon on the Motorway to Bonete, a quick coffee at the other end, and ready to go.  Taking a track off to the left to the smelly Stinky Pig Farm.  This stop was a good decision.  Juv Woodchat Shrike, loads of Corn Buntings,  Northern Wheatear, Tree Sparrow, Common Buzzard, Chiff Chaff,  Serin, "not a bad start"

On to the Estacion.  John has now officially renamed it Bustard Corner, as it always performs and today was no exception at least 20+ Great Bustards, Male Marsh Harrier, 5 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Common kestrel,  more Buzzards, Southern Grey Shrike, Bee-eaters on the power wires.

  After a cup of tea, we took to the main road to Higueruela, checking the stubble fields on either side of the road which looked promising but nothing.

 'El Pastor greeted us and looked a bit puzzled, waved and then went on his way with his herd of Sheep and Sheepdog.

A quick stop at some pines got us a Golden Oriel, Black Wheatear,  Mistle Thrush, and Treecreeper.  Gone are the Bonnell's Warblers.

On route to Petrola.  A raptor came into view over the road, a quick look at it, I said "Stop its a Red Kite"  Emergency stop jumped out the car grabbed a few photos as it drifted away into the light, it wasn't till I check the images I realised it was a Black Kite,

 A 2nd Woodchat Shrike on the wires.
I always like to check out the Lakes and Plains of Petrola.  You can't dismiss this area as it can hold some great birds, but not today, Petrola lake was stinking.  The water looked oily thick, blacken cracked dry margins.  A perfect reflection on its surface of the far side, it looks idyllic.
 But No!

Hardly any birds except for about 60 Greater Flamingos and few distant Marsh Harriers, and 3 Black-winged Stilts,  Fan-tailed Warblers calling.   The Stink was so bad it made me feel unwell, with lots of nuisance flies.

 I couldn't wait to leave, as I sat back into the car to leave, 2 Black-bellied Sandgrouse flew over calling (bonus birds)
probably best to void this place till some heavy rain arrives and freshens it up a bit.
 Gone are all the Gull-billed Terns and the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls, Great reed warblers and Yellow Wagtails. I didn't see any other waders of any kind, and also no Swifts anywhere today.
 Interestingly there was not one  Juv Greater Flamingo seen, even though they have bred very successfully in there hundreds this year at Petrola.

Through Corral Rubio, and onto the Montealegre Road we bumping into a few more Bee-eaters and a very nice perched Short-toed Eagle.

Carrying on to the  Laguna del Saladar this place got found by a sat nav error. I am glad it did because there are good numbers of birds there and the water is in a healthy condition.

 There's a large concentration of waterfowl, good number of Greater Flamingos, more than 30+ White-headed Duck, 12+ Lapwing,  lots of Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, lots of Mallard, Water Rail x 2,  a few, Kentish Plover, Black-headed Gulls, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, lots of Coot and Moor Hen. A few Bee-eaters taking dragonflies over the water.

I am hoping  Laguna del Saladar come next spring migration will have Garganey and Ferruginous Ducks taking advantage of it.
 all looks perfect for them.

Nice end to the day,😊 

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