Friday, March 29

Saladares de Gualalentine

 
Apologies for this late update
Saladares de Guadalentin
On the 16th of March
 
Lovely day, clear blue sky,  hoping to see a few migrants and we were not disappointed, nothing mega but nice to catch up with a few birds.  On arrival  we picked up a Spectacled Warbler and over the course of the morning we picked up quite a few in different location. Although very flight and mobile and difficult to photo we managed to get some very good views.


  Our plan was to keep the sun behind us as crisis cross the tracks. We headed for an area that we had see Great spotted Cuckoo in numbers before and  true to form the Great spots were there probably 3 to 4 displaying with there calling and chasing of each other and  one sat up for me.

Great spotted Cuckoo

 Unfortunately I missed the photo of the spring, right in front of me and within a few meter a Great
spot perch up and as I pressed the shutter button it flushed as a Magpie chased it off, nice photo of a tail moving off. very very annoying, which ended up in me cursing every Magpie seen that today.
Others migrants seen Red rumped Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Lesser Kestrel, Barn Swallow,  50 Common Crane fly over on route close to Guadalentin.  A few  other resident  birds seen Black bellied Sandgrouse, Marsh Harrier, Chough, Tree Sparrow, Stone Curlew, a few Corn  Bunting, Stone Chat, Raven, Kestrel.

 Corn  Bunting
 
 For a more detailed account of our trip click the link below to visit John Edwards excellent blog.
 

San Felipe and surounding areas

San Felipe and Surrounding area
Thursday 28th March
 
Good morning, My birding friend Trevor Ashley has returned to Spain. To bird the spring migration looks like he's picked a good week. For our first extended mornings  birding, it was good, we followed our normal route which has proved to be the most productive over time.  Huge numbers of Barn Swallow, Plaid Swift, Common Swift, House Martin, into the mix quite a few Sand Martin, highlights included  2 Drake Garganey at San Felipe.

Garganey Bird 1

Garganey Bird 2
 Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, LRP, Marbled Duck, Spoonbill, Great white Egret,  Black tailed Godwit, Red crested Pochard.  A few Yellow Wagtail.

Yellow Wagtail
  White headed Ducks, Common Pochard, Great reed Warbler, Black cap, Water pipit, Purple swamp Hen, Glossy Ibis.



 Wood Sandpiper

 lots of summer plumage Mediterranean Gull, and a few introduced  Red knobbed Coot.



 plenty of the resident type birds like Black winged Stilts, Slender billed Gulls.

 Slender billed Gull

Avocet, Greater Flamingos Marsh Harriers, and Booted Eagle in good numbers.
I'm keep it a short write up  and let a few photos to tell the story.
Tomorrow Yecla lets see what that's got to offer, fingers crossed it will be good.

Today at
 Estepas De Yecla Friday 29th March
 
As it happens it was good.  Amazingly the temperature was only 3 degrees on arrival with clear sky,  before we left at 1 o'clock it was 23 degrees.    4 Great spotted Cuckoos, Thekla's Lark.

Thekla's Lark

Greater short toed Lark, Calendar Lark,  10 Black bellied Sandgrouse. A very fearless Stone Curlew which came with in a few meters these birds are normally very very flighty or scurry away quickly but not this one.



 Stone Curlew

Trying to conceal behind a little stone

 Lesser Kestrel in several location but highest number around the farm barn, 15 Little owls we stopped counting after that number. Rock Sparrows, Black Wheatear,  Mistle Thrush, Merlin, and Black Restart.

 
Day off tomorrow from birding and with rain forecast for all day Sunday hopefully it will bring some migrants
Enjoy your Birding
Photos to follow
Cheers Bryan


Sunday birding cancelled
 torrential  rain all day.

Friday, March 8

Pego Marsh

There's a hole in my Bucket 
 
Nice early start and ready for some serious birding john and I set off for Prego Marsh last time I was there you needed a four wheel truck, to you get round as the whole area was completely under water.  
But assured by some recent emails that there was still adequate water there
 in the rice fields, I thought we could be in for a bumper days birding as migration is in full swing.
On arrival my heart sank, the whole area had been drained some weeks ago and just a few damp patch's was left, in my head I started singing there's a Hole in my Bucket dear Liza dear Liza which is one of the most annoying songs ever wrote, and its still buzzing around my head several hours later.
 
 
It was not a complete wash out ( joke) as we did see a few migrants 1 Purple Heron, large group of House Martin, Barn Swallow,  Short toed Eagle. Others seen Moustached Warbler, Cetts Warbler, Penduline Tits, several Green Sandpiper flew from the channels  and quite a few Booted Eagle and Marsh Harriers. Circled above

 
And that was the best of it, not what I was expecting  but we made the best of it
Just wish that song would stop
 
Cheers Bryan

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.
With what should I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I fix it, dear Liza, with what?
With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, with straw.

Friday, March 1

Clot de Galvany, San Felipe, El Pinet, a quick update

 
Hi there just a quick round up of the last few weeks I must admit I’ve been a little slow / or little bit busy in posting on my blog of late mostly because of I returned to the UK to see family and the Wales v England rugby match at the Principality Stadium. Amazing match fantastic / atmosphere full hospitality. and also sorting out photos from the Amazing Gambian trip for
Bargain Birding Club
 
Anyway Best team Won


Back to the birding

Clot de Galvany proved to be a very good spot to be on the morning of 28th February. John and I arrived at 8am, a clear sky, a light wind and a temperature of only 10 degrees. The scrapes had been cleared and we had excellent views of:-



Grey Wagtail, White Wagtails – many. Water Pipit, Little Grebes, Blackbird, Song Thrush. Robin, Black Redstart, Chiff Chaffs, Common Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Teal, Northern Shoveller, Mallard, Moorhen, Common Coot, Shelduck, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Spotless Starling, Crag Martins, Barn Swallows (our first for this spring), House Sparrows, Grey Heron.



A good start to our birding morning and in one and half hours of leisurely birding chat, with football // rugby banter we were happy with that list
We headed towards El Hondo hoping to find our first Great Spotted Cuckoo who are early arrivals, but there was no sight of one. And on the way we saw:-

Crested Larks, Common Kestrel, Collared Doves, Wood Pigeon, Goldfinches, Linnets, Hoopoe, Magpie,


We moved on to the Information Centre at El Hondo and saw:-



 


Wood Sandpiper, Snipe, Purple Swamphen, Red knobbed Coot, Marbled Duck (X24) Kingfisher, Penduline Tits (X2) Blackcap, Cetti’s Warbler, Glossy Ibis – many, Little Egret, Booted Eagle (X3) Southern Grey Shrike, Grey Heron.




Again we moved on to Santa Águeda and we saw flying and perched in his favourite tree the Great Spotted Eagle.

Palm Farm Road provided nothing of note. It looking very dry. Heading off to El Pinet there were





Slender Billed Gulls, (who preformed in front of us) Spoonbill, (X6) Black Tailed Godwits (30 plus) Avocets - numerous.




 


The full morning of sun had raised the temperatures to mid-twenties. The birds are on the move and some of the winter ones still with us, and migrants are beginning to arrive, it all change here, hopefully we will get some good birds on migration and also some rain soon.


 

Estepas de Yecla

On Monday 18th February John and I agreed that Estepas de Yecla could be worth the effort as we had not visited there since November. The weather was good with mostly full sunshine although with some cloud and a gentle but cold wind. This strengthened in the early afternoon but made no difference to us, its just great to be out the enjoying the openness and huge panoramas.




At 9am we listened to and watched numerous flying Mistle and Song Thrushes. They were in and around Olive Trees and we thought they could be on migration as there were a good number of them.


Green Finches in their bright spring colours were easily seen. Goldfinches, Linnets, Chaffinches, and Stonechats perched in full view. Blackcap in full song and a female was close by on the ground. lots Wood Pigeons were in the wires.


 
We have visited here many times and this was the least amount of human activity that we have witnessed. The soil had been tilled and also between the pruned vines, and all cultivatable land had been prepared. Apart from some winter corn showing through the landscape it seemingly awaiting warming sun and a good soaking as this area is ‘bone-dry’ no significant rain since November.


As usual we slowly worked the valley and listened, but it was quiet. A few Crested Larks were there and knowing that Calandra Larks are normally show in their hundreds. Nature is on the move and these Calandra larks were displaying and posing.

 
We were lucky to get a clear view of a few Short-toed Lark.
 
Short-toed Lark

We can confirm that Lesser Kestrels were still there around the farm One inspected two of the nest boxes on the wall of the barn. Maybe they will breed here. Two others were seen on the ground.

Several Crows, two Ravens, sixty to eighty Jackdaws, some Magpies, but our Corvid list lacked the usual Red-Billed Choughs.

Common Buzzards were not seen until late in the morning and on hearing them we saw three of them with two displaying. We again saw two as we began to leave this valley. We had great views as they flew overhead and then away, but they were the only large raptors that we saw.


Around the buildings adjacent to the Bodega were a good number of both House Sparrows and Tree Sparrows that were identifiable in the mixed flock. It is a reliable place to find both, but you have to look closely.

We know that things are moving and we had hoped for birds passing through on their way north. Generally, in that respect, it was disappointing particularly as we know that Great spotted Cuckoos, an early arrival, have been seen here, last year around this time we had seen around 10 in one day in this valley.

We needed to good bird to make our day and there only a few meters away from us were six Black Bellied Sandgrouse feeding in a field. As usual, they soon flew, as this species does, but with clear views and without the need for binoculars.



Absentees were Chough, Eagles, Pipits, Black Wheatears, Hoopoes and even Rock Sparrows today.

 

Only one Southern Grey Shrike appeared, six Little Owls entertained us and Black Redstarts were still around. Spring is almost upon us and with that, our summer arrivals will be here, with some staying, and others continuing on

Rare Golden Rabbit
 
Have a nice day
      cheers Bryan