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
     

    Monday, April 8

    Clot de galvany

     
     
    Quick visit the clot Sunday the 7th March,  no sign of the 6 Night Herons although admittedly  it was the wrong part of the day to go there, lots of family's there and very windy but I did see my first Squacco Heron of the year.  There was a bit of an acrobatic performance going on by the Barn Swallow and House Martin and Sand Martin Flying low across the water against the strong gusty wind, which I tried to photograph as they zipped  over the water. 
     
    Squacco Heron
     
    Barn Swallow
     
    Barn Swallow
     
     House Martin
     
    The Swamp area is quite full of water with a few Greater Flamingos on it and some of the commoner duck, the only other bird worth a mention was a single Whiskered Tern.
    Have a great Day
    Cheers Bryan
     

    Greater Flamingo
     
     

    Wednesday, April 3

    The Plain's of Bonete, lagunas de Petrola. Higuerurela.

    This morning Trevor set out at 7 o'clock 1 hour and half later arrived at Bonete on route we chatted about the Brexit mess, and how the Torys change side when it suits them.

    On route we decided which route we would take to go birding and so we done the complete opposite on what was agreed, just like the Conservatives.

     Calendar Lark
     
    We left Bonete and headed to Higueruela, Calendar Larks popped up here and there, while photographing a Calendar Lark, Trevor spotted a group of 13 Little  Bustards  drop in to a field, we got a little closer and we watch them as they popped there heads up and down in the long grass.

    Little Bustard 
     
    I looked across into different field and there was another 12 Little Bustard including 2 males showing
     well in the telescope in the distance was a Great Bustard strutting around like he owned the place. Corn Bunting were plenty and a few Northern Wheatear, and Stone Curlew. Surprise of the day was 3 Gull billed Terns, which were very active and mobile.

     Great Bustard
     
    We started to head for Petrola but detoured  to Laguna del Salobrjo where there was plenty of duck, Red Crested Pochard, White Headed Duck, Common Pochard,  Shell Duck, Black necked Grebe etc.
     
    Best moment of the day was watching the Marsh Harriers displaying! definitely a WertherS moment if your in this area it worth the effort to see it.

    Marsh Harriers



     
     

     Heading back towards Corral Rubio a few more Great Bustards,


     
    Even after the resent heavy rain all of the seasonal lakes are still empty and dried up with the exception of these 3  Petrola lake, Laguna del Salobrjo,  Montealegre de Castillo,  and at this lake was more or less the same Duck as the Laguna del Salobrjo with Gadwall also being present.

     Redshank

     And the only waders seen were 2 Greenshank and 3 Redshank, 6 Lapwings, a fly over of of a Black Kite ended the day nicely

    Black Kite with kill

    Great to be out with Trevor
    Till the next time
    Good birding

    Quick update 6 Night Herons at the Clot de Galvany
    This evening

    Cheers Bryan
     

    Tuesday, April 2

    Maigmo and Montnegre

    Today in the mountain behind Alicante. Nice start and first bird seen a Wood Lark, many more heard during the morning,

    Wood Lark

     Coal Tit, Long tailed Tit, Crested Tit, Mistle Thrush, Trevor spotted a large raptor which turn out to be a Short toed Eagle, moments later a Goshawk crossed the mountain ridge and was joined by a second  bird. At the top of Maigmo  Tree Creeper, Crossbill,

    Crested Tit

      lots of Chaffinch, and in one of the ravines we heard a few Wren singing.

    Tree Creeper
     
    Chaffinch

    At around 12 o'clock we headed to Montnegre at the entrance to the track we watch the Griffon Vultures, Chough, Raven, Peregrine Falcon, Dartford Warbler. Blue rock Thrush
    Big surprise of the day was a superb full summer plumage male Subalpine Warbler, which I fail photograph by some wrong decision making.
    Nothing other of interest to report as we worked our way down to Alicante.

    Tomorrow Petrola and surrounding area