Wednesday, July 8

Yecla Corn Crazy


Tuesday the 7th

A nice early start. A great lunar moonset and sunrise set the scene   It was cool at 17 degrees.  A slab of cake and first breakfast was in order.

Tea didn't last long as we were off and chasing 2 Great-spotted Cuckoo, to be honest, most of the birds that we did seen was before 10 o'clock., and before the heat arrived

Lunar Moonset

Sunrise was good

It's about 8 months since John and I were last here, and what a difference those months have made to the Valley of Yecla.  Corn, Barley, Wheat and Oats, have been planted and harvested from almost ever patch of ground you that you can see.

The View

  Leaving stubble over a foot high. There are some big Brassicas fields planted up at the Caudete end

Descript

 which seems to going to seed, also there are also large area of Vines and Almonds Trees.

Great Spotted Cuckoo

 I wonder why the farmers decided to plant Grains this year?






These changes has for now changed the landscape and the ecosystem, Little Owls seem to be doing well, also Lesser Kestrel. lots of them in the air following a harvesting Tractor, we've seen this before.
Maybe  there's more small mammals and bugs in the fields for them to feed on?


 Lesser Kestrel


 Lesser Kestrel


 Little Owl

There as some noticeable absentee,  Some of the predicted birds just didn't show.  All Larks were difficult. Time for second breakfast.


Short-toed Lark.

In all the years of birding Yecla,  Black-eared Wheatears are a bread and butter bird, something you could bank on and getting good photos of
But not this time?  I've still not caught up with one this year.

All those large expanse of stone fields have now all gone and cover with a foot high Stubble.

Rabbits are everywhere and almost everytime you put your binoculars up there's a Wood Pidgeon in view, not surprising given the huge amount of grains planted.
It could turn out good for Sandgrouse and Bustards later in the autumn?

Maybe the hoards of Rabbits will bring some good
 Raptors Who knows?

Tree Sparrow

 Fields that were planted with Melons, Brassicas, Peppers, and other plants have disappeared.
 All the irrigation that supported these type of plants has now being stripped out of the fields.
And now there are huge mounds of black plastic irrigation piping and black plastic sheeting that has been dumped in several different locations in and around the Valley.

 I wonder where the plastic will end up?

 Black Plastic

 The Rock Sparrow site has been abandoned as it's one of the sites where the plastic has been dumped, could it be the disturbance that has made the Rock Sparrow moved off.
 Ony one Bee-eater seen in the days birding which is sad?

Woodchat strike

For a more in-depth review of today's birding

See John Edwards excellent Blog link below

John Edwards blog

Still a great morning birding and grateful just to be out there

Make some news
Have fun
Cheers
BT











Thursday, June 25

Heron City




An early start, John and I decided to stay local, first stop El Clot de Galvany.
 It's  Heron City there right now. I counted at least 9 Little Bitten, and probably there's double that number.

Good numbers of Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, a few elusive Night Herons hiding inside the reeds, and some Grey Herons.
Whiskered Terns galore, no shortage of food as the Terns seemed to be scooping up food in abundance, they have to be breeding?

Great-crested Grebe + Juv's,  White-headed Duck+ Juv's.  Shovelers,  Marbeled  Teal,  Red-crested Pochard + Juv's,  Common Pochard +Juv's,  Mallard Duck,  Purple Swamphen. Little Grebe.

The historical site on the Carabassi Road
 For the Rufus bush scrub Robin.

I've been there lots of times so far since lockdown, but no show,
But Spotted flycatcher and Turtle dove, there.

We explored the abandoned Salt Pan at Urbanova, its under-watched, and is looking promising for the autumn and winter months. Water is still being pumping into these salt pans,  there are a few pairs of breeding LRP and Black-winged Stilt on the water.

I think this place has the potential for autumn waders
In the future.

Update
3rd July

Black necked Grebe
Photo from a previous visit

John Michelle and my self returned again to El Clot Wetlands this week.  Birds were much the same as the previous week.


 Little Bitten


 Little Bitten



  but this week I  managed a few photos. For a in-depth review of our morning's Birding see John Edwards Blog link below

John Edwards review click here


Night Heron



Marbled Duck



Marbled Duck Chicks




Have Fun
Cheers
BT

Monday, June 22

Clot revisited






 I thought I might be on to something when I visited El Clot last week.


Marbled Duck

And as I had a few free hours. That's where I headed.  I thought there could be a nesting pair of Little Bitten, as one of the Tamarisk Tree's seemed to be getting more attention.

Marbled Duck

So I waited patiently to see if  my hunch was correct
The normal suspects showed up which kept me occupied.

 Green Sandpiper

3 Turtle Dove, Glossy Ibis,  Squacco Heron,  Green Sandpiper,  Great Reed Warbler, Grey Heron,  White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Great-crested Grebe with young, whiskered Terns.

Glossy Ibis

I was watching a Moor Hen chic when at the back and in the reeds there was a female Little Bitten, it just walked out.

Little Bitten

I must have watched for about 20 minutes then there was some more movement behind, and there it was, a fledged Little Bitten. I could see the fluffy downy feathers on its head.
 Brilliant.

Female Little Bitten and Juvenile

 "Its good when a plan comes together" it was joined by the male a bit later, suddenly they all flush, and disappeared.

 I waited and waited, I said to myself, give it five more minutes, then I'm off for lunch and some Homemade constipation busting curried Pasties.

From out of nowhere, the Male Little Bitten was up and flying and heading "you've guess it " straight towards me? Where do you think it landed?  In the reeds, and right in front of me about 2 meters away.

"Unbelievable"

  What a Bird.

Male Little Bitten

Now these birds can be a bit tricky they seldom show very well, and are a bit of a skulker, and are roughly the same size of a Moor Hen.

Male Little Bitten

but this boy put on a show, I've now called him Oscar after the performance fantastic.
 I was so glad to so see the bird so well. Amazing through the Bins, and then to grab a few photos, was a bonus!
The total time in view didn't last long as the sound of the camera spooked the bird as you can see, from its expression of alert.


Male Little Bitten

Happy Days

Have a great day
Cheers
BT




Saturday, June 20

El Clot D Galvany


Who's ever came up with the idea to flood the Clot
 I'd like to thank him or her.
As its has transformed the Clot and the Birding.
unbelievable.

I've been a bit slow in writing up this report.
Just to much going on!

And so today the 20th of June there's a new breeding bird for the Clot. A Great-crested Grebe nothing mega I know but the Clot has been my local patch for ages and never seen a Great crested Grebe. Any where near there,  Its very common bird on Santa Pola Salinas, but never the less a good bird and a new breeder.

Great-crested Grebe

 I saw several adults and a few different aged juveniles on the newly created flooded area, also a pair of Black necked Grebe.
The place is alive with other birds and insects on and off the water.

Black tailed-Skimmer

Some highlights from today

White-headed, Duck

5 Little Bitten all-male, 2 Squacco Heron, a flyover Night Heron,  Glossy Ibis,
White-headed, Duck, Marbled Duck, Great reed Warbler, Reed Warbler, Turtle Dove, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Purple swamp Hen.
And lots of the little stuff flitting about.

Glossy Ibis

Heard only Penduline Tit, and still a few Nightingale singing,
There are a few Whiskered Terns, some carrying food so I guess there breeding as well, but not seen any young as yet.

Squacco Heron

All the expected hirundines were present

Now if we could just get collared Pratincole Breeding
That would be good
Have fun
Cheers BT


Thursday, June 18

The spring that never was




Tuesday the 12th of June

 A local run about our local patch, and get a few year ticks and a mess about in general.
We thought we'd give Rufous-tailed scrub Robin a go on the Carabassi road but no luck there,  just a nice family group of Long-tailed Tits which showed off in front of us for ages, and a Turtle Dove churring away.

Quickly on to the Santa Pola Salinas at the Salt Tower lots of Little Terns and across the road in a dried out lagoon about 75 + pair of nesting Little Tern,  being very noisy.  In the distance over the reeds were flying Collared Pratincole and whiskered Terns.

 Little Tern

El Pinet

The normal place where you would park the car has been roped off because of the Covid 19 virus, it has had a positive result as there's been less disturbance, no people wandering around,  no dog walkers, no birders, or cars, and the result is lots of Slender-billed gulls.

 Slender-billed gulls.

Juv Slender-billed gull

  And in general more birds in the 1st two lagoons close to the hides.

Black-tailed  Godwit

On the sea La Marina

held big flocks of Common Tern,  Sandwich Tern, Audouin's Gull, noisy Black-headed Gulls.
it was Teatime and a slab of Trish's constipation busting banana cake was in order and watch the Terns fly by.

The scrub around the back of La Marina.

John found the first of the 7  European Rollers, year tick for me, also a few bee-eaters on the wires. Many Mediterranean Gulls mixed with Black Headed in the new churned soil.

European Roller

European Bee-eater


Palm farm Road

We flush a Male Night Heron from the gulley which runs along the road, a Yellow Wagtail showed up and a Male Little Bittern flew over the car which was a bonus bird.

The Heap

Flooded fields
We came across many partially flooded or damp fields, a few held lots of Glossy Ibis, and large numbers of Mediterranean Gulls.

Glossy Ibis


Mediterranean Gull

Sante Agueda

A Pair of a Marbled Ducks, a moulting Green Sandpiper, Squacco Heron, Great Reed, and Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warbler,

Time to head for home it was getting hot,
 on route back 2 Woodchat Shrike, Lots of Southern grey Shrike seen over the course of the day.

Nothing out of the ordinary today, but we caught up on a few year ticks,
I keep forgetting we are at the end of June and seeing birds in moult sort of throws me,
Where did the last 4 months go and spring migration, its the longest day is in three days time June 21st
Nights are drawing in thankfully at a slow place?

Winters is Coming

(Game of Thrones)

Unbelievable

Where's the time gone?
Tic Tok
Cheers BT












Friday, June 12

No Bins Bird Club Resume



And after ages of no Birding.
And 3 months since lockdown on March the 13th.

  Yesterday we got out to play, " hallelujah"  And we headed for Montnegre our target bird was the Elusive Trumpeter Finch.  I might have to rename this bird and drop the elusive bit as we see them every time we go there, now we know where to look. This must be up there with one of the best sites in Spain, for where to see these so-called "elusive" Birds. having said that it has taken a lot of effort to find them, and so its relatively easy to see in them in spring, summer or early autumn,  as yet we don't know where they go in the winter.

Male Trumpeter Finch

Female Trumpeter Finch

It was Tea time and a slab of chocolate cake was in order.
Other Birds of note in the valley were Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Nightingale,
Spotted flycatcher, Kestrel,  and lots of little finches types around.
   
And at the Tibi end of the valley, there were a few Griffon Vultures and  I did hear very briefly the song/call of Black-eared Wheatear.

crap photo
Once at the Tibi end, we didn't waste time and head off Maigmo Mountain only stopping a few time on the way up the mountain.
 In a shaded area and picked up Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper,  Chaffinch, Crossbill, and we heard a distant Woodlark,
No sigh of any Alpine Swift, but a few Pallid Swift put in an appearance.



Pallid Swifts
 The
  Moment of the day.
Didn't come from our feathered friends or Butterflies but a lace Wing and a Fly?

Owly Sulfur fly

I got a bit excited when I saw this yellow coloured insect with transparent wings I said to John and Michelle get on this, not knowing what family it belonged to, it was something different.  We all had different ideas of what it could be.
  I thought I might be the type of Burnet Moth but with an antenna of a butterfly? Was it a Dragonfly?


 There was a second flying insect dancing around with beautifully marked wings and two elongated tails was this the female of the yellow insect? We had no idea.
We got busy photographing the bugs to document our find.

 I've found out the yellow winged bug is Owly Sulfur fly
How can a fly look so good?

Owly Sulfur fly

 This is the males of the species
LIBELLIODES COCCAJUS


DESCRIPTION
The adults reach 25 millimetres (0.98 in) of length, with a wingspan of 45–55 
millimetres (1.8–2.2 in). [3] The body is black and quite hairy. The eyes are 
large and bulging; the antennae are long and clubbed. The wings do not have 
scales and are partly transparent, with bright yellow areas in the first third, 
dark brown on the external side. An elongated black area is present towards 
the end of the posterior edge of the wing. The venation is black. The wings 
are held spread at rest, as in dragonflies. 

From the family ASACALAPHIDEA and sub-family ASCALAPHINAE

Owly fly mainly inhabits areas of tall grass and sunny rocky slopes up to 1500 metres. 
This was the right location for them on this Limestone ridge. They are considered rare and can be seen in 
France, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland. 

And the other Bug was a 
 Thread-winged Lacewing or Ribbon Winged Lacewing, Nemoptera bipennis

Threaded winged Lacewing

It's one of the most beautiful Iberian insects I've
Ever seen, it's  sometimes called Wood Fairy or Threaded winged Lacewing known as Duende in Spanish which translates to Elf or Fairy
The beauty and diversity of nature never cease to amaze me and I may have to go back there and sit down quietly and watch them dance one more time

"unbelievable"
It's great to be out and about once again, enjoying nature.
Big thanks
John and Michelle 

Have fun

Cheers Bryan