Saturday, March 19, 2022

Birding Mars

SKIES around the Costa Blanca turned yellow on Monday afternoon due to Saharan dust being brought in by Storm Celia. Dramatic weather conditions are expected to stay in the area until Thursday. Gusts have reached over 80 kilometres an hour with dust particles covering a large part of Alicante Province skies.


Storm Celia smashes records just weeks after major drought fears With a week still remaining, ( see my earlier post about water levels at petrola )

 it has been the wettest March in the region since 1950, according to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET).

It's been crazy not see the sun these last ten days.  The weather phenomenon that's lasted the last few day's around Alicante's and the Costs Blanca area and much further afield,  has made the BBC'S UK national news on more than one occasion

  micro particles of Sub Sahara dust, whip up by the strong winds which has turned the sky an yellow/orangey colour, it looks like you're wearing tinted sunglasses and everything is looking  cool and dreamy, its thick and affecting people with breathing difficulty's and they are advising people to stay indoors.

Mars Finca

And so with that in mind my birding buddy Trevor Ashley decided to visit and go birding, its been odd weather, theses last few weeks but undeterred we've carried on?

Great spotted Cuckoo

 Birding Mar's is not without it's problems the light levels are very low and almost impossible for photography. But the weather has dropped a few migrants in,  namely Barn Swallow, Pallid Swift,  House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow,  Yellow Wagtails, and the arrival of hundreds of Sandwich Terns, unusual high numbers of lesser Black back Gull, Great white Egrets also Black-tailed Godwit, and a few Northern Wheatears passing through, Corn Buntings, Meadow Pipit, scattered around. Great spotted Cuckoo's, Green Sandpipers, Ruff,  Red and Green shanks, Dunlin, Sanderling, Kentish Plover, little Stint, Avocet, Black winged Stilt.

Great spotted Cuckoo


Mediterranean Gull,  Audouin's Gull,  Slender billed Gull,  Black headed Gull, all in full summer plumage and looking very smart, also Booted Eagle, Marsh Harriers.

Bar tailed Godwit on Mars,

So more rain forecast for tomorrow and the rest of the week

I'll let you know how we get on and where we end up?

Great spotted Cuckoo's

Today  20th March

More rain over night and cloudy start to the day, we decided not to go far and head straight to San Felipe,  we arrived before anyone else, so it was undisturbed. 

Water Rail

Water Rail showed briefly also there Woods Sandpiper, Ruff, European Snipe, good numbers of Black tailed Godwit, and high numbers of Glossy Ibis around the area.

Black tailed Godwit. 


 Marbled Duck, Teal, Garganey, Shoveler, Red crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Red knobbed Coot, Black necked Grebes, Purple Swamp Hen, and lots of  hirundines, 20 + Alpine Swift's which put a proper show as they were only just above head, and higher up probably three times that number.

Alpine Swift.


 A fly past of 2 Stone Curlew at very close range was a bonus.

Red knobbed Coot.

I've not mentioned every bird seen

Let see what Monday brings?

Rain again this morning its not stopped since the 2nd of March, so we had plan B and went Sea Watching along the Carabassi Beach road it was surprisingly good with an stiff on shore breeze, waves about 2 meter high

Great Skua.

Trevor picked out an Oystercatcher, a Whimbrel flew past, several Audouin's Gull sat around the rocky shore, and Turnstones fed along the tidal sea weed.  Mega bird of the day was a Great Skua fly past at close range probably bird of the week,

We call it a day around 11 o'clock and planned to go out later this afternoon weather permitting

El Clot

Water levels high

Black necked Grebe.

So we chanced it, it was spitting with rain very cloudy and very grey. On the big pool a few White headed Duck, Black necked Grebe's  Red crested Pochard, absolutely hundreds of House Martin's,  good numbers of Red-rumped Swallow feeding over the pool, but the common small bird we're keeping there heads down.

White headed Duck.

Red crested Pochard.

We head off to the Carabassi Beach one more time not as good as this morning visit but we did find 2 Whimbrel sat around the rock's and added Gannet to the list.


Hoping the weather improves for the tomorrow morning

Well the forecast was for an improving day, well just how wrong can it get, we decide to go Benej├║zar and bird along the river, well heaven's open and after an hour or so we'd had enough and cut our losses and went across country to San Felipe heavy rain showers followed us and put an end to our day.

But at San Felipe there are now 7 Garganey including 2 female, nice way to end the day, and Trevor is stuck on 99  species for the trip.

Have a great day.

Cheers Bryan

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