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

Monday, February 11



Hi there to everyone who follows my blog.
 Just letting you all know that I've just return from Gambia with the Bargain Birding Bird Club.
 An 8 Day Action packed non stop Bird Tour.

Yellow billed Kite
 
 Photos and blog coming as soon as I get time.
  below the stats
 136 GB of memory used
7,015 photos taken
over 200 species seen 
looks like fun getting through it
 
A very small taste of Gambia
 
Klaas's Cuckoo
 
Bargain Birding Bird Club
 a short Review
 
Black shoulder Kite
 
Gambia
5th - 12th Feb 2019
 
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
  
Well where do I start
I have to admit I know Richard Hanman very well. (and he is one of my close birding friends and managing director of  BBC)  I have co-lead and also been part of the groups / assisted the visits to Spain, and Portugal, and International destination's.  Don't get me wrong its not for the faint hearted. It can be dawn till dusk birding but that is really up to you, if you fancy a chill out day with rest and relaxation by the hotel swimming pool its no problem,
  But what you DO get is BIRDS.

Giant Kingfisher
 
 And birds in abundance and not just a glimpse of distant tree top birds or the back end of a bird disappearing from view, Its up front and in your face, you really do get up close without disturbing them, see my photos.

Laughing Dove

 With a comprehensive list of local guides and spotters who are connected to each other they research the areas before your visit, you get see the most difficult birds on your list easily,
 without these connections it would be almost impossible to view these hard to see birds, 
I have no hesitation in recommending any of the Bargain Birding Bird Club Trips.
"it does, exactly what it says on the Tin.
BARGAIN BIRDING  
see link below
"http://www.bargainbirdingclub.com/

Purple glossy Starling

have a great day
cheers Bryan


Update March 7th
  few more photos as I get through them

 

 










I will get around to naming the photos asap
Pego in the morning
 cheers
 

Tuesday, January 29

Clot de Galvany


  
Just a very quick up date about the Clot de Galvany over the last few weeks there's been some major works carried out at both hides. Encroaching reed beds have been cleared and also the breeding Islands have now been exposed and cleaned up and some new resting post erected, it all looks good and probably the best that I've see it for quite a few years, shame it not groomed a bit more often, but that could be down to resources.


Of course there's been major disruption for many of the wintering wild fowl and resident birds, and things are only just starting to settle down again.


  All there usual suspect are there but there is one new arrive of a Pintail which is well worth a look.


I'll be keeping more of a eye on the Clot as it looks perfect for a rare / scarce bird to visit, and with spring just around the corner who knows what could turn up


About the Clot de Galvany
This wetland forms part of the series of ponds in the Elche area of Balsares and it is connected to the sand dunes and pine forests of Carabassí. It is a perfect example of the coastal marsh lands which urban development has put in danger. The Clot de Galvany was seriously damaged at the end of the 1970s, when it was subjected to works of drainage and land movement which altered its physiognomy. A property developer intended to drain a natural wetland to create… an artificial lake! Public pressure saved it from destruction and Elche City Council took charge of its recovery and protection, designating it as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


In the area of Clot de Galvany there is an interesting grassland formation, predominantly of albardine and sea lavender. Certain types of rushes provide a fringe to the thickets, which are typical of the salt marsh, and which occupy most of the land around the ponds


Surrounding the various bodies of water, the salt cedars give way to marsh vegetation, predominantly reeds, and aquatic vegetation, with a significant presence of sea grass and potamogeton.

Old cultivation terraces are still visible, where pasture land of grasses dotted with inula and marine bufalaga, together with carob and olive trees.


Around this wetland there is a series of seamounts and knolls largely populated with Aleppo pines, and with the presence of espinar alicantino, a local type of hawthorn and a true representative of native vegetation. Among the most distinctive species are some interesting examples of black hawthorn, lentiscus, ephedra and palmetto.
On these knolls, where two bunkers from the civil war still remain, aromatic thickets typical of the Elche seamounts are also present, with well known species such as Arabian lavender, thyme, rosemary and lavender. It is also possible to spot two types of the five wild orchids present in the Autonomous Valencian Region, a indication of the importance of this unique botanical wetland of Elche.

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan

Monday, January 21

Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse



Id not planed to get up and photograph this event but I was awake around 4 pm. I took a look out the window at the Moon thinking it was going to be cloudy and to my surprise it was clear as a bell.  So I decided to give it a go.  I quickly got the camera gear organised and my sturdy Gitzo tripod ready. And set about recording the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse.  The 1st part of getting the partial lunar eclipse images was easy, but at full eclipse it became much more difficult as I had to manual focus the lens which is not that simple as seams, as you have to allowing for the atmosphere and also my close vision is not that good. The full eclipse began at 0540
  







And so after an one an a half hours freezing, Id had enough, not really happy about the last image could do better maybe I'll try again tonight if its clear.


 As you can see it wasn't clear but nice and colourful sun set



Cheers Bryan.