Saturday, October 2

The Clot


Just a quick update of the Clot

A few hour hours watching the quackers, with Mathew, Mark, Michelle, and John.  Its sounding like something out of the Gospels?  All the usual suspects were there with a few additions like Purple Heron roosted in a distant tree, 3 Night Herons in another roost, also a few Squacco Heron.


Black necked Grebe


Squacco Heron.

A very distant raptor appeared, initially, I thought to Booted Eagle,but then I back off the ID of Booted and the thought, mmm maybe Osprey? I felt sure it would come over the water of the Clot but it drifted on.


Booted Eagle

When I checked the photos on returning home it was a Booted Eagle which answer the question of why the bird didn't come to water?

Marsh Harrier, Kingfishers, Reed Warblers, a Fudge Duck showed very briefly before disappearing.  Mark had seen and photograph it the previous day, it might be a cross / hybrid type, we'll be keeping a lookout for this bird?


Night Herons

Quite a few late Sand Martins some House Martins and plenty of Swallows going through.

Trevor returns to Spain next week it will be good to see him and go birding

and a reunion of the NBBC

make some news

Cheers Bryan 



Tuesday, September 28

The three Amigos go Yecla

   


   Monday the 27th

Our last visit to Yecla was in October 2019, we were keen to see what had changed there?

Arriving as the sun came up and the half moon still a big presence in the sky, and a very cool 10 degrees, it's first time I've felt cold since February. 


Habit

There's lots more uncultivated fields, good for the seed eaters, perhaps it a hangover from Covid, we passed only 2 motor cars in 6 Hours of birding and nobody working the fields, except for the shepherd and his flock of 200 hundred sheep.

Lots of Magpies and hundreds of Woodpidgeon everywhere.  A pair of Thekla's Lark showed nicely and sat around long enough to observe all the features and get some photographs, in fact only one Crested Lark was seen during the day. 

Thekla Lark

Charms of Gold Finch 150+ in several places, Linnet, in good numbers, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Little Owl, Black Wheatear, 6 Northern Wheatear,  a Common Redstart in a pine tree plantation, heard only Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and Calandra Lark.

Tree Sparrow

Our moment of the day came as we were watching 3 possibly 4 Lesser Kestrels when a Golden Eagle drifted by, John said there's a second bird much further away,


Golden Eagle


Lesser Kestrels 

 I took a few record shots of the second bird, checking the screen on the back of camera, it turned out to be a Short-toed Eagle, and unbelievable the bird then headed straight towards us stopping only to circle above the car and very obliging, and enough time for a few photos.  Later on a few Buzzard.


Short-toed Eagle

The only other moment of the day was the sheer numbers of migrating Swallows all heading one way south, a good number of Jackdaw and in the mix the odd Chough,

By the time we headed for home about 2 o'clock, it was 27 degrees and at the coast 31 degrees

A fun day out, plenty of Banter over common crane pidgeon?

A few slabs of fruit cake and tea scanning the vistas unfortunately the Weathers caramel sweets original stayed hidden and didn't come out, but the liquorice sweet made up for it?

 the other two members of the NBBC  John and Mark need an eye test?

Should have gone Specsavers?

Have fun

Cheers BT




Friday, September 24

Back birding after summer recess




I have to apologise to all the followers of my blog. For not keeping the blog up to date of late.

Its been just too hot for me to go birding through the peak summer months, and to be honest, I don't think I've missed anything of any significance or any thing that matters, we've had a brilliant spring migration and we've seen most everything you would expect to see plus more.

Wood Sandpipers

It's been a busy few months keeping he tourist entertained. (Singing) And with John and Michelle being away in the UK for a family wedding  we've missed several weeks birding, and with Gareth house hunting and out of loop we've missed him.

So we've had 2 mornings birding, it was great just to be out there, with John and Mark of the NBBC, great to have the banter back, and with like-minded people. And so a quick summary of some of the birds seen.

An escaped Oranged cheeked Cockatiel had me scratching my head for a while, till I recognised the call.  Year's ago I did have an escaped bird ( joey ) that came to my house twice a day for about a year for breakfast and dinner till he vanished maybe the millet seed wasn't up to scratch?

Oranged cheeked Cockatiel
( joey )

  Whinchat, and hundreds of Yellow Wagtails around the fields of Catral,  also Stone Curlew, Little-ringed Plover, 3 Wood Sandpipers, Ruff, 50 + Bee-eaters, Booted Eagle, Bluethroat, Collared Pratincole, plus all the usual suspects,

Whinchat


Yellow Wagtail


Stone Curlew


 Bee-eater

El Clot

Interesting morning but nothing mega to report, but plenty of quackers there, 8 Gadwall lots of White-headed Duck, Marbled Teal, Shovelers,  Common Pochard, a few Kingfisher pretending to be cruise missiles, Spotted Flycatchers, Reed Warblers, Snipe, Marsh Harrier, Glossy Ibis. Little and Black-necked Grebe. It's only going to get better as autumn progress?

Black-necked Grebe

John suggested a quick look at the Santa Pola Salinas was in order, I'm glad we did as it was quite a good decision.

 Caspian Tern

We pick out in the Black-headed Gull roost a Caspian Tern, which is a good find for us, a few lesser Black-backed Gulls in the mix, 

Osprey

2 Ospreys circled overhead, which gave us a photo opportunity,  a canteen of 37+ Spoonbills did a flypast,  Great white Egrets, Turnstones, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Greenshank, Collared Pratincoles,  Audouin Gulls, and a point-blank Cettis warbler under the minimum focusing distance


Osprey

. And on the beach at El Pinet lots of Sandwich Tern and some Great Tits on the beach,  they always seemed to be in pairs? and double what you'd see in the pine forests of Maigmo Mountain.

 Unbelievable

Going to go back at some point and look for a Bearded Tit?


Turnstone

Let see what next week brings 

Make some news

Glad to be back online, have fun

Cheers BT.



Wednesday, June 23

The Longest Day


Monday 21st the Longest Day

Good morning

John Edward and I both commented on the blueness of the mountains around Montnegra today  I'm always going on about this Valley it's stunning up here?

More exploration and a definite new potential site for Trumpeter Finch, we'll be keeping an eye on this place and let you know how it pans out? I think we've covered all parts of this Valley, from all sides there's not a track that we've not been down or a village not explored.

 Montnegra does never produce a big list of birds in this valley sometimes there's a raptor or two, and it's mostly what you would expect to see, I must have birded this Valley hundreds of time over the last  15 years regularly. Other site's claim to see more birds, but there's never, ever anything photos to prove the sightings (it's a big list of fictitious birds with no substance) mostly a load of bollocks full of Bullshit and fake news. I could write the same crap watching Emmerdale

 I've got my first birding tour since late 2019  pre covid, it's only 9 birders/photographers from Holland an on and off sort of a week with them, where they choose to do their own thing or go birding/butterfly's so glad that I've been chosen to take them around I have taken the same Dutch birding group around some time ago.

Montnegra Today


Dusky Heath 

A classic Iberian butterfly, spilling over into the South of France and Italy, the dusky heath is a creature of hot, dusty tracks, bushy wasteland and sun-soaked, rocky hillsides. It is common in Spain - usually seen settled on paths or perched on vegetation and twigs near the ground. Although this particular butterfly might have a local variation, see the photo? Like all heaths, it only ever settles with the underside showing, but fortunately, this is quite sufficient for easy identification. Because of the outward displacement of the spot in s.5,


Copper Demoiselle Male


Copper Demoiselle Female


Keeled Skimmer

This species resembles the Black-tailed Skimmer but is slimmer and the male has no black tip. Females and immature males lack the black abdominal pattern. The pterostigma is orange and the thorax usually bears pale stripes. It breeds mainly in fast-flowing streams and flies from June to September. This dragonfly is common in central and southern Europe. Its flight is quite skittish, with frequent hovering, and it lands often. It can fly quite a distance from water, despite its seemingly weak flight. When it perches, the wings are held forward.


Birds seen
Trumpeter Finch, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Rock Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Chough, Bee-eater, Spotted Flycatcher, Nightingale, Black-eared Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow,

Trumpeter Finch looking tatty

Corn Bunting

Red-legged Partridge

Spotted Flycatcher


A nice morning birding 
In the mountains
Shame no raptors?
Have fun
Cheers Bryan 

Tuesday, June 15

Bird of the Century




My old mates and birding friends on the Isles of Scilly have just made history they just found a Mega Bird, not just a mega but a mega of mega's ?

Egyptian vulture has been seen in the UK for the first time in what is believed to be more than 150 years.
The bird in question is Egyptian Vulture Described as a "once-in-a-century" sighting, it is thought it may have come to the Isles of Scilly from Northern France.

Egyptian Vulture Tresco Isles of Scilly

If the "incredibly rare" sighting is confirmed to be a wild bird, it would be the first since 1868,  mind-blowing?
Birdwatchers are expected to flock to the isles for a chance to spot it before it moves on

Wow-what a bird for Scilly and so very glad, my friend  Will Wagstaff  ( A legend ) was in on it, well done Will.
Primetime BBC 6 o'clock news  crazy
  unbelievable 

 It got me wondering what my Scilly list would now be when I left the Isles of Scilly. I was on 377  give or take a few splits not bad for a few square miles of land.

 Will Wagstaff, was at that time already over 400 so "Wills Scilly list" must be on loads more?
Will,  can you let me know where you are now?

Scilly Birders are normally very well travelled and have seen loads of rare birds around the globe and on Scilly, which is a major asset to them. Their awareness of the unthinkable is unthinkable and they are probably some of the best birders in the UK and are very much respected worldwide,

Great bird, so so, happy for the guys on Scilly
Make the news
Hope no resident birder missed it
Cheers  
Bryan Thomas


Egyptian Vulture

My photo from the Pyrenees 

Sunday, June 13

Flowers, Butterflies, and Birds. A Mash Up


Apologies I've not had the time to write the blog for weeks, so I'm going to have to summarise our birding, 

it's better to be out there birding and making the news than writing it up

Tuesday 8th June Sierra de Salinas in Bloom





Painted Lady



Striped Greyling

An interesting area which does look very promising for birding, it's our second visit in as many weeks, but it was the flowers and butterflies which made the day, not a big bird list, and at the lower levels Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Greater short-toed Lark, Woodchat Shrike, Chough, Raven,  lots of little birds, and upon the mountain Mistle Thrush, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Crested Tit, Common Buzzard, Rock Bunting, Bonelli's Warblers, Jay, Merlin, Wood Lark, I've not mentioned every bird seen, or heard 



False ilex Hairstreak


Bath White



Spanish Gatekeeper


Meadow Brown


Southern Blue



Greater short-toed Lark


Friday 11th June
 A Full day birding on the plains

Petrola, Corral Rubio, Bonete, Castile la Mancha, El Bachillar, etc


Clouded Yellow

Well, another superb day but the butterflies won the day for me, that's not to say the birding was bad. It's just the butterflies are in pristine condition and most of the birds are looking a tad bit tatty, it's not surprising they just finished breeding, so there entitled to look just a bit tatty.


The cornfields are high and ready to be cropped it's beautiful up there with all the different colours of soil and crops, it's worth making the effort just for the scenery. 
Unbelievable.

Clouded Yellow


Knapweed Fritillary


Great Bustard, under the belt and easy, also several close fly past, Rock Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Chough, Greater short-toed Lark, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Yellow Wagtails, Lapwing, Kentish Plover, Little-ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Black-necked grebe, Purple Swamphen, Great reed Warbler, Nightingale, Marsh Harriers, Gadwall, Red-crested, white-headed, Pochard, and so on. 


Great Bustard


 It's a big birds list so I'll stop now.  No major birding moment, well maybe there was a moment, how often do you get to see 25+ Chough close up at less than 5 meters? 

Lapwing


Little-ringed Plover


Rock Sparrow


 Juvenile Chough

The moment of the day for me was the abundance of Clouded Yellow and the very beautiful but Small Knapweed Fritillary. I'm a birder but you're got to appreciate these butterflies 

Small White


 Iberian Marbled White


Knapweed Fritillary








poppies?

I've seen these poppies grown here many time before, field upon field on the plains. 

But I haven't questioned what the crop is grown for, I thought maybe for cooking, but I have an idea the crop is for medical use to make morphine, its opium poppy.

it's almost the longest day?

Today 14th June

Santa Pola Salinas, El Pinet, La Marina, Vistabella Road, etc, 


We planned to find and photograph European Roller which we did easily, (4) also finding a least 4 Great-spotted Cuckoo in the process, but we didn't manage any photographs of the G S Cuckoos,

                                
                                          
European Roller  

 Santa Pola Salinas was quiet, but the normal summer breeders were busy, and at La Marina Kentish plover and young entertained us.

                                                                                 


        Little Owl


 A Peregrine falcon perched on a distant pylon. And a little Owl stood its ground and obliged to me a photographed, Bee-eaters we're around and calling.

                                           Marbled Duck                                       

 On Vistabella Road 16 Marbled Duck and also good numbers of Collared Pratincoles.  We called in briefly to San Felipe VC, it's got that funny coloured water again and not many birds, but Great reed Warblers we're cracking off in several places.

                              Great reed Warbler                           


 It was getting hot, so we called it a day,
A nice morning birding

Have fun 
Cheers Bryan