Tuesday, December 29

There and Back Again


Monday 28th

Here we go again! searching for Tonn, latest satellite data suggests he's in the area around Santa Agueda, San Felipe Neri, and Catral.  The problem is we're in the right area, seeing all the wrong birds. But we're out and about eating slabs of yummy chocolate cake and hot tea and biscuits, football banter, and waiting for the big one to fly over,  and there's always a chance we could turn up something special?

Great white Egret


Sandwich Tern


Little-ringed Plover

Unbelievable
 A really good start for today as we crossed Santa Pola Salinas, 7 Great white Egrets, good numbers of  Spoonbills, 3 Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Dunlin, Sandwich Tern, Kingfisher,  big increase in numbers of Cormorants.  Inland in flooded fields, Little-ringed and Ringed Plovers, 2 Greenshank, Wood Sandpipers into double figures, Green Sandpiper, Little Stint, Snipe, Blue Throat, Water and Meadow pipits, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harriers, everything you'd expect to see, at this time of year, but again we failed to connect with Tonn,  I'm starting to feel a bit jinxed over this bird, but I know it's going to feel all the sweeter when we do connect?  

 Grey Plover

Time for second breakfast.

 On the positive side, we are finding many new sites with good potential as we scour the area, it's going to pay back ten times over with knowledge of where to go, how to get there, and what's there. It reminds me a little of finding and tracking down the site for Trumpetet Finch in the valley of Montnegre, which also took time and effort.

Greenshank

Later on dark clouds gathered and the wind got up with some light showers of rain it wasn't nice on the top of the elevated platform at Santa Aqueda.  Having driven back and forth between Santa Aqueda and San Felipe 3 times I was starting to lose the will to live. A flock of Lapwing (100+) all sheltering out of the wind and in amongst 9 Golden Plover, along the Vistabella road.  Returning across Santa Pola Salinas in one concentrated group were 12 Great white Egrets and 2 Greys fishing, shame we couldn't stop for a photo.

Blue Throat

Who said patience is a virtue? It involves going through suffering at times without getting angry or upset?

 It seems to me that is got a bit muddle over time "Who's angry, or upset" 

 now where that ( bad language ) bird

Serin

I haven't mentioned any of the small birds seen today but there's lots and lots


Lapwing

Have a great day

Fingers crossed next time

Cheers

BT



Thursday, December 24

2nd Day of Winter?



Wednesday 23nd 

The second day of winter but you wouldn't think so, down to tie shirts and jeans by mid-morning and looking for Tonn the Great Spotted Eagle beautifully blue skies sunny and clear. It's been an interesting morning birdng (6 hours)

It was cool to say the least when we started and on out travels around to the area where Tonn is frequently seen.

These are just some of the birds that managed to find us on our way around 

Sanderling 

Some great view of Reed Bunting, 6+Spoodbill, a few Great white Egret,

Sandwich Terns, Kingfishers, Lesser black-backed Gull, Kentish Plover, 2 Spotted Redshank, one of these had a wash and brush up in fount of us, 3 Redshank, some Dublin, Sanderling and Little Stint, European Snipe,  a big Ascension of Skylark,

Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank

Most impressive was the number's of Marsh Harriers and Booted Eagles probably 30 + birds of each spieces to be honest it could of been lots more I'd stopped counting by then.  One of the towers hides at Sante Aguada appears to be back in action which helps as it a 180-degree vista across El Hondo.


European Snipe

But another no sign of the missing one (Tonn)

I've had a go at the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn and the Moon there was a bit too much light pollution for me as the planets are low In the southwestern sky



Thank you to everyone that visited my blog it's getting popular now and with over 21.000 hits.

I'll be resuming my Birding Tours as soon as possible after Covid 19 contact me for info.

Which just leave me to wish everybody a Very Merry Christmas

Watch out for my review of this year's of Birding Costa Blanca some new photos of birds seen thoughout the year

This Kestrel dropped in my garden yesterday to close to get all the bird in so just a head shot

 Kestrel

Have a Great Christmas

Jingle bell jingle bells jingle all the way

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas and all that stuff

Have fun and stay safe 

Cheers BT











Friday, December 18

Tonn the Great Spotted Eagle the Search Continues?

Wednesday, the 15th

After studying satellite data for Tonn the Great spotted Eagle, there's an obvious route that Tonn had been frequently using?

And our plan was for us was to get right in the middle of his route,  and to maximize our chances of connecting with Tonn.  We found some new tracks which looks very promising for another time,  and other tracks, where we ended up in the back gardens of houses, we got some bemused looks from the locals as we reversed back out.  And after going in circles for 6 hours in a different location, and for another no show of Tonn,  We'd had enough as the best part of the day had already past

 Kingfisher

All was not lost though, bird's seemed to be find us throughout the day.  A very confiding Kingfisher played games with us for a while, as we tried to get closer for a photo.  A distant Sparrow Hawk sat in an open field, 2 Temminck's Stint, Little Stints, and Wood Sandpiper we're also seen. Double figures for Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier and Kestrel, several Blue Throats showed well,  also European Snipe and Grey Wagtail were seen.

Sparrow Hawk? 
Now. After reviewing photo. It's probably. A Merlin x 2
easy to mistake to make in the moment?
Note the double cheek markings.

There was a Mega flock of Serin, very difficult to estimate numbers but it's of mega-size. I've not mentioned every bird seen but today's total was close to 50 species without trying.

 Serin


 Serin

Tonn will have to wait for another day

Massive thanks to John and Michelle

See john's blog for more info and a different view of our days birthdays

Click link below

http://johnedwards-je.blogspot.com

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan



Saturday, December 12

What a Difference A Week Makes ?


Same route different day

Friday 11th December.

Our plan was to see what's changed at San Felipe, has it been reflooded?  or was that lovely Mud Still there?

I'll cut to the quick, it was crap! compared to how it has been, it's back to being not worth the effort of going there.  it's now in the process of being re-flooded,  the reed strimming has been completed.  There is hardly any muddy margins, and the cuttings from reeds have now covered what margins there was. 

Now at least you can see around the area, its a shame San Felipe couldn't be better managed and with just 2 Dunlin a Common Sandpiper and a few Western Swamp Hen, that was the best it could offer, we didn't stay long.

 There and back was a different story.

Across Santa Pola Salinas

There's an influx of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, loads in fact, in one roost over 30 birds and plenty more in different places, a few Sandwich Terns hunted for food across the Salinas,

Waders

Grey Plover, Greenshank, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Little Stint, Avocets, and Black-winged Stilt, and at the Standing Stones, the normal canteen of Spoonbills at roost.

 Spotted Redshank

Plenty of Marsh Harriers, today 12+ and the same for light phase Booted Eagle but only one dark phase seen, no sign of Tonn the Great spotted Eagle. There are big flocks of Finches in the fields, Linnet, Serin, Goldfinch, which was good to see them in such big numbers also in smaller groups, Greenfinch.

Greenfinch

 Worth a mention are the huge numbers of Skylark around Palm farm Road and it seems more Stonechats have arrived and less in number of Black Redstarts,

Stonechat

 at least 10 hoopoes and several family groups of Red-legged Partridge.

 Skylark

Red-legged Partridge

In the flooded fields, lots of Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret and Little Egret,  Huge numbers of White Wagtails, with the odd Water Pipit and Meadow Pipit, and Bluethroat.

Little Egret

The cold spell has come to and end and yesterday's temperature reached a crazy 25 degrees, and John and I were back to tee shirts, and the forecast is for more clear sky's and sunshine.

Bluethroat

Blue Throat

 We could do with some rain and some is forecast for next week

 "hopefully" if the rain turns up? It lashes it down. 

Have fun

Cheers BT



Friday, December 4

Golden Moments


Thursday 3rd December 

Three visits to San Felipe in 8 days is a sort of a record for John and me, it's all to do with that glorious mud.

It's gone much colder and temperature have hit a new low of only 5 degrees at night time, I noticed on route to San Felipe, that in the low lying fields,  the potato crops had an air frosting and we're glistening frosty white as the sun came up.  I thought to my self this colder air will push some birds further south?  Maybe we'll get lucky with some Common Crane. John and I have been looking for them for a while now?

 San Felipe

Hoopoe

More of the same bird's. A Hoopoe posed at the entrance for a photo. Waders,  Dunlin, Little Stint, Redshank, Snipe, Temminck's Stint, Bluethroat, Little Ringed and Ringed Plover, etc.  It won't be long before its all gone and they reflood and all that lovely mud will be gone,  my guess is next week sometime? 

Temminck's Stint

 There was a moment when a Booted Eagle drop like a stone, wings folded up like a Peregrine Falcon, it flushed everything in sight, what a commotion and  hullabaloo it caused.  The noisy  Black-winged Stilts were not happy,  we watch the Booted Eagle fly off with nothing.

There's a few more Birders and Photographer out and about which is encouraging, good to catch up with Eddie Walker and Mark also Paul and Greta, who share some interesting info.

Same Route Different Day

Santa Aguada

Looking for Tonn the Great spotted Eagle again no sign! A different Temminck's Stint, on the pool, and a group of Little Stint landed.

Temminck's Stint

 we didn't stay that long but the work on the viewing platforms is progressing with a new concrete base and repair to the timbers. As we left Sante Aguada another Hoopoe posed but it was that close all I could do was to photograph was the head, it wasn't fazed and only left when the car engine was restarted.(see header photo) 

We like take our time checking the fields but sometimes another car turns up and comes right up your ass pushing you along and so it was, John had to speed up  " hang on John slow up" John pulled over, and we let this nitwit fly past, I twisted around to view 4 little blobs in the field?  I think there Golden Plover? Luckily there was a track by the side of the field which got us up close. 

Golden Plover

Golden Plover
The Early bird gets the Worm

4 Golden Plover performed point-blank, pulling earthworms from the soft ground, at this point we would normally have a Werther's and experience a golden moment of caramel

But NO they were in the boot of the car.  

Unbelievable 

Golden Plover 
Look what I've got

These Golden Plover are really Beautifully marked and I could of watched them for ages as they listened for the sound of the earthworms coming from under the soil "fascinating"!  I think they should be nominated for an Oscar for there performance, a magical birding moment. Not a rare bird I know, but it doesn't have too, to be appreciated, Also in the same field a major flock of Sky Lark.

Golden Plover
 listened for the sound of the earthworms

Not done yet we thought there was 4 Common Crane's flying low in the direction of Vista Bella Road, but lost them below the tree line,  we checked along Vista Bella Road but nothing, we were just about to give up, When i thought just one more scan, and there they we're  3 Common Crane looking for somewhere to landed, we relocated them in one of the side roads off the Vista Bella Road. Now the Werther's can come out, and what a sweet moment it was, at last, we found Common Crane.  I still think that we had a group of 4 maybe they've split into two groups?

Common Crane

 Now if we could just connect with Tonn and get a photo, I'll be having a bucket full of Werther's.

On the way home another flooded field this time with 10 Wood Sandpiper, Water pipits Meadow pipits, and full White Wags,

Let's see what next week brings

Have a great weekend

Cheers

Bryan


Tuesday, December 1

Deja Vu



  Ever had a feeling you've been here before

Deja Vu 

San Felipe 30th November

With thoughts that San Felipe could turn up a good Bird.  John, Michelle, and I decided to revisit and give it another go.  It was cold first thing and only 8 degrees and a clear sky.  A Black Wheathear showed as we left GA.

As we drove along I broke the news to John ever so gently, there wasn't a slab of fruit cake for 1st Breakfast, he wasn't happy! 

 A Hoopoe showed at the entrance of San Felipe and a Buzzard perch up in a distant dead tree. The water levels had dropped further and with lots more gloopy mud being exposed. There were more or less the same waders were on show, but lots more in numbers,  It seems the news had got out that there's lashing of mud at San Felipe ( see my previous blog for birds seen )  We had some great views today as there were some very obliging birds.

Dunlin

There was two new Bird on today's list that was absent from last weeks visits a Temminck's Stint,  showed well for a while before moving further out on the mud.

 Temminck's Stint


 Temminck's Stint

And an Osprey which flew over, unfortunately, we didn't notice it till it was too late and was going away,  shame we didn't pick it up earlier.  The Ospery could have been looking for an easy meal of stranded Carp in pools of water left behind.

Volunteer saving Carp

Good numbers of Marsh Harriers, Booted Eagle, and Kestrel. 

 We had a look around at Sante Aguada for Tonn the Great spotted Eagle but no sign of him?

On the pool there 2  Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plover, Bluethroat, Waterpipt,


Ad Male Bluethroat

Juv Bluethoat

We did come across a flooded field full of Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egret also there 4 Wood Sandpipers.


Wood Sandpiper

 Sardinian Warbler

At some point we'll try Sante Aguada again and hopefully, it will turn up something good?

Kingfisher

Stumpy the one legged Ibis
 I've a feeling that Ive seen hop-along before?


Last night Full Beaver Moon

It was almost like daylight with last nights full moon. I bet there was some bird passage happening.

Have a great day

Cheers BT