Thursday, April 15

Mountains or Salinas


Wednesday 14th April 


Hi there hope you're having a good day

Today a toss-up,

Rain is threatening in the mountain so do we stay safe and take the easy option and look at the coastal areas and the Salinas, or do we go mountains?

And so the vote was the mountains and the speciality birds that the mountains could offer and also explore the some other areas we've missed out in previous visits.

It was cloudy and a fresh wind at only 14 degrees, and it didn't rise above that all day until we returned to the coast

There was only one moment during our morning but a moment. And guess what we forgot the Werther's sweets?

"Unbelievable"

Not a rare bird but a great bird to connect with at this time of the year when in full summer plumage.  Black-eared Wheatear is a stunning bird, we saw 3 or 4 of them today but this particular bird was exceptional and very showy individual.



Black-eared Wheatear


Black-eared Wheatear

Amazing views, and  point blank

Black-eared Wheatear

1st breakfast had come and gone, the slab of banana bread didn't go down too well today, I made spiced banana bread flavoured with a large spoonful of Curry powder, anyway, 2nd breakfast followed rather quickly to wash away the lingering afterburn of the spicy curried banana bread.

Not so many birds today and not much banter going on either, as no one had any sense of feeling on there tongue, the curried banana bread was to blame.

Peregrine Falcon, Blue rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Chough, Rock Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Bonellis Warbler, Red-legged Partridge and a good case for Thekla's lark.

There's so much more to Montnegra than just the main track.

Have fun

Cheers Bryan


Wednesday, April 7

The Hidden Valleys of Montnegra

 There


Good morning everybody

Today was a day to explore some of the hidden parts of the valley of Montnegra.

On route, John said "hey look over there" that track goes on a long way "I've never noticed it before" I said let's go then, and so off we toddled down the track not getting very far, as there was a gulp of Sand Martin probably 50+ birds, many of them landing and picking up nesting material, it was good to see their aerobatic display, just above our heads. Better than the RAF Red Arrow display team.

Sand Martin

 At that same moment Gareth called Raptor I didn't get on it too good and the bird had already gone over and was going away, I struggled with an ID? But my attention was drawn away by the call of Spectacled Warbler which eventually done the business and perched up nicely for a photo, at least 3,+ birds were calling, I like it when a plan comes together. (A new bird for Gareth)

Spectacled Warbler

 We followed the track until we reached a hidden village and a stream at the bottom of the ravine where there was plenty of Nightingales in full song, we then had to retrace our route. And so back to the mystery Raptor we went through it again eliminating what it wasn't and still we weren't happy but Gareth solved the Raptor mystery it was, of course, a Black Kite. Well done that man!

Back on track and first breakfast was calling, a slab of Trish's fruit cake, a freshly brewed cup of tea and you've guessed it a Western Bonelli's Warbler flicking around in the pine tree opposite the car, this is easy birding, and I'm so glad that my birding buddies are there to share with me these birding moments, it wouldn't be the same if I were a solo birder, with no one to share those moments with, also the banter, and the joking around and of course the birds. A major part of birding is getting your amigos. to see the birds. (well it is for me!)
Next up The Trump's,

Adult male Trumpeter Finch

Wow Amazing
This was a major birding event, it lasted only 7 seconds but what crazy birding behaviour, today we watched the Adult male Trumpeter exchanging food, part of their courtship display, I guess, it was a special moment, I wonder who else has ever witnessed this let alone photograph it. 2 weeks ago there was a different male jumping around like Michael Flatley from Riverdance which was also amazing.

 Trumpeter Finch

"Unbelievable"

 Trumpeter Finch
Talk about tongues down the throat, this was full-on birding porn xxx. Our knowledge continues to grow about the Trump Family and we are a little closer to finding their nesting sites and preferred habitat.
And now after 6 years of research following the Trumps, through the seasons, we have a more complete picture of their movement, migration, diet and habitat, we believe there could be up to twenty pairs scattered around the mountains and ravines in different locations around the rear of Alicante.

It must be Love
Trumpeter Finch

Next up Subalpine Warbler

This bird was difficult to see let alone get a photo, always in the shadows and the thickest part of the bush, we all managed some decent views in the end. And I have a crap series of photos.
A nightmare.

 Subalpine Warbler

We didn't venture much further than the village of Montnegra as time was getting on, so we turn back. Gareth spotted 2 Black-eared Wheatears (male and female) and further on down the track another three males.

 Black-eared Wheatear

A revisit to the Trumps for a tea break and watch in which direction the Trump headed off.

We seem to be on a roll, almost every time we stopped something good popped out. I've Not mentioned every single bird seen, just some of the more interesting birds and those moments which make for a great day birding.

Thanks to my amigos, none of this research would be possible without you. 

You know who you are but thank you so much for your time and effort.

Have a great day

And after all today's birding, I arrived home and the resident Black Wheatear was on my neighbour's roof, I couldn't resist just one more photo.

Black Wheatear

I must give credit to Mike Smith, (who I knew well) And one of the original members of the CBBC, we have a lot to thank him for. Historically mike confirmed there presence of Trumpeters Finch at Montnegra, Trumpeter Finch are rare and are very often claimed but I would be sceptical of other sightings without photographic evidence or a supportive report.

Trumpeter Finch
Mike Smith 
2005?
A guess or before

Cheers BT

Tuesday, April 6

Lo Monte and Benejuzar




Yesterday 5th of April

We officially  have a new member of the NBBC  Michelle Edwards who forgot her bins this morning

"unbeliveable" 

Lo Monte

Extended birding morning at lo Monte, it was good for a small reserve, male little Bittens chased the females around, the first highlight of the day an energetic Moustached Warbler showed on and off, disappeared and reappeared in another area for 15 minutes, difficult to get a clear photo as it sneaked in and out the reeds.

 Moustached Warbler

 White-headed Duck and Common Pochard, Little Grebe, and Great-crested Grebe pass by the hide. We had some amazing views especially the Great-crested Grebe in his full summer plumage.

Great-crested Grebe

The second Hi-light of the day was a Gargarny Duck which dropped in for a minute or two before returning to the other pool.

Gargarny

 Lots of other small birds like Greenfinch Reed Bunting, linnet, Serin.

Greenfinch

Benejuzar

We birded for an hour or so along the river, the bank we heard our first Cuckoo of the year and later on a proper view of this Cuckoo who whizzed around our heads displaying and calling "magnificent" 
Quite a few Nightingale singing and at least 2 Melodious Warblers and the Same in number for Woodchat Shrike,

Cuckoo

Missed photo opportunity of the day A Iberian Green Woodpecker which was perched on the wooden post by the side of the track at a few meters.

Little Grebe,


Cheers 
Bryan

Wednesday, March 31

Woodlark Central





Today a quick sprint up the motorway and a mornings birding at Maigmo Mountain not surprisingly Woodlarks we're putting on a show, we've now renamed Maigmo Mountain to Woodlark Central, plenty Woodlarks showing off, and many more heard. All the Tits seen with one exception Blue Tit, 3 Rock Bunting showed well at the balcony of Alicante also on the way up a few Tree Creepers.

Woodlark

Other birds seen probable Peregrin Falcon gone too quickly, a pair of Ravens, Blackcaps, Crossbills, Mistle Thrush,

 Rock Bunting

2 Rock Bunting

The birding Moment of the day came in the form of a rather small bird but incredibly stylish Kinglet or Firecrest, The head crest, orange in the male and yellow in the female.

Male Firecrest 



Male Firecrest 

When displayed and during breeding, the orangey crown strip becoming more prominent and wedged-shaped.  This Firecrest looked like a punk rocker with an orange Mohican hairstyle. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get any sharp images of this Firecrest mainly because it was in the shade and flitting around like Lewis Hamilton, so just a few shots but more than good enough to explain what I'm referring to

 Female Firecrest 


Rock Bunting

The other Firecrest's that were around all had the thin crown Strip, so this particular bird must be a breeding male, and the others were females.
Interesting! Gareth spotted Red Squirrel close to the Firecrest.  Red Squirrel are known to rob the eggs of Firecrest?

Sardinian  Warbler

This bird have been coming to my garden for days
Have a Happy Easter don't overdo it
let you know next week what we've been up too
NBBC

.
Cheers  
Bryan

Sunday, March 28

Water levels



I had to cancel our birding travels this week due to other commitments but had a spare hour and went down El Clot.

Bit of a disappointment, most Ducks have gone? With Coot being the predominant species, no Gadwall, Fudge Duck, Widgeon.  A few Marbled Teal, Shoverlers, Red-crested Pochard still there, White-headed Duck numbers are well down as well as Pochard.

 Red-crested Pochard 


Lots of hirundines going over and a few pair up Great-crested, Black-necked, and Little Grebe, and the Male Marsh Harrier.

But the water levels are now good should be enough to see them through the summer?

And yesterday the 4 amigos returned to Montnegra everything very much the same as previous week, not a big species list but there again it's never is,  it's about quality birds, and how they showed-off today

Even before we got to the Finch site they were there waiting and another Oscar-winning performance in their very smart plumage. One Trumpeter Finch was reacting to another bird calling close by and started a courtship dance/ display.  I've never seen this behaviour before almost like break dancing for birds. It was mesmerising 


Trumpeter Finch

Trumpeter Finch

Our next nominee was a Sub Alpine Warbler which gave us the runner round for a while but Gareth managed to be in the right place for the best views.

A Melodious Warbler didn't want to show and was very hard to see, with only a brief glimpse.  We follow some new tracks which looks promising for another time.  Today it turns up a new bird for Gareth and closes eye-level views of a Crossbill.

Crossbill.

The next star on the red carpet was Dartford Warbler which gave prolonged views "brilliant" yet again what a show.

Dartford Warbler 

Other birds seen Red-rumped Swallow and a few Blue rock Thrush.

Not a big list but a good mornings birding.

Dartford Warbler 

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan


Tuesday, March 23

Photographic Species Guide for Spain,

Hi there everybody

 I'm just started to compile a photographic species guide to birds of Spain, all images are taken by myself and my own from my library catalogue.

Nothing copied, scanned,  downloaded, or stolen.

 major work in progress,

Look on the right-hand sidebar and click the link to view and arrow back to return to main menu.

 and to follow on  butterflies, dragonflies, and insects,

Two-tailed pasta


Cheers 
Bryan

Wednesday, March 17

Ta-Dar



I said to Gareth some days ago we'd smash it sooner or later? 

( Birding that is ) and today we did just that.

I've booked a dental appointment as soon as I got back home,  more or less to be on the side of caution as think my teeth might be starting to decay.

Because today I must have sucked my way through at least half a packet of Werther's Original caramel moments in a celebration of our birding moments throughout the day.

The plan, to visit the valley of Montnegra and Maigmo Mountian and see just what's going on there.


Montnegra

Slowish start with Rock Sparrow, Chough, Blue rock Thrush, Southern Grey Shrike, the odd Swallow,  Crag Martin, and Black Cap, heard only Black-eared Wheatear?

First breakfast was calling, so we headed for the Trumpeter Finch site and slab of Lemon Drizzle cake and a cupper. I thought it might be a bit too early for the Trumpets (maybe they've not arrived yet?) and from over the rock face came to a stunning Bonelli's Eagle it came right over us, I watch it and then cursed as I should have been taking photos as glided over our heads, anyway I didn't get any photos, but seconds later I flushed 2 Trumpeter Finches which sneaked in while we watched the Bonellis Eagle, I cursed some more.

 "unbelievable"

You couldn't write it, could you? 2 good birds in as many minutes and not one photo.

John managed to get on the 2 Trumpets, as the flew away to the far side of the valley, I was starting to question my self as it was only a quick glimpse, but I did hear the call. So we waited and it wasn't long,  sure enough, 3 birds dropped in 1 male 2 female, Magic and out came the sweets again.  Ta-dar Happy days!

Trumpeter Finch
male


Female Trumpeter Finch
or none breeding male

Further up the track John and I heard a Great-spotted Cuckoo, not content with one bird Gareth spotted a second, "brilliant" as they chased each other around the pines.  I was getting a bit fed up with these sweets by now, my 5th of the day so far.  Another Blue rock Thrush on the roofs in the village of Montnegra. A pair of Dartford Warbler performed well, they can be a difficult bird sometimes they just don't show well,  but not this pair, out pop the bag of sweets again.

And to finish off our visit Montnegra  8 Griffon Vultures.

Happy so far with how the day progressing and a few lifers for Gareth can't be bad.

Maigmo

It was now about 1 o'clock which meant we'd spent 4 hours in the valley.  Our first birds for Maigmo  Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Sardinian Warbler, followed by Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, heard only Crossbill,


Crested Tit

Star Bird for Maigmo was Woodlark and what a performer this little bird turned out to be, larking about with us, perching up in tree to tree, an absolute stunner and another celebration sweet, and another new bird for Gareth.

Woodlark 

Woodlark 

Woodlark 

 2nd breakfast at the top with welsh cakes and probable Golden Eagle it was a long way off but couldn't make it into anything else.

A mega days birding and with the welsh cakes Gareth brought along it was bliss, and good to see some different birds.

I've not mention ever bird seen but to days species total. 40

More rain tomorrow yippee

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan


Tuesday, March 16

The Clot De Galvany


A Mornings Birding at El Clot with John and Michelle 

There are fewer birds at the Clot today,  No sign of any Widgeon or Fudge Ducks, not even any Marsh Harriers.  It could be these birds have moved on? Or be on one of the other lakes that we have no access to view.  Shoveler and Pochard number are lower.  In good numbers, are Marbled Duck, Gadwall, White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard.  

Red-crested Pochard

Black-necked and Little Grebe's almost full summer plumage. An abundance of Sardinian Warblers, showing off from the top of every other bush.

Sardinian Warbler


  The only other thing of note is the Coot population it's always been healthy at the Clot,  but today it's gone mega, I'm not sure where all these birds have come from I'm guessing there on migration Or a partial migration?

Marlbed Duck

Not so many Hirundines  just a few Swallows

Other birds seen Little Bitten, European common Snipe, heard only Penduline Tit, Cetti's Warbler,  Stone Curlew,  Iberian Green Woodpecker.

Water levels are better after last weeks of soaking.

Cheers Bryan


Sunday, March 14

Very funny clip fermented fish



Good morning

I found this on Facebook

It's about the fermented fish challenge for those who don't know about this, we would use gallons and gallons of this stuff, purified fish called chum to entice the seabirds to the boat, the sea birds love it.  It's now been renamed as fermented fish? Probably the worst smell that's ever had the pleasure to go up my nostrils,  as soon as the lids came off the 25-litre containers it would start to make a few people on board the boat sick, and with the added motion of the boat it all most guaranteed people would be throwing up.

For me, I hated the smell and made me feel very queasy, but it does bring the sea birds to the Boat my old friend and Skipper of the MV Sapphire wouldn't think twice about using it

But anyway it's a funny clip

It really is the worst smell ever

Click the link below

Fermented fish (Chum)

Have a good  one

Cheers Bryan




Saturday, March 13

Music video's covers Micheal Buble Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Steely Dan,



Hi, if you've read my profile you'd of noticed that I've been a musician, singer, performer, for almost all my life.  I've had a lot of comments through by blog pages and also from emails to upload some of my music performances. So here you go?  These songs we're recorded live for a local Bar and their internet web site during the lockdown April 2020

Click the link below to watch

Steely Dan

Black Cow

Micheal Buble

Such a Night, 

And also this song from 

Rod Stewart

Swonderful

Ray Charles

 Unchain my Heart

Have a great weekend

Thank you so much for taking the time to watch

It means a lot 

Thanks 

Cheers 

Bryan


One year on since lock down



Well, here we all are one year on since the Covid 19  and our Spanish lockdown. So what changed. Well, nothing really the Virus hasn't gone anywhere. We do now have a vaccine but God knows when it will be available,  we're miles behind the UK. so I  guess it more of the same not mixing outside your bubble and being careful.  I can't see many tourists being allowed to visit Spain shortly. And the covid tests cost @€100 per test each way, even if you've had the jab, hopefully, I'm wrong about that, it's been a tough time for everybody but especially the entertainment industry and the bars and restaurants they could do with a few holidaymakers.

Birding  2020 was difficult, as we were not allowed out for anything except supermarket, doctors and rubbish bin, we missed the best part of the spring migration last year due to restrictions, and we the NBBC are so looking forward to going to other sites this year And seeing/ finding a few different birds.

I've copied my blog from this day last year 

Saturday 13th March 2020

 Lock Down

Well, I made it back to Spain on Saturday, by the skin of my teeth before they shut the border.  The Rugby was cancelled, why oh why didn't WRU  cancel some days before???


 All the Scotts had already travelled to Cardiff???  Bus's had already arrived Full of our Celtic Mates. The Bar, Pubs and Hotels in Cardiff were full with the welsh and Scotts fans enjoying themselves.  So what did it achieve Cancelling the game?  well it probably saved lives,  the game should have been cancelled days and days before and stop everybody travelling too Cardiff
A Right Cock up.
Good job, WRU.



  Since the lockdown started in Spain, nobody's able to get in or out of our province more or less you can't go anywhere, just to the Supermarkets, walk the dog, (I don't have one) or go to the Rubbish bins, Doctors or Farmacia.


GRAN ALACANT  is like a ghost town and everything is shut down.   The police are enforcing strict movement ( and are handing out fines for people not obeying the rules ) It looks like no birding for months, except for what I hear or flies over's close to my casa.



The latest news, it looks it could be August before it levels out? ITS now the UK's TURN TO BE LOCKDOWN. GET PREPARED it's not nice, Italy is on the front line and they have been warning of what's to come for us in Spain and the UK.
With 200.000 UK Deaths Predicted, IT getting Scary.
GOOD LUCK 
EVERYBODY
BT


Thursday, March 11

Latest Sightings



Wednesday 10th of March 

Hi there and good morning

Well, yesterday we had a look around our route around the Salinas of Santa Pola, and inland later we do this route quite often, it's stupid to drive past without having to look.  we cross the N332, 1st stop  36 very smart  full Sumner plumage Mediterranean, Gulls, Audouin's, Slender bills, lesser b backed, Black-heads,  Sandwich Tern, Spoonbills 5+ and 5 Great White Egret,   A distant Osprey hovered

A quick pull in at El Pinet didn't produce much as the water levels are were high the highlight there was 2 Stone Curlew.

Inland

At the back of La Marine our 1st Little Owl for a long time, a Booted Eagle drifted over high up into the sun which made ID difficult and a Buzzard perched up,  and then on to Palm farm Road and a tea stop,  the brown and crunchy welsh cakes supplied by Gareth were scoffed up while watching 75 + House Martins and the odd Swallows drift by. The welsh cakes remind me of Rugby, Sheep and one Wellington boot?


Ruff

This photo is the closest I have to the plumage of our latest bird
Date: 15/04/2018  Model: Canon EOS 5D

Through the agricultural area, we heard several Corn Bunting and eventually managed to pick out a bird,  our route took us towards Sante Aquada we came across a flood area and our star bird of the day an almost summer plumage Ruff,  we don't get to see them that often in this plumage it catches you out as your not expecting to see them like this, Nice bird shame we couldn't get closer. By the time he reaches the breeding grounds, he probably will be in full breeding plumage.

Ruff


Ruff

And despite our efforts to connect with our target bird a Great-spotted Cuckoo we failed so it'll have to wait for another day

Springs arrived and the sun is here

Avocet

Other Waders seen today Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Avocet,  Ruff, little stint, Black-tailed Godwit 25+ and a few kingfishers.

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan