|Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada (Hieraeatus pennatus) PHOTO: Gerry Collins, Salobrena|
Crossing the footbridge we had a good sighting of a slowly departing Great White Egret on the distant bend upstream and soon we were aware of the large number of low-flying and feeding Crag Martins. There was also a single Grey Wagtail at the river's edge just our side of the motorway bridge. However, to add a little flavour, we also had 3 Barn Swallows and a very early House Martin. By now, as we made our way across to the eastern arm, we were also conscious of the numerous Stonechats and Zitting Cisticola to be seen and, especially, the great number of Chiffchaff. By the time we reached the Laguna Casillas, we had also added Spotless Starling.
This first pool contained manly Pochard plus at least a handful of White-headed Duck, a pair of Mallard and a few Coot. Then, 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Meadow Pipit and an over-flying Cattle Egret. Still lots of passerines in the bushes but by the time we had reached the Wader Pool, we had also recorded Little Grebe, Kestrel and Greenfinch. The nearby area was full of Goldfinches plus a small number of Sardinian Warblers whilst, in the trees and posts opposite, there were numerous resting Cormorants. Finally, perched on the edge of a not-too-distant tree, a rather handsome Buzzard was taking a well-deserved rest.
The area near the beach and Sea Watch proved to be very productive. On the river side we had Crested Lark, White Wagtails and House Sparrows with more Zitting Cisticola on the western side behind us. Also here we managed to find at least 2 Reed Buntings in the "scrap heaps" of dry wood near the old river, Rio Viejo. However, perseverance produced a pair of Whimbrel and then a couple of Kentish Plover. Out at sea, given that all the near-by gulls had been of the Black-headed variety, a small number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A little further out, to both right and left respectively, rafts of 7 and 5 Common Scoter. Before the return walk we also had a party of 10 Whimbrels pass overhead which may or may not have included our pair. Next, a couple of beautiful Black Redstarts and then, once more, our Booted Eagle. (Indeed, we were to have an even better and closer view as we made our final walk towards the footbridge and exit.) Meanwhile, we had a lovely view of a preening female Kestrel on one of the beach posts and then, with the scope, a good shot of a male Peregrine Falcon at the very top of the large chimney near the port.
|Purple Heron Garza Imperial (Ardea purpurea) PHOTO: Gerry Collins, Salobrena|
By now it was very warm; we were, I think, all tired and ready for some sustenance so we made our final way back to the cars, bidding farewell to Ellie who was going to check out the western river mouth. Given the weather six hours previously, a most rewarding and satisfactory morning. No camera today so I await anything that Gerry might have captured to update this account with a picture or two.
Mallard, Pochard, Common Scoter, White-headed Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Moorhen, Coot, Kentish Plover, Whimbrel, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Serin and Reed Bunting.