|Blue Emperor dragonfly Anax imperator|
So, it was somewhat of a relief to be up and out of the house this morning whilst the "family" Sardinian Warbler was feeding outside the kitchen window and make my way down the mountain, past the watching male Common Kestrel on the electricity pylon and so on tot he local Rio Velez. Just, initially, a very short stay so I parked near the pump house and manage to access the beach before the daily arrival of the dog-walkers and nudists; all males in the case of the latter so no excitement there! Very few Rock Doves on arrival but no shortage of Blackbirds moving about and then a very large flock of Spotless Starlings. A single Hoopoe decided to proceed me down the track not sure how he could get away from the car. (He'd obviously been watching too many nature shows and following the strange habits of both fox and rabbit when seeing a car approaching in a steady, straight line!)
|Juvenile Spotted Flycatcher Papamoscas Gris Muscicapa striata|
At the beach all was relatively quiet and the water looked quite inviting with only a couple of anglers and one dog-walker. Not much on the enlarged lagoon other than a Coot and a couple of Black-headed Gulls. A single Reed warbler was feeding in a nearby bush a few metre from the shore and so I crossed to the far bank for a look at the western growing fields. A look over the bank revealed a good-sized roosting flock of mixed gulls. Mainly Audouin's with a few Yellow-legged Gulls but the odd Lesser Black-backed Gull and a small number of Black-headed Gulls on the periphery. Back across the beach and then a walk around the eastern growing fields before regaining the car. First a pair of Crested Larks and then a good number of House Martins feeding over the rough field. Lots of House Sparrows also feeding on the seeding plants and then a handful of Serins, the males still looking most handsome with their lovely yellow breasts. Back at the pump house, three juvenile Spotted Flycatchers were feeding and resting on the fence and then a pair of Red-rumped Swallows were feeding just beyond the bank.
A stop half-way back along the track to check on the Cattle Egret feeding alongside the tethered mules also revealed a White Wagtail, more Serins and a juvenile Blue-headed (Iberian) Wagtail. Finally, a Common Sandpiper just below the bridge to where some of the Rock Doves had returned. Then followed a thirty minute break whilst a I visited a local garage to check on the correct payment for a replaced windscreen. Duty done, it was back to the Rio Velez where I was able to meet up with Mick Richardson who had arrived early and was already a minute in front of me and parking up near the pump house.
|Juvenile Goldfinch Jilguero Carduelis carduelis|
Very much a question of repeating the previous walk but with the addition of an upstream return stroll along the meadow besides the river. First a walk around the pump house to photograph and get closer looks at the family of Spotted Flycatchers seen feeding nearby. A Collared Dove as we walked down to the beach along with a Pallid Swift and, now, we had a few more bathers on site but, pleasingly, no intruders at the edge of the lagoon. First heard and seen a small family party of Zitting Cisticolas. The Reed Warblers were still flitting about. Very little on the main lagoon other than the odd Moorhen and Black-headed Gull but there was a good size flock of gulls following the fishing boats not so far off the shore. First Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls before, using his scope for both our benefits, Mick was able to pick up a couple of Gannets and then a Balearic Shearwater. No sooner seen than we were both able to record a pair of Cory's Shearwaters.
Walking around the eastern growing fields we had first a single Greenfinch and then more House Sparrows and Crested Larks. No sooner suggested just before returning to the pump house than we managed to find at least four Short-toed Larks, always a lovely bird to see. Back at the pump house Mick went to find the flycatchers seen when we first arrived whilst I walked round on the sea side of the compound and had, first, a female Sardinian Warbler on the fence corner quickly followed by extremely close views of one of the juvenile Spotted Flycatchers.
|Females and male Common Waxbills Pico de Coral Estrilda astrild|
The return walk alongside the river was very productive. No sooner had we found a small family party of Goldfinches than a handful of Common Waxbills passed over, settling on a small bush not too far in front. What beautiful colouring on the males with their very red breasts. On the river itself, a party of Mallards to the left and the single Cattle Egret had now been joined by three others and at least eight passed over above us. A screeching Monk Parakeet let us know that he was also present, resting on the wires, and then a second juvenile Woodchat Shrike posing on top of a bamboo shoot. Whilst watching the Barn Swallows and House Martins feeding over the river we had a very surprising fly-past of a single Sand Martin; that was unexpected! On the far side of the river, not only a juvenile White Wagtail but a pair of Little Ringed Plovers and, at last, the sight of a Cetti's Warbler to complement the noisy songs that had been previously heard.
|A very inquisitive juvenile Woodchat Shrike Alcaudon Comun Lanius senator|
But not only birds were seen on this walk. Not many but there were some dragonflies including Blue Emperor, Lesser Emperor, Black Percher and Broad Scarlet. No doubt Mick will fill me in on the missing species!
|Blue Emperor dragonfly Anax imperator|
So, even in ever-increasing temperatures it is possible to find some birds and we finally ended up with the not insignificant total of almost 40 species. A great morning spent in very pleasant company.
|Broad Scarlet dragonfly Crocothemis erythraea|
|Not very sharp Black Percher dragonfly Diplacodes lefebvrii|
|Clouded Yellow butterfly Colias crocea|
|Clouded Yellow butterfly Colias croceus|
Birds seen at the Rio Velez:
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