Thursday, 1 March 2012

Wednesday, 29th February 2012

EDAR, El Algar, Cartagena
Weather: Sky no cloud, wind SW F1, temp. 17ºC. 15:00 to 15:10.
The disused EDAR (sewage farm) was dry as expected. However, there are a couple of farm pools next to the EDAR and some other type of water deposit, all of which held water. The water in the water deposit, which is walled all the way round, had a few inches of water, and is where the waders are normally to be found, so I approached it quietly and was surprised to find a small flock of 10 Lapwing roosting in it, together with 12 Black Winged Stilts.
On the farm reservoirs were various ducks (11 Shelduck, 56 Mallard and 12 Shoveler) while overhead a light phase Booted Eagle was circling. Also over the reservoirs was a group of hirundines, consisting of 12 Crag Martins and 4 House Martins, only my second sighting of House Martin in the region of Murcia this year.
In the distance were 3 Marsh Harrier (female type), soaring on the thermals.
Pale phase Booted Eagle soaring over the farm reservoir
Part of the flock of ten Lapwing
Species seen
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Coot (Fulica atra)

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Black Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)

Crag Martin
(Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis)
Rambla de Albujon, Cartagena
Weather: Sky no cloud, wind SW F1, temp.17ºC. 15:30 to 16:30.
My next stop was the Rambla de Albujon to see if there were any migrants around, but the only bird of note was the Spotted Crake, wandering around the puddles of water at the edge of the reedbed.
The Spotted Crake, still showing well out in the open

Los Urrutias club nautico, Cartagena
Weather: Sky no cloud, wind SW F1, temp. 17ºC. 16:45 to 16:55.
The ‘club nautico’ (sailing club) is at the end of a bridge which normally has water underneath it, being part of the Mar Menor. However at this time of the year, the water level is very low and the area is very shallow, or sometimes even dry. It is a good place for waders, gulls, terns and herons.
Today I had an exceptional number of Little Egrets for this small area (normally 3 or 4, today 18). The Great White Egret that has been around since the beginning of the year was also to be seen. Other birds were Black-headed Gull (16), Slender-billed Gull (4), Sandwich Tern (1), Greenshank (8) and Redshank (1).
Great White and Little Egrets feeding at the edge of the beach

Salinas de Rasall, Calblanque, Cartagena
Weather: Sky 1/8 cloud, wind SW F1, temp. 17ºC. 17:10 to 18:30.
My last stop of the day was at the dis-used Salinas of Rasall at Calblanque. My main reason for going was to count the Audouins Gulls, and read any rings that I could (being late in the day, the light would be against me, but the heat haze should have dropped a bit making ring-reading easier than in the middle of the day).
On the way to the Salinas, I had a single Lapwing on a ploughed field (there seems to have been quite an influx of these over the last week or so – normally I’m lucky to have one or two sightings per year locally!).
At the Salinas I counted 533 Audouins Gulls, mainly adults, 8 Yellow Legged Gulls and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull. I also managed to read 35 colour rings on the Audouins, the majority of which were originally ringed at the Delta del Ebro in Tarragona (Catalunya).
From the Salinas, driving to the eastern end of the track, I found a couple of Black Wheatear sat on top of an abandoned building – a fine finish to the day.
Species seen
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa chloris)

Audouin’s Gull
(Larus audouinii)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)

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