Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Monday, 30th April 2012

Marchamalo Salinas (La Manga)
Weather: Sky 4/8 cloud, wind SW F4 - 5, temp. 15ºC.  08:30 – 10:00
                                                                                           17:25 – 18:00 (temp. 18º).

The bird that’s on the mind of many European birdwatchers at the moment is a small black and white passerine, the Atlas (Pied) Flycatcher (Ficedula speculigera) which has been reported from several places in Europe over the last few days, and it was this that caused me to not get as far as the lighthouse garden this morning.  Yesterday I reported that I had seen a couple of Pied Flycatchers in the area of mimosas at the Marchamalo Salinas, a male and a female, and I even had a bad photo of the male.  I remember thinking as I deleted the photo, that it seemed to have an exceptionally large single white spot over the bill (I normally think of the two white spots being like a pair of small white nostrils over the bill), and having read what had been written on these sightings, I thought that I should have another look for and at the bird I’d seen last night. 
I spent an hour and a half searching for the bird, but of course couldn’t re-locate it (birds this spring seem to very rarely hang around for more than a day – I think it has to do with the lack of lying water – if they can’t drink, they don’t hang around).

I returned in the afternoon, and there were 6 Spotted Flycatchers along the fence area, but the only other birds of note seen were a single Turtle Dove and an Iberian Wagtail, and a steady passage of Common Swifts overhead.

Cabo de Palos lighthouse garden.
Weather: Sky 6/8 cloud, wind SW F4-5, temp. 18ºC.  18:05 – 19:35.

As I walked into the lighthouse garden there were again 3 Spotted Flycatchers together and a female Pied Flycatcher (this is definitely the flycatchers favourite area), and by the time I’d finished my walk around the whole area, I’d seen a total of 9 Spotted Flycatchers, another (male) Pied? Flycatcher, 3 Willow Warblers, a single Redstart, male Whinchat and a couple of Woodchats.  Obviously another small arrival today.  Of these the most interesting was the Pied Flycatcher – obviously a first year bird (from the brown rather than black primaries), it had a large single white spot over the bill and a lot of white in the wing.  I attach the few photos that I managed to take of it – what do you think?  A Pied Flycatcher of the iberiae subspecies, which show more white on the head and wings, or something more exciting?  (Personally I think just a Pied).

Willow Warbler - they still keep trickling through

Not too many Whinchats seen here this year

 And on to the flycatcher

Answers on a postcard please...

Species seen/heard
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Rock Dove/Domestic Pigeon (Columba livia)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)
‘flava’ Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)
Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Serin (Serinus serinus)

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