Monday, 7 May 2012

Sunday 6th May 2012 –Cabo de Palos lighthouse garden & Marchamalo Salinas

Cabo de Palos lighthouse garden
Weather: Sky 2/8 cloud, wind NW F1; 18º, with an early morning rain shower.  09:10 – 11:10
At the lighthouse gardens this morning, there had obviously been an influx of Spotted Flycatchers.  Doing my normal route, I counted in total 19 of these birds, 'chucking' away from the tops of fences and bushes.  With them just a single female Pied Flycatcher.  Over the area of gardens close to the cliffs, I had a group of 5 Red-rumped Swallows flying around chasing insects.  Apart from these, migrants were in fairly short supply – 2 Melodious Warbler, a Northern Wheatear, a single Woodchat, 5 Willow Warblers and 2 male Common Whitethroats, one of which burst into song.  There was a constant passage of Common Swifts overhead together with a few Swallows, but the bird of the morning was undoubtedly the adult Magpie that I saw, diving into low bushes (presumably looking for nests).  This is the first time I’ve seen on of these here – generally around the Mar Menor they are very scarce, the only place to see them with any regularity being Carmoli (near Los Urrutias) at the western end of the Mar Menor.

The commonest passerine migrant (apart from Swallow), Spotted Flycatcher

 And just a single (female) Pied Flycatcher

Aonther singleton, this female Northern Whitethroat

One of a group of five Red-rumped Swallows

Not strictly speaking a migrant (although it may have been on passage), Little Egret

And the surprise bird of the day, Magpie

Marchamalo Salinas
Weather: Sky 1/8 cloud, wind SW F1; 20º.  11:25 – 12:55

From the lighthouse gardens I went round to the wooded area at the Salinas of Marchamalo.  Here were more of the same, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pieds (male & female), 2 Woodchats, 2 Willow Warblers and a single Bonelli’s Warbler.  Also to my surprise, another Magpie seen very briefly as it dived into cover, but I could hear it constantly while I was there.
This tired looking Spotted Flycatcher was busy catching insects

Record shot of the male Pied Flycatcher, as always deep in shadow
Waders on the lagoons were 19 Avocet, 14 Redshank, 6 Kentish and 5 Ringed Plovers, and a single Common Sandpiper.  There was also a group of 18 Slender-billed Gulls and 2 Audouins feeding on the dead fish in the lagoon (now that the level of water is going down so much, most of the fish are dying, presumably due to lack of oxygen in the water).

On the salinas themselves, various Slender-billed Gulls

Including this first year bird - note the pale eye and orange bill

Part of the group of Common Redshanks feeding in a lagoon

Another passing visitor, Ringed Plover

And a Black Winged Stilt which will probably breed locally

Round at the Playa Paraiso side of the Salinas, the group of 6 Greater Flamingos remained, and I was able to read a colour ring on one of the adults.  Also there, 38 Shelduck, 15 more Avocet, 5 Black Winged Stilts, 7 Curlew Sandpipers, 14 Little Stint, 2 more Ringed and a dozen Kentish Plovers.  Also a single Common Sandpiper and a single Little Tern.

One of the group of Little Stints

The Common Sandpiper feeding on the same lagoon

And a female Iberian Wagtail feeding along the edge of the water
Species seen/heard
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Black Winged Stilt (Himantopus Himantopus)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Redshank (Tringa tetanus)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Little Tern (Sternula albifrons)
Rock Dove/Domestic Pigeon (Columba livia)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Swift (Apus apus)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Iberian Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiae)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Bonelli’s Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Magpie (Pica pica)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Serin (Serinus serinus)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

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