Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tuesday, 19th June 2012 – Birding locally

In general things are pretty quiet locally, but as the afternoon was not quite as hot as it has been recently, I thought I’d have a look around at some of the local areas to see if there was anything about.  I started at 6p.m. at Cabo de Palos, having a look over the Mediterranean, but after 10 minutes of seeing absolutely nothing, I gave that up and had a wander around the clifftops and lighthouse garden.

On the clifftops I specifically wanted to see if the small colony of Common Terns were around again this year on a small island just off the cliffs (in previous years there have been up to 10 pairs), but there was not a sign of any birds.

Walking through the lighthouse garden area, it was again very quiet – apart from numerous House Sparrows, the only other birds seen being a few Collared Doves, 2 Linnets, 4 Swallows and 2 Red-rumped Swallows, and I heard a single Blackbird singing some distance off.

From here I went to have a look at the Salinas at Marchamalo, starting on the La Manga side (below the go-kart track).  There has obviously been some effort to fill some of the lagoons with water, but the overall aspect of the Salinas is still pretty sad.  Driving past the two lagoons that now do have some water in, there was not a sign of a bird, or in any other of the dry lagoons.

I went from here round to the other (Playa Paraiso) side of the Salinas, but here too all the lagoons were dry and birdless, apart from a few House Sparrows along the fence.

I wasn’t sure whether to go straight home from here, but decided in the end that as I was having a look around my local sites, I should have a look at Calblanque first.

Calblanque, Los Belones
Weather: Sky 4/8 hazy cloud, very humid, wind NE F1-2; temp.28ºC.  19:00 – 20:30.

I started at the old Salinas (Salinas de Rasall), but there were no birds on there at all and very little water.  I then drove down to the Cabo de Palos end of Calblanque, but apart from a couple of Crested Larks heard, again there was nothing.  Finally I went to the hides’ area of the Salinas, where there was plenty of water.  Here I saw a pair of Kentish Plover, and a pair of Shelduck with at least nine well grown ducklings.  There were also a couple of Green Sandpipers, presumably the first returning migrants, and a pair of Stone Curlews flew over.  On the fence of the Salinas were 4 Bee-eaters, and on a nearby fig tree, a group of around 70 Spotless Starlings. As it got later, more and more Swifts and Pallid Swifts started flying around the pools, presumably feeding on the mosquitoes of which there were more than a few.

Part of the group of Spotless Starlings seen on a fig tree

 A Bee-eater settled on some bushes at the side of the track

But once it saw that I'd stopped, it was off

Leaving at about 8-15, on the way back home I came across a Little Owl sitting out in the open on top of a broken stone wall.

On my way out of Calblanque, I came across this Little Owl keeping an eye on me

Species seen/heard
Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Swift (Apus apus)
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Serin (Serinus serinus)

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