Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sunday, 8th July 2012 – San Pedro del Pinatar salinas, Murcia – they’re on their way back

Weather: Sky 2/8 hazy cloud, no wind, temp. 29ºC.  10:15 – 11:45

I thought it might be worthwhile today to have a look at the salinas at San Pedro, as normally around this time the return passage for waders and gulls begins.  I started at the artificial pool down by the marina, but apart from some Yellow-legged Gulls and a single male Stonechat, there was nothing around there.

Working my way back to the information centre, I just checked out the pools on either side of the main road.  Here there were birds to be seen.  Apart from Sand Martins (adults and young presumably just out of their burrows) perched on some twigs in the water and also flying around, most noticeable was a group of 520+ Greater Flamingos, including two ringed birds whose rings I could read.  Although I don’t know yet exactly where they were from, one of the rings was white lettering on a blue background which is a bird ringed in Italy.

One of the juvenile Sand Martins - note the tail still growing

 And an adult

A few of the Greater Flamingos were unusually stood on the banks of the pools

On one of the pools on the other side of the road, perched on posts in the middle of the pool I counted 19 adult Black Terns still in breeding plumage – the first of this species that I’ve seen in Murcia this year.  Other terns seen were 4 Common, 8 Gull-billed flying over with food in their bills, and around 50 Littles. The Little Terns are the breeding colony that breeds on top of the mud walls separating the different pools, and many of them were flying juveniles.  Other juveniles on the same walls were juvenile Avocets and Kentish Plovers.

A mix of the breeding birds, Little Terns, Avocets and Kentish Plovers

A couple of the juvenile Little Terns

A record shot.  The black dots on some of the posts in the distance are Black Terns

Working my way back to the first pools, there were many Shelduck, some with broods of young, 2 Great Crested Grebes, many Black Winged Stilts, a Grey Heron, 12 Little Egrets, a group of 19 Black-tailed Godwits, a single Common Redshank and a superb Spotted Redshank in full breeding plumage (unfortunately too distant to photograph).  Also at the far end of the pools a group of gulls including around 20 Black-headed Gulls, 6 Slender-billed Gulls and a single 1st summer Mediterranean Gull.  I also had an adult Audouin’s Gull fly over.

A couple of shots of one of the Black-tailed Godwits

Crossing over to the information centre, I asked for the keys to have a look at the pools in the gardens there, but these were very sad looking – obviously no water has been pumped in there for some time, and the whole area is almost dry with just a small single pool in the centre that had a couple of Black-winged Stilts in it.

Species seen/heard
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Black Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Gull-billed Tern  (Sterna nilotica)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
Swift (Apus apus)
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)
Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Serin (Serinus serinus)

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