Thursday, 6 September 2012

A weekend of local birding

A couple of short entries, and no photos I'm afraid.  I'll try to make up for it in my next entry.
1st September, Cabo de Palos (RAM census) and Marchamalo salinas

Back to normality today, doing the usual local areas.  I got to the seawatch site late and only managed an hour of the RAM census till it finished (at 10:30).  There was very little movement on the sea, and I only had around 25 Cory’s Shearwaters (mainly heading north) and a single Sandwich Tern (south), but the others who had got there earlier had seen Common Scoter, very unusual for here.

After the census we had a quick look around the lighthouse garden, but again things were very quiet. The only birds of note were a single Southern Grey Shrike, and a Red-rumped Swallow.

After breakfast on my way back home, I called into the Marchamalo Salinas, where I had 12 Greater Flamingo, a group of 13 Little Egrets, 6 Grey Herons, 38 Black-headed, 6 Slender-billed and a single Mediterranean Gull (adult in winter plumage), 15 Sandwich, 4 Common and a single Little Tern.  Waders were noticeable by their total absence.  Around at the other end of the Salinas (in Playa Paraiso), again there was very little – a large group of around 300 Yellow-legged with 6 Audouins Gulls, being the only birds seen.

Bird species seen
Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sanvicensis)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
Southern Grey Shrike  (Lanius meridionalis)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melsanocephala)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

2nd September, South and West of the Mar Menor

I paid a late visit to various locations around the Mar Menor, just to check if there was anything new since my last visit prior to my holiday.  I started at the sailing club (Club Nautico) in Los Urrutias, but it was very quiet here – the only birds seen being a single Sandwich Tern and single Slender-billed Gull.

My next stop was the old sewage farm (EDAR) at El Algar.  Here there was just a single pool with ‘water’ visible from the gates, but it had no birds on it.  However, on overhead wires nearby I counted 18 Turtle Doves and 16 Collared Doves and a Kestrel, and on nearby fields, 8 Red-legged Partridge and 6 Stone Curlews.

I then went on to the ‘Rambla de Albujon’, a stream that picks up the overflow from surrounding fields and eventually dumps the water into the Mar Menor.  It is the nearest thing we have locally to a river, and never goes dry.  It is normally a large reedbed, but over the last few weeks, the reeds have had their annual cut (just leaving a few ‘stands’ of reeds for wildlife), and the rambla is pretty much bald!
Walking up the wall of the rambla, I had a single Little Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper, and surprisingly, a male Little Bittern flying from one stand of reeds to the next.  Walking back along the wall, the only birds seen were a group of 6 Cattle Egret flying down the rambla, then over to the Mar Menor.  Presumably they were on their way to roost on one of the islands in the Mar Menor.

My final stop at dusk was at the ‘Arenal’ (sand areas) of Los Nietos.  I stopped here to see if the roost of ‘flava’ Wagtails had built up yet, as last year we had a go at ringing the roost, and managed to catch over 100 wagtails one night (plus Bluethroat, Fan-tailed Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whinchat).  The roost WAS building up, with around 300 ‘flava’ Wagtails seen just before it got dark (the majority of which, as far as I could see, of the subspecies ‘iberiae), plus as a bonus, a Red-necked Nightjar was hunting around the reeds.

Bird species seen
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sanvicensis)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis)
Iberian Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiae)

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