Thursday, 25 October 2012

23rd October 2012 – Cabo de Palos lighthouse garden – 08:15 to 10:10 a.m. and 18:00 to 18:50 p.m.

Weather: Cloud 4/8, no wind; 13-18ºC
I thought I’d have an early look at the lighthouse garden, and on arriving there I could see that there had obviously been a fall.  There seemed to be Blackbirds and Robins calling from everywhere.  I took my normal walk around the gardens inside the fenced area, starting with the lower part around the rocks, and then went up the asphalted road up to the lighthouse itself, then walking down the steps to the gate.  Apart from the Blackbirds and Robins, I flushed numerous Songthrushes on my way round, and saw Sardinians and a Dartford Warbler and Chiffchaffs.  The Southern Grey Shrike that seems to have taken up residence was in its usual place, and I also saw a couple of Black Redstarts, and two Common Redstarts, one an adult male and the other a female or juvenile.  I also saw a few Crag Martins flying around the top of the lighthouse, and various Spotless Starlings feeding around the bushes.

Early start today - I almost beat the sun coming up

 The 'winter resident' Southern Grey Shrike, keeping an eye out for insects

Somewhat late, a male Common Reststart

 Typical visitors at this time of year - Blackbird...

 ...and Robin

 However the most interesting birds were several groups of Siskins.  It is the first time I’ve seen Siskins here.  I first saw a group of about 20 which were joined by other groups including one of 50+, and I reckon that in total I saw more than 110.  They were coming in from the southwest, dropping onto the point of the gardens where they fed for a while, then flew off again heading north.  Their point of arrival and heading are a bit of a mystery to me, as I’ve always understood that the birds we see here in the winter are birds from northern Europe and Russia.

And not so typical - the first time I've seen Siskins here, dropping in to feed...
...and then heading off north
In the rest of the gardens area were the usual birds, with 20 Collared Doves in the carpark area, House Sparrows and Spotted Starlings, Crested Larks plus various finches (Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnets, Serin), and on the rocks at the easternmost rocks, a couple of Northern Wheatears.

 In the rest of the area I walk, Linnet...

 ...Northern Wheatear...

...Crested ('Carpark') Lark

I returned in the afternoon to see if any Siskins still remained, but there were none.  In fact most of the passage birds had gone.  What was new though, were around 30 Black Redstarts within the fenced area of the lighthouse garden, including 2 adult males, and the number of Stonechats had increased to three, 2 males and a female.

 Daytime arrivals, many Black Redstarts...

 ...and Stonechat
 Another of Black Redstart

Birds seen:
24 Blackbird (Turdus merula); 13 Songthrush (Turdus philomelos); 28 Robin (Erithacus rubecula); 8 Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita); 3 Crested Lark (Galerida cristata); 3 Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus); 8 Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala); 1 Dartford Warbler  (Sylvia undata); 5 Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris); 110+ Siskin (Carduelis spinus); 1 Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis); 40+ Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochrurus); 2 Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus); 4 White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba); 25 Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor); 2 Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii); 1 Gannet (Morus bassanus); 1 Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs); 2 Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe); 8 Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris); 20 Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto); 9 House Sparrow (Passer domesticus); 8 Linnet (Carduelis cannabina); 1 Serin (Serinus serinus); 1 Little Egret (Egretta garzetta); c20 Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis); 1 Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

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