Thursday, 3 January 2013

The follow-up

Wednesday the 2nd January was much more relaxed than the previous day.  I had the day off work and stayed local to finish off the sites that I hadn’t been able to cover the previous day.  So at the crack of 11 I was back down at the Marchamalo Salinas, where this time I had 6 Kentish Plover, a Stone Curlew on one of the lagoon walls (in truth I had seen one yesterday, but it was as flat as a Hedgehog so I couldn’t count it), and true to form, the Monk Parakeets were calling everywhere.

From here I carried on along to the ‘Encañizadas’ at the end of La Manga for an hour and a half.    Here things were fairly quiet.  Most of the usual birds were about, but there were a few ‘no-shows’, such as Kingfisher, Peregrine and Great White Egret.  Best birds here were a group of 34 Spoonbill, and in amongst a group of around 80 Mallard, 3 female Pintail. Also unusual, a single adult Lesser Black-backed Gull in amongst the Yellow-legs (it seems strange, but around this area Lesser Black-backs are really uncommon, and yet on the south coast Lesser Black-backs can be seen everywhere).

 The Encañizadas

Waders were well represented, with Little Stints, Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Grey Plovers, Sanderling and a dozen Curlew.

Returning from the Encañizadas, I called in at Playa Paraiso to have a look at the Mar Menor from there, particularly for Red-breasted Mergansers of which I’d not seen any at all so far this winter, but I drew a blank.
From here I continued along the Mar Menor calling into the sailing club at Los Urrutias.  This is a favourite spot for a wintering Great White Egret, and there it was as I entered.  A surprise here on the way was Booted Eagle along the road, and a group of 19 Stone Curlew.

 Booted Eagle that appeared to have eaten recently, seen at the side of the road

 One of the few waders at the Los Urrutias sailing club

 A now regular winter visitor, Great White Egret

My next stop was the ‘desembocadura’ of the Rambla de Albujon.  I was hoping for a Kingfisher here but didn’t see one.  What I did see though was an Osprey that flew off along the beach east, and returned back about 10 minutes later with a massive fish.  A bonus bird here was my first Woodpigeon of the year!

 A resident and common winter visitor, you can't go far without seeing a Southern Grey Shrike

An unusual winter visitor but good to see all the same, Osprey with its lunch
My last call was at the old sewage works (EDAR) of El Algar where I met up with Pepe Navarro. He had just seen the Osprey which made a further pass around the area while I was there.  I don’t know what had happened to the fish, as I can’t imagine that it had eaten it in the time I took to get there (or it’s just possible that it was a different Osprey).  We did well with raptors in the hour and a half we were there, seeing a couple of Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, the Long-legged Buzzard and a couple of Kestrels as well.

Taken looking into the sun, but it IS the Long-legged Buzzard!

Other new birds for the year were a Songthrush (not particularly common outside spring and autumn passage) and 5 Little Ringed Plovers, bringing my total for the year after just 2 days to 98 species.

New species for the year:
73.       Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
74.       Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
75.       Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)
76.       Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
77.       Curlew (Numenius arquata)
78.       Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
79.       Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
80.       Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
81.       Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
82.       Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
83.       Sanderling (Calidris alba)
84.       Spotted Redshank (Tringa erthyropus)
85.       Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
86.       Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
87.       Sandwich Tern (Sterna sanvicensis)
88.       Pintail (Anas acuta)
89.       Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
90.       Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
91.       Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
92.       Great White Egret (Egretta alba)
93.       Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
94.       Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
95.       Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
96.       Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
97.       Songthrush (Turdus philomelos)
98.       Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)


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