On my first outing since returning from the UK, on Tuesday 6th February in the afternoon I took a little trip along the Mar Menor. I was principally checking to see if there were still any Velvet Scoter around, and I also wanted to have a look to see if there was anything new along the rambla de Albujon.
So my first stop was just past Punta Brava, Los Urrutias on the F34 where there is a layby at road marker Km.8. Down at the water’s edge I set up my ‘scope to see what was about. Behind me over the marina de Carmoli, there were 2 Marsh Harriers (male and female) and a light phase Booted Eagle hunting, and in the Mar Menor, there were still a fair number (I counted at least 12) Great Crested Grebes, and at least 15 Black-necked Grebes. I found a group of Scoter, eight in total which comprised of the six Velvet Scoters and two female Common Scoters.
It was while watching these that I noticed another bird in the water quite a way off, and focusing my ‘scope on it, I couldn’t believe my eyes – it couldn’t be – but it was – an immature diver that looked large, very much a rarity in the waters of Murcia. I presumed it to be a Great Northern Diver, but have since seen it closer and have had it re-identified it as Red Throated! I couldn’t get any photos of it as it was too far out for my normal camera and there was too much heat-haze anyway.
Apart from that bit of excitement, I also had a group of 6 Wigeon (4 males & 2 females) on the water, and along the shoreline, 2 Little Egret, 2 Greenshank and 4 Turnstone.
My trip to the ‘rambla de Albujon’ afterwards was a bit of an anticlimax, seeing ‘only’ 8 Common Snipe, a Ruff, 7 Black-winged Stilt, a Green Sandpiper, 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Crag Martin, 2 Water and 2 Meadow Pipits, and I heard calling my first Quail of the year.
The next couple of days were very windy so I didn’t get down to the Mar Menor again until the morning of Friday 9th February, when luckily the diver was still there. I managed to get a few ‘digi-scoped’ photos of it one of which was in reasonable focus which I’m including in this post, together with the best of the rest.
The best of the rest - the bird in front is a Black-necked Grebe
And the best photo I could get
Also seen on the Friday were my first single House Martin, and a group of three Swallows. Summer’s a-coming!