Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Monday 20th May 2013 - Getting Knotted in San Pedro

Hi All,

Yesterday I hadn't planned to go out to do any birding, but receiving a phone call in the afternoon from a friend Gabriel, who told me he was currently at the salinas at San Pedro del Pinatar and that there were a lot of waders there, I couldn't resist and drove the 30 minute trip up there.

I met with Gabriel in the hide opposite the salt loading plant at the 'experimental' lagoon just before the marina.  Recently, this lagoon has been very poor with very few birds in it - normally just a few Shelduck, Avocets and terns on the islands, but today there were as Gabriel had said, a good number of waders, the cream of which were four Knot (Calidris canutus), in breeding plumage.  These birds would have spent the winter along the Atlantic seaboard of Africa, sometimes as far south as South Africa, and are now on their way to their northern siberian breeding quarters.  Although not exactly a rarity in Murcia, they are definitely uncommon and more likely to be seen in the Autumn around the Mar Menor (juveniles and adults coming out of breeding plumage), so to see red birds in late spring is quite a treat, and a most pleasant way to spend an hour or so watching them.

Some of the photos taken of the Knot, together with Sanderlings

Apart from the Knot, there were other waders including quite a number of Sanderlings, many also in breeding plumage, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, Turnstones, a couple of Kentish Plover, Black Winged Stilts and Avocets, with an Avocet chick also wandering around.   On the end of one of the islands there was a sizeable group of Sandwich Terns with a few Common and Little Terns mixed in together with Slender-billed Gulls, and flying nearby a pair of Mediterranean Gulls.

Some of the other waders in this normally quiet lagoon,
 from top to bottom Sanderling, Ringed Plover, another Sanderling and Redshank

Thats all for now folks,



  1. Hi Richard,
    Nice images of the Knot at San Pedro.I know this location quite well as my son lives nearby near San Miguel de salinas. Whenever I`m out there I do most of my birding anywhere between Santa Pola and the San Pedro end of Mar menor plus of course El Hondo. I have found that the little canal that runs between the salina and the sand dune area the most rewarding. The El Mojon end is also very good for surprises. I never seem to get down to your end of M.Menor except when my son goes diving off Cabo de Palos. I`ve only ever been to the Calablanque area once and that was just to visit those huge guns up on the cliffs overlooking the sea. It`s nice to be able to read your blog and keep up to date whats been seen in the area while I`m home here in cold and damp U.K. Thank you Richard. You bring a bit of sun here. Maurice.

  2. Hi Maurice,
    Thanks for your comments - always good to get feedback especially when it's positive!
    As you can tell, I tend to keep to the region of Murcia, especially as I think it's an underwatched area, and does occasionally turn up some good birds, although I do occasionally take forays out of the region (for example this weekend I'm off to Nerpio in Albacete for a census).
    P.S. If you'd been here yesterday, you'd have thought you WERE back in the UK, cold, damp and rain most of the day - most unseasonable!