Just a short post about the first ringing session held last night in the old sewage farm (EDAR) of El Algar, Cartagena.
This EDAR, having been pretty much abandoned during the past 3 years and just used for dumping waste, is currently being re-modelled as a small nature reserve under the auspices of ANSE (Asociación de Naturalistas del SurEste). At some time in the near future, there should be two lagoons with deep water, and the large lagoon nearest the gate will be a shallow lagoon for waders, being topped up by rainwater from the surrounding villages.
As we've had quite a bit of rain recently, there is a decent sized pool of water there at the moment, which has had a small passage of waders through it. It was to try and catch and ring some of these that the members of the ANSE ringing group had their first ringing session last night, and I was invited to participate.
So, arriving at 7pm, while I waited for the others to arrive, I had a look around the area from outside the fence. On telegraph wires were the usual Southern Grey Shrike, Kestrel, Turtle and Collared Doves, and peering into the EDAR through the gates, on the pool were 16 Black Winged Stilts, and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers, but very little else.
Eventually more people arrived, including someone with the key for the gate, and we could go inside. We still had to wait before setting the nets, as the person organising the session and who knew where the nets were to go, hadn't arrived, so we took a wander around the inside, and I could take a few photos of the area. While walking around, we flushed a group of 6 Redshank from one of the further pools.
The furthest 'lagoon' which had some shallow water and six redshank in it
What will become a deep water lagoon with islands in it - just add water!
The first lagoon with a small pool af water surrounded by nets
Our ringing station (plus eating and drinking station)
The downside of being so far from the nets was that the very first bird we caught (a Little Ringed Plover I think), managed to wriggle its way out of the net before anyone could get to it.
The upside was that when we caught our first birds that didn't escape (a Redshank, Spotless Starling and Common Swift), we all saw the Hobby that shot through in the twilight and then did a circle over or heads (presumably to see what we were up to) before disappearing into the gloom.
We stayed there until 1-30am, and although we didn't catch a great quantity of birds, we could all see the obvious potential of the site. We ended up with 4 Redshank, Spotless Starling, Common Swift and Stone Curlew, but also saw Little Owl, Barn Owl (which we also heard call), Night Heron, and at about 12 midnight, heard a Red-necked Nightjar 'singing' for about an hour in the distance.
We caught 4 of the 6 Rdshank present - shame we didn't do so well with the other species
I think the first time I've ever seen Stone Curlew in the hand
When released, they go into a motionless crouch to start with