Thursday, 25 July 2013

25th July 2013 - Mar Menor update

Hi all, 

Since my last post, I've been going regularly to the old salinas at Marchamalo (Cabo de Palos), and the salinas at San Pedro del Pinatar.  The water levels in both places have been rising, which in Marchamalo has had the effect of forcing the waders to some of the more central (and less accessible) lagoons, but with a telescope, they can still be seen from the road in the mornings (with the sun behind you).

In actual fact there hasn't been too much in th way of waders - at Marchamalo, a lot of Black Winged Stilts, up to 6 Curlew Sandpipers all in breeding plumage; a single Little Stint, a few Common Redshanks and Greenshanks, Common and Green Sandpipers passing through, and  at San Pedro, again many  Black Winged Stilts, and the first Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits of the return passage and I've been told of a group of 4 Oystercatcher seen flying over the salinas last week.  In amongst the Black Winged Stilts I had a colour ringed individual which appears to have been ringed originally in Portugal, but I'm still waiting for precise details.

What HAVE been moving in very strongly have been Greater Flamingos, with a maximum this last week of 147 at Marchamalo and around 800 at San Pedro.  I've been reading colour rings on some of them and although I haven't got their histories back yet, some I know have been ringed originally at the Delta del Ebro and others have Italian rings (probably ringed on Sardinia, where I have had recoveries from in previous years).

Other birds in movement have been gulls and terns, and I have seen Gull-billed, Sandwich, Common, Black and Whiskered Terns at San Pedro, and a single Whiskered amongst the Sandwich, Common and Little Terns at Marchamalo.  Again at Marchamalo, numerous Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls have been passing through, mainly adults, although I have now started to see a few juvenile Black-headed Gulls with their almost brown backs.

Although the majority of my trips out recently have been to San Pedro and Marchamalo salinas, yesterday, Wednesday 24th July we had our monthly count at the Cartagena sewage farm at the EDAR Cabeza Beaza.  Here you could certainly see things are in movement, with a count of over 650 Black-headed Gulls (with an adult breeding plumaged Mediterranean Gull mixed in with them - the first time I think this species has been seen at this inland site), over 680 Black Necked Grebes accumulating here to moult, the majority of them being adult birds in breeding plumage, and in amongst a group of 68 Pochard, a group of 7 Ferruginous Ducks, the largest group of this normally rare duck seen at this site.

And that's it for now.  Apologies for the lack of photos - the birds generally just haven't been close enough, but I include a couple of some of the Flamingos.

 At Marchamalo, a lot of Flamingos have come in recently...

... joining the families of Shelducks

Happy birding,


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