Monday, 8 July 2013

8th July 2013 – They’re on their way back!

Hi all,

Although it hardly seems possible, for some species the breeding season is now over and birds are once again heading south.  Looking at some farm reservoirs close to San Javier airport over the weekend, I had my first returning Black Terns, adults in full breeding plumage, feeding over the reservoirs together with a couple of Gull-billed Terns.

 First returning Black Tern...

... together with a Gull Billed Tern

I also called into the Salinas at San Pedro on Sunday morning where a couple of the people who work at the information centre were out manning an information desk at the side of one of the lagoons.  This was the ideal opportunity to ask about the breeding success of some of the local birds, and I was told that in general most breeding species were up to their normal numbers (Avocets, Black Winged Stilts, Shelduck, Kentish Plovers, Black-headed and Slender-billed Gulls, Common and Sandwich Terns).  One species that did seem lower are the Little Terns, but this may well be due to the amount of rainfall during the winter and spring making many inland areas more interesting to the terns.  And a species that has definitely increased – 502 pairs of breeding Audouin’s Gulls, a colony that seems to have come out of no-where to be one of the largest colonies in Spain after the Delta del Ebro and southern Alicante.

I also asked about Flamingos, as having passed by San Pedro the previous week, I had seen 3 ‘juvenile’ Flamingos, but on asking people from various places where they breed in Spain (Laguna de Fuente Piedra; Pétrola; Delta del Ebro), none of the young have yet reached being able to fly.  Normally I don’t see juvenile Flamingos until the end of August, so wondered if it were possible that they may have bred at San Pedro for the first time, and the juveniles that I saw were local birds.  While talking about the flamingos, looking through my ‘scope I saw another group of 10 juveniles, some of which looked suspiciously dark to me – unfortunately they were far too distant to be able to photograph.  Although the people manning the desk didn’t know if they have bred here this year, they said they would find out and let me know.

Photos of the juvenile Flamingos taken last weekend

Apart from that, things are still pretty quiet, although over the next few weeks I would expect terns and gulls to start moving, and towards the end of the month we should have the first waders (hopefully including Red-necked Phalaropes which are seen at San Pedro regularly towards the end of July).

And keep an eye out for swifts – what with the rarities (Needletailed and Pacific Swifts) having been seen in the UK and a Pacific Swift in Galicia last week, we had a report of up to 3 Little Swifts having been seen locally last week along the Mar Menor in Los Urrutias.  Although they couldn't be re-located, it's always worth checking any swifts out just in case there may be a strange one amongst them!



  1. Gran trabajo, gracias por compartirlo.

    Seguramente baje el último fin de semana de julio. Si quieres, te aviso y a ver si hay suerte con los falaropos.

    Un saludo,


  2. Hola Gabriel,

    Si, si me das un toque - seguro que voy a pasar por San Pedro aquel finde.

    Un saludo,