Further to my entry last week, over the last weekend I went out to a few places locally.
On Friday evening (12th July), as it was totally overcast, I had a look at the Marchamalo Salinas from the Cabo de Palos side (had it been sunny, it would be impossible to see anything as you are looking directly into the sun). It seems like there have been no breakdowns with the pump this year and water is currently being pumped in regularly, to the extent that the Salinas are relatively full at the moment – at the place where I normally park there are no muddy fringes at the edges of the lagoons for waders, and the only waders seen were a few Avocets, Black Winged Stilts and a small group of Kentish Plovers.
On the wall at the back of one of the lagoons however, in the same place as on previous years, a good number of gulls and terns is building up – I had 20 Sandwich, 6 Common and 7 Little Terns there, plus a good group of 25 adult Black-headed Gulls which are obviously returning migrants and which will probably hang around to moult. Other birds of interest seen were 34 Shelduck, including 2 groups of different sized ducklings, 7 in each group, which have obviously been raised here as they are too small to fly yet.
Saturday morning early saw me taking a trip over to the Salinas at San Pedro. I started off at El Mojón, where I saw my first returning wader, an adult Greenshank, but apart from that things were relatively quiet (just the usual Avocets, Black Winged Stilts, Kentish Plovers, Greater Flamingos), although crossing the small wooden bridge over the canal there, I was struck by the number of House Martins and Swallows flying south along the beach. Obviously their migration has started as well.
Going round to the port road area of the Salinas, things seemed to be relatively quiet at the pool at the far end (nearest the port itself), although there were a couple of Turnstones on one of the islands, and a group of about 30 Slender-billed Gulls. Working my way back towards the information centre there were plenty of Little Terns still feeding young on the walls of the lagoons, and a few Gull-billed Terns flying over with food in their mouths obviously coming back from the fields inland with food for their young. In the 3rd lagoon on the right (from the information centre), there is a distant line of posts, and on these I counted 34 adult Black Terns still in breeding plumage plus a few Common and Sandwich Terns, and while watching these I had 3 Whiskered Terns fly over. All in all, a good morning for tern varieties. There seemed to have been a small influx of Little Egrets as well, as I counted 14 of them.
Having seen the Black Terns, I thought that on my way back I would call in at the farm reservoirs close to the airport road that joins the AP-7 and San Javier airport. This turned out quite worthwhile, as I had another 16 adult Black Terns here, together with 8 Gull-billed Terns, a couple of Green Sandpipers, an adult Night Heron, Cattle Egret and Squacco Heron!
A couple of photos of one of the Black Terns seen
A record shot of the adult Night Heron...
... and another of the adult Squacco Heron
As I haven’t been over to Calblanque for a while and as I still had time before you have to use the bus service there, I called in to the Salinas at Rasall, more to see how the water levels were than anything else. They weren’t bad at all, with just a few totally covered in salt and these had about 50 Yellow-legged Gulls sat on them. On the walls of the lagoons were 18 Audouin’s Gulls (17 adults and just one juvenile) and I managed to read a couple of colour rings from them - the birds were originally ringed one in 2009 at the La Mata lagoon in Alicante (a large breeding colony) and the other on Isla Grosa just of the coast from La Manga in 2008 when there was a sizeable colony there.
Apart from that, things were very quiet with just a couple of Black Winged Stilts and half a dozen Kentish Plovers.
And that’s it, so until my next report,