Thursday, 8 August 2013

Another local roundup

From my recent reports it probably seems that I only go to the local salinas - and at this time of year this is pretty much correct - too early for the passage of raptors around this area, too dry to get anything of passerines passing through, out at sea the occasional Gannet and (from Cabo de Palos at least) Shag and on a good day a few Cory's Shearwaters moving south.  Which leaves the salinas and other 'watery' places with the the possibility of passage birds.

On a national level, not a lot has been seen so far, with just a couple of Broad-billed Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalaropes near Barcelona and the first Pectoral Sandpiper in Valencia, all in the last week or so.

So when you start to get the movements of waders coming through, it's worth a good look almost on a daily basis. At Marchamalo, there has been some obvious movement with good numbers of Curlew Sandpipers and numbers of Dunlin, Little Stints, a single Ruff, Greenshank and Redshank all in the past week, and yesterday (Wednesday 7th August) for just a couple of hours around midday, a flock of 15 Oystercatchers.  Also in Marchamalo, the water level is gradually dropping due to evaporation, as it appears that whoever is in charge of pumping the water into the salinas must now be on holiday as since the 1st August no water has been pumped in.  This is having the effect of drawing the small waders to the first lagoon behind the go-karts, and if you approach carefully, you can get quite close to them (and in the morning with the sun behind you, they are perfect for photographing).

Waders at the side of the road, at Marchamalo...

... and some more the following day

 From Playa Paraiso, you can see the gulls (and a few terns) gathering

And for one day only, a group of Oystercatchers seen from the beach

In San Pedro del Pinatar, the water levels are still high (too high even to read Flamingo colour rings), and things are fairly quiet there, with waders around (Curlew Sandpipers, Ruff, Dunlin, Little Stints, Black-tailed Godwits) but not particularly high numbers of them.  For me, the most interesting birds in my couple of visits in the last week have been Little Bitterns.  These seem to have been in very short supply this year up until about a month ago, but by going there early in the morning I have seen a few, and my last visit early yesterday morning, I had at least 2 adult males, an adult female and a juvenile, all in the reedbeds at the entrance to the salinas on the right of the road.  Smart birds!

 Male Little Bittern - they're being quite showy at the moment

The only other place that I've been to in the last week are the 'encañizadas' at the end of the La Manga strip (overlooking San Pedro).  Not somewhere I normally go at this time of year mainly because of the amount of traffic around, I was tempted as I was told that there were Bar-tailed Godwits there (which surprisingly I haven't seen yet this year) and an Oystercatcher had been hanging around there (which although I'd already seen, they aren't that common in this area).  So getting there at 7-45am (and with surprisingly clear roads), the Oystercatcher was one of the first birds I saw, but no sign of Bar-tailed's - typical!  Other birds there were the typical more 'maritine' waders - Curlews, a single Grey Plover, Ringed Plovers, Kentish Plovers, Turnstones and Redshanks and Greenshanks, and something of a surprise, a group of 8 Collared Pratincoles roosting on the masses of seaweed.  Also there was a good selection of terns, with Common, Little, Sandwich and Gull-billed all roosting, and a couple of groups of Black Terns flew through.

And that's been my week!

Happy birding,




  1. I was at San Pedro and there is a small number of Bar-tailed Godwits - second water on the left going towards the port. I did put a report on my blog. Happy birding

    1. Interesting record that - normally they're only seen along the beach or at the 'Encañizadas'. Also interesting, the record of Pied Flycatcher - the first return passage bird I've heard of this year.

      I hope you don't mind, but I've included your blog on my 'preferred blogs' list, as I'm always interested in english language bird blogs.


      Richard Howard