Last week I mentioned about the weather having finally changed. Well, that’s what I got wrong! The weather’s decided to go back into summer mode with afternoon temperatures around the 30ºC mark, blue skies and no wind. All of which does nothing for the movement of birds (or rather does nothing to force them down from where they’re migrating, high up). Which brings me to what I got right!
Going over to Isla Grosa for a couple of days (I had hoped it would be for longer, but a lack of boat drivers cut it down to just two days). The days before I went over, as I mentioned last week, they caught some really good birds, including Iberian Chiffchaffs, Scops Owls and European Nightjars, and culminating with a juvenile Common Rosefinch the day before I went. Of course, the Rosefinch didn’t stay, and arriving there on Wednesday afternoon (9th October) the only bird of note caught and ringed that afternoon was a juvenile Northern Wheatear, although other birds were Robins and Sardinian Warblers, which were to make up the staple ‘diet’ of the ringers for the next few days.
On our way to an island in the Med! From the Tomas Maestre marina
Under the swing bridge...
... and here's our target
Entering in the bay
The first bird seen in the hand, Northern Wheatear
A total of eleven 13 metre nets arranged around the back of the buildings
More of the net placements
Between net rounds, we took a walk to the east side of the island where Cormorants and Shags were gathering in the bays before going to roost, and I saw the largest number of Shags together that I’ve ever seen in Spain, 60 in total. Their numbers are really beginning to build up. The number of Cormorants was higher than I’ve seen so far this autumn, groups coming over from the Mar Menor totaling more than 200.
From the east facing side, the islet Farallón (Stack) ...
... and on the sides of the isla, Cormorants beginning to gather ...
... some coming in in quite large groups
In the sea, a group of 60 Shags quickly built up
Wednesday night sunset from our kitchen
The next couple of days were total relax on the island – not a lot of different birds, mainly Robins and Sardinian Warblers with the odd Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and a few Chiffchaffs thrown in for variety, but excellent for sun-bathing! Very rapidly, Friday afternoon came around, and it was time to come back off the island. As I said last week, when I got on the island, things would quieten down!
Jacinto getting a Robin out of one of the nets
Side view of our accomodation and its garden
Down to the serious stuff - Jacinto ringing and Mario Leon writing it all down
Some of the birds caught - here Common Redstart ...
... Male Sardinian Warbler ...
... and the commonest bird of all, Robin
And after a hard days work, how better to relax that a beer and watch the sunset!
Friday morning, more of the same - here adult and juvenile females Sardinian Warblers ...
A little bit different, a Pied Flycatcher
I even had a go myself!
... here blowing a Robin (to see how much fat & muscle it had under its feathers)!
Home with the bath/shower in front of it ...
... and the limousine parked out front! (wouldn't want to be in a REAL storm in it)
The water was pretty clear ...
... and you could see plenty of fish ...
I'll let the experts tell me what it is
The one I DIDN'T see - Red Breasted Flycatcher
Photo copyright Francisco Albert Garcia Castellanos
This photo showing it's buff breast
Photo copyright Francisco Albert Garcia Castellanos
The weekend I spent doing a bit of a catch-up around the Mar Menor, and also checking the Cabo de Palos lighthouse gardens just in case there might be some good passerine there. But at Cabo, although the number of Robins have definitely increased and there were a couple of Stonechats (male and female), the whole area is so dry that I wouldn’t think any bird would hang around unless it absolutely had to.
At San Pedro and Marchamalo Salinas, it’s the opposite – water levels are so high that only the very long legged birds seem to be around (such as Flamingos, Egrets, Grey Herons, Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets and Black Winged Stilts. There are a few ‘shanks around the edges of the lagoons, but certainly no numbers of small waders. Having said that, at El Mojon, just to the north of San Pedro del Pinatar, on the beach were a group of waders including around 30 Sanderling and 20 Turnstones with a single Dunlin, and one of the Sanderling was colour ringed with a combination of rings.
In the Los Urrutias area of the Mar Menor, it's all much the same ...
... still plenty of Sandwich Terns ...
... some actually flying!
The same old bunch of waders ...
... some very rarely doing anything BUT flying ...
... although occasionally they can be caught out on the deck, like this Grey Plover ...
... or this Sanderling ...
... or a Dunlin ...
... or even a Bar-tailed Godwit
And just to confirm it's a Grey and not Golden Plover
I suppose the longer the bill, the deeper you can get!
Time to try somewhere else
At the beach at El Mojon, a colour ringed Sanderling in amongst some Turnstones
The back end of the Osprey at San Pedro salinas
Was it the same bird at the Marina de Carmoli?
Also seen at the Marina de Carmoli, a group of a dozen or more Curlew, and Common Buzzard.
More waders at the Marina de Carmoli - Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit
Now in flight with a Turnstone ...
... and now with another Knot
Meanwhile flying in the other direction, a Ruff and Grey Plover
Back to the Knot and Turnstones ...
... and finally, a passing Cormorant
And that’s about it for the week. This afternoon (Friday) we’re having another go at the wagtail roost in Los Nietos, and I’ll probably have a look for the Richard’s Pipit there (on my last couple of visits, there’s been no sign, but this last week a few pipits have started to pass through so maybe it’s arrived).
And that’s all for now. Should you wish to keep more up to date with what’s being seen, look me up on ‘facebook’ under ‘Richard Howard’.
Birds mentioned in the blog:
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus – Mosquitero Ibérico)
Scops Owl (Otus scops – Autillo)
European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus – Chotacabras Europeo)
Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus – Camachuelo Carminoso)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe – Collalba Gris)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula – Petirrojo)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala – Curruca Cabecinegra)
Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo – Cormorán Grande)
Shag (Phalacrocora aristotelis – Cormorán Moñudo)
Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva – Papamoscas Papirrojo)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus – Tarabilla Común)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus – Flamenco Común)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta – Garceta Común)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea – Garza Real)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa – Aguja Colinegra)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta – Avoceta)
Black Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus – Cigüeñuela)
Sanderling (Calidris alba – Correlimos Tridáctilo)
Turnstone (Arenaria interpres – Vuelvepiedras)
Dunlin (Calidris alpine – Correlimos Común)
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica – Aguja Colipinta)
Knot (Calidris canutus – Correlimos Gordo)
Curlew (Numenius arquata – Zarapito Real)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo – Ratonero)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus – Aguila Pescadora)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus – Aguililla Calzada)
Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi - Bisbita de Richard)