Two new raptor's for my Spanish List.
An early start was required for today’s trip, so Jayne and I were on our way at 07:00 (Ok I class that as an early start these days!!) heading toward Gibraltar. The journey was uneventful and I had dropped Jayne at the border and I was birding at Los Barrios by quarter to 10. Before I had even stopped the car I had seen the first of the days highlights sitting on one of the many electrical pylons. I parked and walked back to find the Long-legged Buzzard (Busardo Moro / Buteo rufinus) had disappeared, good numbers of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) about 150 birds could be seen circling over a near by hill side and a couple of Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) hovered over the marshes on the opposite side of the road. The Buzzard then reappeared on one of the more distant pylons, so I jumped back into the car and drove down a dirt track to get a bit better view. The bird sat nicely but was on the far side of the pylon behind some of the metal work so views were not great but I took a few shots, as I was checking them the bird again flew and made its way back to original perch back by the road. Paper-white Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus) formed some nice large clumps in the fields and along a small stream at the side of the track, also in the ditch were flowering Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), Bidens aurea, White Asphodel (Asphodelus albus) and Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor). I then moved back up to the road and got much better views of the bird and some slightly better shots, on the marsh there were lots of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), a few Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and on the fences Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
After reading on Rare Birds In Spain that a Ruppell’s Vulture (Buitre Moteado / Gyps rueppellii) had been seen in the area a few days earlier I thought that I would try and get closer to the circling birds on the hillside. On the drive round I took some photos of some White Storks on the nest, I stopped to have a look at the flocks of birds but could only pick out Griffons and Storks, which made me think are these birds more difficult to separate than I had suspected? Any way I continued around the hill to the far side where I came to a sharp halt at the sight of a very large Eagle perched on one of the middle distance pylons. A quick scan with the bins and I was getting quite excited, it was a plain very pale brown bird which I could not put a name to at this point. I was sure it would fly before the scope was set up but it was still there and a few seconds later I found another new species for me Decoyus plasticus (Large plastic Eagle) and I was left feeling rather pleased to be birding alone today. The feeling very quickly passed as a small looking mainly dark Vulture appeared a few hundred meters away and flew right over my head. The question I had asked earlier was fully answered, if you only think it might be a Ruppell’s then it is almost certainly a Griffon, because as soon as this bird was seen it was obviously with out any doubt an adult Ruppell’s. Now feeling rather pleased I set off back around to the site for the Buzzard to see if the dismal light had improve any but it had not so I had a drive around the marshes picking up a Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) sitting on a fence post, Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
Photographs from the top: Long-legged Buzzard (Busardo Moro / Buteo rufinus) x2, Paper-white Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus), White Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor) and Decoyus plasticus (Large plastic Eagle).