Winter visitors from far afield.
I meet Juan Pérez Contreras at the same place as usual in Granada and we set off to the point at which we carry out the monthly RAM sea watch survey. We arrived to a calm windless coast, nice to sit in but not so good for the sea birds. We did the usual two hour watch and picked up the usual species, the commonest birds seen were Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) x282, but we also recorded good numbers of Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) x70, Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) x61, Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) x36, a single Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) and most surprising were the 3 Kittiwakes (Gaviota Tridáctila / Rissa tridactila) we picked up. Other birds seen in the area were Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) x3, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa). A couple of Humming-bird Hawkmoths (Macroglossum stellatarrum) were seen to visit the flowers of Cut-leaved (Lavandula multifida) and French Lavenders (Lavandula stoechas). Other plants seen included Sweet Alison (Lobularia maritima), Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Purple Vipers Bugloss (Echium lycopsis), Lycium intricatum and Withania somnifera.
We later visited the port where there were good numbers of gulls on the storage areas. We passed the barriers and started to check through the flock of about 2000 birds for ring numbers. By the time we had finished we had recorded 23 Lesser Black-backed and 2 Med Gulls with rings on. The Lesser Black-backs included birds from Holland, Great Britain, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, the two Meds were from France and Poland.
Photographs from the top: Lycium intricatum, Withania somnifera (flower), Withania somnifera (seed), Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and two ringed Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus).