Sea bird survey, Ring checking and a quick look at Charca.
Today it was an early start; it was still dark as I was leaving the house which was the reason for me getting a new bird for my seen from the garden list. As I was walking out to the car an Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) flew off my neighbor’s roof and out into the Olives. Dave Jackson a friend from the UK had seen one from the terrace a couple of years earlier but I had not recorded it which is surprising as they breed just up the road.
I met up with Juan at the usual place on Aki car park and we made our way down to the headland just to the east of Motril. We arrived a little early so we had a scan around the local scrub first picking up Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla).
The sea watch started well it two Great Skua’s (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) chasing each other and a flock of Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) passing to the west. We also recorded 2 more Great Skua’s, many more Balearic’s along with a single Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
After the sea watch we made our way around to the fish port to check through the Gull flocks which roost there to see if we could find any birds that were ringed. On the drive round we picked up Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) both still moving along the coast in small numbers, House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and both Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta).
Once we were in the port we located a largish flock of Gulls which contained all the species of Gull and tern mentioned earlier. We found several Lesser Black-backs with rings along with a single Yellow-legged.
Our last stop was at Charca where we called at several of the hides and did a full loop around the site. The first small hide was quiet but we did add Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) to the bird list and started the dragonflies off with Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum). We pushed on further round to the next hide where several Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) were seen and a nice Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) performed and posed until we got the cameras ready and then disappeared. As we were leaving the spot for the main hide we picked up a couple of male Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) which quickly dropped from the reed tops out of sight.
At the main hide we picked up the only Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) of the morning, 4 more Little Egrets, a single Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), a couple of squabbling Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) for the bird list and Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria), Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) for the dragons.
We continued on passed a newly dig scrap which looks as though it will be interesting once it is completed and into the last hide by the long pool. Here we added females of Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope).
Photographs from the top: Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Ringed Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Ringed Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).