Novembers RAM, a visit to the Port and Charca.
Juan Perez and I again made our way down to what I had expected to be a wet and dull coast for Novembers RAM but we were both pleasantly surprise when it was nice and sunny but windy when we arrived. On the way I saw a small flock of Hirundines from one of the motorway bridges, most of the birds were Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) but there was at least one House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) amongst them.
After parking up we made our way out to the headland and set our selves up for the next couple of hours of breezy sea watching. Numbers of birds were up due mainly to the wind blowing things closer in to the shore, Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) were probably the commonest species counted, several hundred birds of all age groups being seen. Both Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) passed in small flocks and at least three Great Skua's (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) were seen usually harassing the Shearwaters. Other birds recorded included Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) but not a single Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) was seen here or at the port later. More land based birds included Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and a swift fly-by by a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus).
In the port we were disappointed with Gull numbers but there was a lot of activity with more of the large concrete storage areas where the Gulls usually roost being full. We did get numbers of a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and also added Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) to the list.
Our final stop was a brief rush to a couple of the hides at Charca del Suarez, here got some cracking views of a winter plumaged Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), loads of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), a couple of Purple Swamp-hens (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and a very nice Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which passed low over the hide. Three species of dragonfly were still on the wing, Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta).
Other birds recorded here included Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Crag Martin and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Juan dropped me off at the car park near Aki and instead of going on the motorway I went back across country to Santa Fe and joined the A92 there mainly due to the traffic at the roundabout exiting the car park. On the way I saw a male Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) another Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), a small flock of around 40 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and a single Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
Photographs from the top: ringed Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), adult Yellow-legged Gull, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), 2x Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).