Sunday, 29 January 2012

Chipiona, Sanlúcar, Bonanza Salt Pans and the Journey home, Cadiz Province.

The last day of the trip.

Our last day and after yet another good breakfast we headed off North West to Chipiona again where I was hoping to catch up with the Little Swifts (Vencejo Moro Culiblanco / Apus affinus) in what is meant to be its most reliable site in Spain but again there was no sign of any birds either around the disused factory or over the town. The journey was worth it though as I caught up with a flock of 6 Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus) which flew past out to sea, a Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) which was close into shore, more Caspian (Pagaza Piquirroja / Sterna caspia) and Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and a single Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica) which right on cue flew off to join the passing flock of Pied Oystercatchers and showed its bar-less wings. We then went and had a walk along the sea front at Sanlúcar, the sun was out but the wind was very cool when it whistled down the front. Along the beach I picked up another couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and a single Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) which soon pushed off in land. We returned to the car after having a coffee and made our way eventually after getting slightly misplaced in the centre of town to Bonanza Salt Pans. Along the entrance road the first birds seen were Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), a group of 12 Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), a couple of Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), a few cracking Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei) and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus). Further along we saw the first Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), a single Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and up on the wires beside the track a flock of around 20 Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and at least 2 Common (Spotty) Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris). At the end of the main track I decided to turn right after around 200 yards on the left hand side the bank gets a bit lower and you get a view over the salt marsh type habitat. The first bird picked up was a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which disappeared into a bush, this was followed by singles of Black Stork (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra) and Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus). We continued on adding a single Lesser Short-toed Lark (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) which was feeding out on the track and a couple of Great White Egrets (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) along one of the ditches out on the salt marsh. At the end of the track the pools were quiet mainly due to a couple of people who were walking out in the marsh and had flush most of the birds. We did add a couple of Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluvialis squatarola) and a distant flock of around 10 Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) which were following the path of the river. Other species recorded here included Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), a couple of hundred Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) and Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata).
We then went back towards Sanlucar and found a cracking place to eat called Publo something, the sea food was out standing, we started with a cracking mixed salad and a plate of stuffed peppers for starters, then a bowl of garlic Prawns between us and this was followed by a sea food and rice mix (similar to Paella but wetter). This cracking meal more than made up for the disappointing meal we had in Puerto. We then started the trip home via Jerez de la Frontera, Olvera, Campillos and Antequera, on the way we saw 2 Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and quite a few Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Photographs from the top: Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Great White Egrets (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluvialis squatarola) and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).

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