A rainy days birding and orchid hunting.
Unfortunately RAM had moved on to the summer timetable and Juan and I had to be down on the coast and set up by 07:30, so it was an early start to be there in time to meet up with Jacinto Villalvilla at the parking area before heading up onto the rock where we did the sea watch. It was the first time Jacinto had joined us so it was a little disappointing when the birds did not, during the survey time we only recorded a single Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), around a dozen Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), less Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), 3 Great Skua’s (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) and 3 Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) which did a fly passed at sea. A pair of Peregrine Falcons (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) were seen on a couple of occasions and a few Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) flew along the cliffs. Other birds included Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). We then headed up into the hills looking for Orchids, at the site we found Bug Orchid (Orchis coriophora), Dense-Flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea), Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys forestieri), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) and Small Tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora). Birds included Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), several Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus). Our next stop was at the entrance of Charca de Suarez where we sorted out with Manuel the warden about visiting later, we then went and got some sandwiches before doing some birding on the area which will at some point in the distant future by the sounds of it become part of the reserve. He we picked up males of both Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
At 13:00 we went into the reserve complete with our lunch and almost as soon as we were in it started to rain and it did not fully stop for the whole time we were in there but surprisingly the light was not too bad. We started off in the hide over looking Laguna del Lirio but it was fairly quiet, we only added Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). We next moved around to the first hide which over looks Laguna del Trebol, where after a short while Juan picked up the Baillon’s Crake (Pollueta chica / Porzana pusilla) we had seen at the site a week or so ago Infront of the other hide. From here we also picked up Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and heard both Stripeless Tree (Hyla meridionalis) and Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi). We then made a dash for the next hide which for Juan and Jacinto was the hide where we had just seen the Baillon’s in front of and for me was the main hide. From here I quickly added a female Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) to the day list along with 4 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) which were roosting in the reeds but little else so I walked back around to Juan and Jacinto who had had just a very brief view of the Crake before I arrived, on the way I had views of a female Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) which was perched on the rail fencing along the path. Within seconds of me getting into the hide the Crake was on view again and this time it walked right across between the two stands of reeds and showed extremely well. We all then got the camera’s set up and the bird showed very well on several occasions which gave even me enough to mess about and get some decent shots. A very nice Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) was also seen sat out in the open on top of a sheet of blanket weed, also added from here were nice views of a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). We later walked around to the main hide and saw a male Common Pochard with two females and a couple more Little Egrets which were roosting on the island. During the heavier showers lots of the Sand and House Martins joined the Barn Swallows sitting on the stumps in the water and in the reeds which gave them some protection from the rain. On the way back to the entrance we scanned the new flash but the only bird there was a lone Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). We stopped briefly and had a look over Laguna del Taraje but as the hide only had a reed roof we were getting soaked so we quickly move on and meet up with Manuel and then set off back home.
Photographs from the top: 3x Baillon’s Crake (Pollueta chica / Porzana pusilla) the third shot was taken by Jacinto Villalvilla, Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), 2x Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur)