A cracking couple of hours at the river mouth.
I dropped Pippa and Jayne off in the town to have a look around the market and to wander around the shops whilst I went to the Rio Velez where on my last couple of visits I have seen very little but today was much better. I parked down near the pump house and except for a couple of the weirdo's that are usually hanging around here the place was quiet or so I though, after giving the first stretch of river a scan and picking up a few species for the day list including Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and a party of three Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) which flew east west along the beach and out of sight. As the Pratincoles disappeared another birder came down the river but he missed them and had not seen a great deal else, we had a chat and the moved on along the bank of the river and in to the reed area around the beach pool, in this area we had views of Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and both Yellow (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). At this point I stopped to get some views of the Dragonflies that were knocking around and the other chap wander off out towards the beach, the dragons included Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii). After a short while I made my way out of the reeds and caught up with the chap again and we flushed a female type Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) out of the Juncus tussucks and into the open on a shaft of Giant Reed along the track, we also saw several
Common Waxbills (Estrilda astrild) at ths point we bumped into a German birder but apart from the Pratincoles he had not seen anything else of interest. I continued to try and get some shots of this bird while the other birder went on to the beach, after a while I again caught up with himand he told me that there was a dead Gull on the beach with some rings on so I went and removed them and have since sent them off to the coordinators. Out on the beach I picked up Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and a couple of distant Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) before scanning the river and finding a group of migrating Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) along with a single House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and quite a few of the resident Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). The other birder then headed off and I continued on to the fields to the east of the river to check out the irrigation channels, during the walk around this area I picked up Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). I then moved back out on to the main river and almost straight away had great views of the first of two Ospreys (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) at the site, this first bird made several attempts to catch fish before resting on a nearby pylon where I got a few shots of it. After a while it started to fish again and just out of my sight behind the large stands of giant reeds it was successful and it flew of some distance inland with its catch, whist watching this bird fly off I heard a loud splash just behind me and a second bird had slipped in unseen and made a catch and followed the first one up river. I then spent some time sat on a log trying to get some shots of the Bluethroat seen earlier but it did not cooperate and remain distant but it was joined by a much brighter male for a shot while but both birds stayed in cover. Whilst sitting here an immature male Yellow Crowned Bishop (Eucleptes afer) sat in a Juncus patch for a while and let me get a few shots as did a friendly Zitting Cisticola. One of the Ospreys then returned so I walked out the edge of the river to get some more flight shot and unexpectedly flushed a migrating Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) from the Juncus and had brief views of a group of three male and a female Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) which landed in the nearby Giant Reeds
but before I got the camera around and on to them they flew off east. Other species seen around here included Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). I was coming close to the end of the time I had before I picked the girls up so I took a short walk up river and picked off a few more species for a good day list including Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a fly by Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis). After meeting the girls we went and had some lunch at one of the beach side bars, on the way Jayne pointed out a group of Monk Parakeets building a nesyt in one of the 1st line palm trees.
On the way home I added a couple more species to the list including Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
I finished the day with 68 species 62 of which were seen on the river which is probably the best total I have had at the site.
Photographs from the top: Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) x3, Yellow Crowned Bishop (Eucleptes afer), Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).