Sunday, 27 April 2014

Barbate Marismas, Vejer, La Janda, Tarifa and Sierra de Plata, Cadiz Province.

Coast, Wetlands and Mountains and a lifer for the guide !!!!
GRANADA WILDLIFE'S Spring Tour.
Day Two.


After a very nice breakfast at the Hotel Paso we headed out along the road to and around Barbate to check out the Marismas and coast just to the South of the town. We arrived and on a small pool by the side of the track we started the days birding with a very smart Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), a very nicely plumaged Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). After watching this nice selection we moved just a few hundred meters up the track to where we had a nice vantage point over looking the pools. From our view point we started to locate an amazing number and selection of birds, waders included Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) along with many more Black-winged Stilts, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, masses of Sanderling and good numbers of Little Stints. Lynda then picked up the first of what must have been 150 Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) on the shore not to far from us and whilst we were watching these we also got nice views of both Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). Back out on the water we also had Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and lots more Spoonbills. We then checked out a few Larks which were singing behind us which turned out to be very smart Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), which were followed by a Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) on a nearby post and two Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) which passed right through the site and continued on up the valley towards Vejer. Back out on the water we finished a very busy hour or so of birding with several Little (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons) and Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and a fly passed Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus). Other species seen here included House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), a single flyover Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). 
Our next stop was just across the road where we checked out the small roadside pools and a saltwater creek on the seaward side of the road adding a couple of summer plumaged Ruddy Turnstones (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) to the trip list. Out on the board walk to the beach we had a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and more Crested Larks before scanning out to sea and picking up Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and several more Gull-billed Terns. In a flat scrap in the dune we had a pair of Kentish Plovers and a couple more Crested Larks as well as several plant species including Sand Lotus (Lotus creticus), Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), the leaves of Sea Daffodil (Pancratium maritimum) and Fleshy-leaved Thymelaea (Thymelaea hirsuta).
Once we got back to the minibus we headed back along the road to Vejer making a quick roadside stop for a Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) which was perched on an electricity cable. Just below Vejer we stopped and had another look at the colony of Bald Ibis (Ibis Eremita / Geronticus eremita) on the cliffs, they are not exactly good looking birds but there is something very special about having the chance to see such a globally threatened bird. In the same area we had nice views of the colony of the much commoner Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and heard several Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) singing from the river side scrub.
When we had got our photographs and watched the Ibis for long enough we made our way south to the La Janda area and entered the site via the Northern entry point, almost straight away we were watching Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) feeding over the main canal and in the reeds we could hear both Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) the former was sat on top of a large reed head. As we scanned around the area we soon picked up our first of 4 or so Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which was perched in a distant tree, guessing we wanted better views the bird flew from the tree straight over our heads and started to feed over a nearby field (wish all birds performed like this one). We spent quite some time making our way slowly along the track until we reached the track which crossed the river, during this time we added White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), heard Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
As soon as we turned the corned we encountered the first of a great many Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) which was circling the nearby Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) breeding colony where we had great views from the vehicle of both species and also picked up a flying Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).
On the track out towards the farm we stopped at a large dranage canal and picked up Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta). A little further on we had good views of the first of many Pheasants (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus). Just passed the farm we made a short stop in amongst the wild olive woods and had views of a great many more Black Kites, a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a single Green-Striped White (Euchloe belemia). The verges and fields around this area were quite nice for wildflowers and we recorded Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa) and more.
We moved on again and dropped down on to the lower track out in to the fields, we drove along here for quite a few KM looking for raptors but apart from adding Common (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) we did not do to well, howevere we did see more Glosy Ibis, Cattle Egrets and White Storks and added several new species including Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and a guide only Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) which flew over the van and disappeared. After giving the area a good going we retraced our way back through the wild Olives, passed the farm and made a stop back by the large drainage canal for a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which was perched on a pylon, as we came to a stop the bird took off so we had great views of it in flight. At this point Judy called that there was another raptor above the eagle and that it looked different, after a few seconds I located this second bird and said every one out of the van and find it as it was a fine immature Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti). Even though the bird was quite high we had good views and watched it drift slowly over for a few minutes. In this area we also had a couple of dragonfly species fly by, both male and female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope).
From here we continued on passed the heronery and turned back onto the main track along side the canal, time was moving on and we needed some food so we headed quite quickly along this stretch but still saw several Purple Swamp-hens (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) on the way. Just before we reached the food stop we made an emergancy stop on a side roade for a raptor which was circling off to our left which turned out to be the trips only Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus),it was a cracking adult bird and soared around us for a while before pushing of with a couple of Griffons.
We stopped for lunch in a roadside bar in the town of Tahivilla and then pushed on down to Tarifa to have a look for the recently reported Common Bulbul (Bulbul Naranjero / Pycnonotus barbatus) which were breeding in the area for the second summer. With directions from a guest Rob Jones from Wales in the UK we searched an area on the edge of town and after a while Nick and Mike located three birds in a palm tree feeding. The first bird seen was an adult and this was followed by two of the young birds. We had great views of the birds before they departed over the town. In the same area we saw Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and heard Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) which were new for the day.
We were going to check out the pools on Los Lances beach but due to the fact that the muppets kite surfing were on the pool as well as the sea we decided that it would be pointless and headed for Sierra Plata instead.
Once we were on site we had a walk along the road checking the woodlands as we went but they were amazingly quiet and we added just Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) both just heard and Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca). Once back at the cave area we picked up several Griffon Vultures, Booted and Short-toed Eagle, Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Common Kestrel and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) but not a single Swift species put in an appearance. In the area we also had a couple of butterfly species including Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Small White (Artogeia rapae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia).
We gave the Swifts until 19:30 and then motored back up to Hotel Paso for our second night there, during which I heard at least three Tawny Owls (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco) but could not get the Scop's (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops).

Photographs from the top: Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Bald Ibis (Ibis Eremita / Geronticus eremita), Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus),  The group at La Janda, Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) X2, Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Common Bulbul (Bulbul Naranjero / Pycnonotus barbatus), The group at Tarifa (Lynda, John, Mike, Judy and Nick), View from Sierra Plata and Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).

3 comments:

stiefbeen said...

o wat is dit mooi als ik dit leest en bekijkt is het net of je er bij bent.

Steve Jones said...

Fantastic shot of the Short-toed Eagle Mick

Edmund Mackrill said...

Excellent read. What a diversity of species.