Sunday, 10 January 2016

Ortigueira, Cariño and Lagoa da Frouxeira, A Coruna, Galicia.

A mixed day weather wise but with 4 Spanish lifers seen it can not be bad.

Jayne and I headed North past Ferrol and up to the estuary at Ortigueira where it was low tide when we arrived and the exposed flats were covered with birds. The commonest species by far were Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata), Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) and Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus) closely followed by Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus). In the same area there were lesser numbers of Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) x2 and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Bar-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), a single adult Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus) and a few wintering Spoonbills (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia).
Whilst I was scanning through the flocks of duck I picked out a very smart male Greater Scaup (Porrón Bastardo / Aythya marila) and in the deeper channel that passed behind the main island there were 3 winter plumaged Great Northern Divers (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) both species were new to me in Spain. 
In the same area I also recorded 2x Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).
Whilst I was at this cracking spot two Spanish birders turned up and we had a bit of a chat about the species there and then a little later just as I was about to leave three more birders arrived and I was able to get some good info from them.
My next stop was at the main harbour in the town of Cariño where with the help of the first two birders I was soon watching a superb winter plumaged adult Bonaparte's Gull (Gaviota de Bonaparte / Larus philadelphia) which showed brilliantly along the nearest part of the harbour wall. In the same area there were several Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), a couple of Razorbills (Alca Común / Alca torda), Shag, Great Cormorant, Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Our final stop of the day was 40 minutes back along the coast at the coastal wetland of Lagoa da Frouxeira but on the way the weather started to deteriorate and by the time we got there it was down right horrible so I had a very wet walk whilst Jayne stayed in the dry with a book. On the walk down the side of the lake I saw lots of Mallards, Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Common Pochards, a couple of Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, a single female Greater Scaup, lots of Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and several Black-necked, masses of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), a single Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and the star a female Ring-necked Duck (Porrón Acollarado / Aythya collaris). 
In the trees surrounding the pool I also saw Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and on a pool side rock a splendid Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis). The rain got heavier and in the end every thing was steaming up so I gave in and returned to the car but not before having a scan through the birds at the seaward end of the pool which were almost all Gull already mention but with a few Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola) and a single Greenshank in the flock. The rain continued all the way back to Santiargo so we stayed in at the hotel for the night.

Photographs from the top: 2x Bonaparte's Gull (Gaviota de Bonaparte / Larus philadelphia), 2x Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and 2x Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).

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