Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Desembocadura del río Andarax, Torre Garcia, Rambla Morales, the Lighthouse and Cabo de Gata Saltpans, Almeria.

Twitching !!!! Thought I was cured but stumbled for a World Lifer just a couple of hours away.

Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor pallidirostris).
I set off down to Almeria and then out to the Desembocadura del río Andarax right on the southern part of the city where I parked amongst hordes of German and French Camper Vans on a car park just to the East of the river bed. The area between the Car park and the sea was a rather rough, unfinished public garden area with a lot of people doing laps but this is where I found the main target bird for the day a Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor pallidirostris) which is a subspecies of Great Grey Shirke from Central Asia. Unlike the Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) which I also saw here it did not sit up high but stayed under the branches of the Tamarisk trees or in the bushes and the only time it went up high was when it was flushed by a car and sat on a roof of one of the little huts. 
Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor pallidirostris).
In the same area I also recorded at least two wintering Wrynecks (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor pallidirostris).
After getting great views of this stunning well behaved bird I moved around the coast to Torre Garcia and out into the sea side vegetation where I searched but only found 2 of the wintering Eurasian Dotterels (Chorlito Carambolo / Eudromias morinellus) during December I had seen 20+ birds in the same area but at least a couple showed up. In the same area I saw Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor pallidirostris).
I again moved on and stopped off next at the hide on the Northern end of the Salinas but generally it was quiet, whoever I did add Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Spoonbills (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Black-tailed (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) and Bar-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor pallidirostris).
I again moved on to Rambla Morales but the water level was low and the pool was vertually devoid of birds except for 3x Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), 1x Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) and 2x Dunlins.
Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla).
Next I went to the Lighthouse where after a tip from Bob Wright I was very pleased to find a flock of around 40 Trumpeter Finches (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus), 3x Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
I retraced my steps back to the Salinas and stopped at the first hide heading back North but again things were very quiet and I only added Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta) and Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
As it was quiet in the area I decided to call it a day at around 13:00 and head home adding Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) on the way.

Trumpeter Finch (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus).
Trumpeter Finch (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus).
Trumpeter Finch (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus).
Trumpeter Finch (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus).
Trumpeter Finch (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus).

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