Friday 10 February 2017

Monzón de Campos, Palencia Province to Home, Granada Province.

A long drive south.

It was a long drive but with out incident. I did pick up a few nice species on the way including a single Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) flying along side us which Jayne found as well as both Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) just to the North of Madrid.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Laguna de Boada and Nava and Palencia, Palencia Province.

Heading part of the way home with another Spanish Lifer.

Greater White-fronted Geese (Ánsar Careto / Anser albifrons) and others.
We were up and out fairly early and after fetching the car and having some breakfast we started to drive to our last nights stop in Monzón de Campos just to the North of Palencia. The journey south was only notable for the rain, snow and fog but once we were over the hills and down towards León things cleared up, I did see Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus),Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) on the way.
View over the main pool from the tower hide at Laguna de la Nava.
I had put Laguna de Boada into the Satnav and she took us there but not before we had unknowingly passed several easier ways in. The track we went along was rough to say the least and we damaged beyond repair the Plastic engine protector which we had to rip off later. Anyway once at the Laguna I scanned the area and was very pleased to find a single Tundra Bean Goose (Ánsar Campestre / Anser fabalis fabalis) on the front edge of the 200 or so Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser). in the same area I also had views of Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), a single Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), lots of Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria) and Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) as well as Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis). I could not see any of the other Geese that had been in the area so we went a few KMs up the road to Laguna de la Nava where I checked the first hide but apart from a few Greylags and a couple of Mute Swans (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor) it was quiet so I went to the opposite end of the area and walked out to the tower hide and scanned the water and fields from there which was far more successful. On the water there were many of the species already seen along with at least 15 Greater White-fronted Geese (Ánsar Careto / Anser albifrons), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), 10+ Great White Egrets (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and on distant fields a flock of 25+ Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) which was a great way to finish the days birding.
We then went into Palencia for some lunch and later went up and checked in to the very nice little hotel in Monzón de Campos called La Concordia, which was family run and very nice. 
After dropping our stuff off we went back into Palencia and spent the rest of the day there having a very pleasant wander around the city centre before going back to the Hotel. We then went into the Restaurant opposite which was run by the hotel owners brother and had some of the best food we have ever had in Spain, it was a superb way to finish the final night of our winter trip off.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Gijón, Asturias.

A long morning walk and a good wander around the town.

After a good nights sleep Jayne and I walked the full length of Playa de San Lorenzo and then out to Playa de Los Mayanes. During the walk w saw Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), a female Common Scoter (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) x7, Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), a single Greylag Goose (Ansar Común / Anser anser) which flew along the beach, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone).
The rest of the day was spent around the centre of town where we had an OKish lunch and an Indian meal in the evening before gong back to the hostel.

Monday 6 February 2017

Santona, Sollagua, Cantabria and travelling to Gijon, Asturias.

A trip over to Gijón via Santona for a couple more Spanish Lifers.

Hudsonian Whimbrel (Zarapito de Hudson / Numenius hudsonicus).
We packed our things, had a good breakfast and then started to head back West along the coast, calling in at Santona on the way as there were a couple of species I had missed on my last vist that I wanted to have a look for as I had seen on the net that they were still about and were seen from the hide near the town. I was looking for Red-breasted Merganser (Serreta Mediana / Mergus serrator) and Common Eider (Eider Común / Somateria mollissima) but when I reached the hide I did not see either species but did find Rock (Bisbita Costero / Anthus petrosus) and Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Black-necked (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) x2, good numbers of Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Barnacla Carinegra / Branta bernicla), Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus) and Grey Plovers (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola).
Hudsonian Whimbrel (Zarapito de Hudson / Numenius hudsonicus).
We popped up to the port quickly and saw the Black-throated Diver (Colimbo Ártico / Gavia arctica) but it was well out in the estuary this time along with two more Great Northerns, on the jetties there were 8 Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and a couple of Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phala crocroax carbo).
Hudsonian Whimbrel (Zarapito de Hudson / Numenius hudsonicus).
Going back past the hide I stopped again briefly to see if a Diver I had seen earlier had come any closer and it had and this time I could Identify it as a winter plumaged Red-throated Diver (Colimbo Chico / Gavia stellata) as I had suspected but after just a few minutes the bird started to run along the surface and took to the air and then flew passed and out towards the sea. Another birder then came in briefly and I gleened a bit of info about the birds I had wanted and found that I would be better at the spot where I had visited a few days earlier for the Whimbrel.
Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia).
We moved further around the bay, on the way I had good views of a Great White Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) before parking and again meeting the same birder who had come for the Hudsonian Whimbrel (Zarapito de Hudson / Numenius hudsonicus). I walked through to the site just as a group of Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) were flying passed along with the Hudsonian which stuck out really well in amongst the group. In the same area I also had Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and at least 3 Velvet Scoters (Negrón Especulado / Melanitta fusca). The Guy I had net earlier said that I might do better for the Mergansers and Eider a little further along the shore line so I had a walk picking up 2 Dunnocks (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and a calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus).
Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia).
Up on the bank looking over the estuary I soon found 3x Common Eiders (Eider Común / Somateria mollissima) but no Mergansers, also seen was a 1st winter Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) feeding along with a good many Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis).
We continued on our way once I had finished at this site and arrived at Gijón late in the afternoon and eventually found our hotel near the beach. Later we had a good walk along the eastern beach before having a meal in the town and returned to the hotel.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Ondarroa and central Bilbao, Bilbao, Cantabria.

A wet visit to Ondarroa port and a chance meeting with a local birder.

Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus).
Jayne and I headed out from the hotel in the rain which developed into sleet and snow as well as low cloud and fog, all of which made for an interesting drive. 
Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus).
We eventually reached the port and found a parking space, due to the weather Jayne sensibly stayed in the car and I walked down to the port where almost straight away I bumped into Juan Andres who's interesting and helpful blog http://juankarandres.blogspot.com.es/ I have been following for some time. 
Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus).
We spent an hour or so checking through the Gulls on site but the best we could do was a smart Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) as well as lots of Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and several Ruddy Turnstones (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres).
Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus).
The weather was getting no better so we made our way back to Bilbao where we had some lunch before going into the Fine Arts Museum in the center and then found and took a ride on the cities funicular railway to the top of the hill. 
2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) ???
On a much better day you get a view out over the city but today we were lucky not to be washed or blown off the top so we returned to the town and had a couple of drinks, the one in a nice bar called Churchills. 
2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) ???
Jayne had a Gin and Tonic which was a tad steep at €11 but worth it as the chap behind the bar did work hard on making it special and Jayne said it tasted good but I did have a very quiet sense of humour failure at €4.50 for a small bottle of coke light and a bit of ice !!!! 
2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) ???
We later had some tapas again before returning to our hotel for our last night in Bilbao.
2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) ???