Monday 6 August 2018

Los Palacios Y Villafranca, Chipiona, Playa de Montijo and Sanlucar de Barrameda

Two Spanish Lifers and a great evening in Sanlucar.

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis).
Jayne and I headed off West along the A92 towards Sevilla and then down to Los Palacios Y Villafranca the El Pantano area just South of the town. On the way I saw Iberian (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis).
After breakfast we went down to the spot by the El Pantano on the southern side of Los Palacios Y Villafranca where I parked in the shade so that Jayne was comfortable reading and I went for a walk along the main track. I quickly built the day list with some Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) which were coming into the reed beds on the far side of the site, Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a couple of Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) which were returning with bills full of small fish.
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).
I then had brief views of the target species when an adult Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) which flew right passed me and down to the water and then up in to a Tamarisk tree where it joined a second bird before flying over to some Prickly Pears right next to where Jayne was sat in the car.
I moved back around to the car and we spent a while watching the one bird fly across the road in front of us several times, it dropped down into a paddock area and collected seed and nest building materials.
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
In this area we also had several European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Western Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido Occidental / Hippolais opaca), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), a group of aroun 50 or so passing White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and of course the Laughing Doves which showed very well, giving me the chance to get a few distant shots.
European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We moved around to the other side of the river and had a look at the wetland area there seeing many more Glossy Ibis, Cattle and Little Egrets, Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), adult and Juvenile Whiskered Terns and loads of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) and Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
From here we headed off south down to Chipiona and found a parking near the port. We then walked down to the beach where Jayne went for a walk along the prom whilst I tried to get some shots of the
Little Swifts (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis) from the Grassy area just outside the port walls. In the same area I picked up Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
Little Swift (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis).
I met Jayne as she was walking back towards the Port, she said she had found a place just down the way where we could have something to eat which we did. 
Little Swift (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis).
Later I dropped Jayne off for a couple of hours in a shopping centre whilst I went down to Playa de Montijo where I parked on the beach and scanned the beach and rocks which had just been exposed by the dropping tide. Straight away I could see loads of birds including 100+ Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), plenty of Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) which were the commonest waders. 
Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans), Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
They were accompanied by 3x Eurasian Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), 4x Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) were joined by 20 or so more birds as the tide dropped, 1x Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica) which came in with one of the groups of Whimbrel but settled to roost amongst the Gulls, Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), 1x Red Knot ( Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus), 1x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 2x Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and 2x Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), a summer plumaged and one winter looking bird.
Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans), Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) and Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
As the tide dropped further good number of Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) started to come in and bath and the roost on the sandbar and rocks, I kept scanning through these birds looking for orange bills but I did not find any so I walked back towards the car and set the scope up again scanning the sea picking up two groups of Scopoli's / Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea / borealis) totalling 13 birds, a single Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and then a loud calling Tern which came in from the East and passed in front of me going to the roost and I soon picked out the Orange bill it had. 
Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).
I jumped to an incorrect ID of it being an adult Lesser-crested Tern (Charrán Bengalés / Thalasseus bengalensis) but because I got some distant shots Javi Elorriaga Bts from Birding The Strait was able to say it was an adult Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans). I walked back along the beach to the main area of sand where the Terns were roosting and I found the adult bathing and what was probably it's juvenile hybrid on the sand but as soon as I got there the second bird flew off along the coast but the adult remained and gave me good views. 
In the same flock I also had a Common Tern (Charrán Común / Sterna hirudo) and a immature Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger). On the beach I also found Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and an immature Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
3x Eurasian Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus).
I returned to the car and then picked up Jayne before we made our way to the hotel Los Helechos in Sanlucar where we chilled for a while before heading out on to the town for drinks and tapas. After eating we went for a walk along the sea front to a bar at the far end prom where we had a drink and sit for a while before walking back. On the way we were passed by the towns tourist train so we took a ride around the town with a good crowd of Spanish tourists and enjoyed it very much before returning to the hotel well shattered but after a cracking night.

OK, a bit of an after note. At the time when I saw these Terns on the beach at Playa Montijo I originally thought that they were Lesser-crested Tern (Charrán Bengalés / Thalasseus bengalensis) but from the photo's above Javi corrected me and said the bird in the shot was an Adult Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans). Today (8th Sept) I was looking through the shots and a penny dropped, the immature hybrid would have a dark bill !!! So I looked at  the shots again and in the one photo I have a Lesser Crested Adult flying over the top of the Elegant which makes more sense as I saw two adult orange billed terns when I first saw them but the one disappeared when I was photographing the other.

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