Saturday 25 July 2020

Los Palacios y Villafranca, Brazo del Este, Bonanza Pools and Saltpans, Cadiz Province, Spain.

Travelling west for tomorrows Pelagic trip off Rota.

Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
I decided to head over to Cadiz Province a day early to make a bit of a trip of chance to go out on one of the Pelagic trips organised by Javi from irding the Strait. I set the alarm for 04.00 and hit the road about 04.40 heading for my first stop near the town of Los Palacios y Villafranca, it was dark for most of the drive but I still started the species list off with Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) and along the motorway a Red Fox (Zorro / Vulpus vulpus) which managed to dodge the bit of traffic there was out in the early hours and several Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) most scattering in the right direction but one that did'nt and was hit by the car infront of me, shame.
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
After stopping for some breakfast I started to pick up a few new species as the sun came up including Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), 50 or so Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) on a freshly cut lucerne field, White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) most sat up on their nest on roadside pylons, gangs of Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) heading out from their roost site to feed on the surrounding fields, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a flappy Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) which put in just enough effort to skim over my windscreen.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Once at the first spot of the day I parked and had a walk along a track on the North bank of the dry river, I decided to go this way first as there was an incredible amount of bird noise but as soon as I could see water I found out why. 4 young lads with around 8 dogs were causing absolute mayhem in the reed beds, the lads were throwing dog treats out in to the area and the dogs were going after them causing loads of disturbance.
Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides).
Being 4 of them with 8 large dogs I did not chanllenge them directly but I dd make sure they knew I was there and watching them and within 5 minutes they but not all their dogs had exited the site. They watched me as I walked back and got into my car and went around to the road on the opposite bank and made sure they knew I was watching them again.  
White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).
They watched me untill all there dogs were out of the site, I turned around and again stopped opposite them but this time I raised the camera and took a shot, at this two of the lads shouted across and started to come in my direction so I drove off and parked behind some Prickly pears nearby and waited for them to leave before I continued to bird in the area.
Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).
I went ack onto the track I was first on and scanned the now quiter pools finding the first of a great many Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Goldfinch, Western Cattle Egret, Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) a pair were feeding well grown youngsters in a Prickly Pear plant, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), a few Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) a couple still in the roost but most returning after being disturbed ealier as were several Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and over the water there were quite a few Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
I again walked back to the car and checked out some pools back up the river bed, I soon found a few new wader species including one of the best Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) along with Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Ringed (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), the first of several Wood (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).
Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus).
In the same area I also had views of Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and a few very smart Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) roosting.
All the time when I was at this site I was seening masses of Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) on all the low vegetation , this continued on all day and later in the day out on the Rice Paddies there were even more, during the day there must have been 100,000s most teneral insects.
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
I drove around the town and out onto another dirt track heading out towards Braza del Este, on the way I stopped off at a Cerro de las Cigüeñas another small wet land but the disturbance continued with a group of powered para-gliders skirting the wetland. 
Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) and 2x Great Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba).
Anyway I set up the scope and scanned the heronry, finding Night, Grey, Purple and Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) as well as Western Cattle and Little Egrets and again loads of Glossy Ibis.
Mix of birds, I have found 12 species.
Lower down in the reed beds there were adult and the young of Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a couple of adult Western Swamp-hens (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Mallards, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, White Stork, Black-winged Stilts and plenty of Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and along the dry river behind me the first of several Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and several more Collared Pratincoles which were hawking insects, I suspect catching some of the masses of Red-veined Darters.
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
I continued on following the dry river up to the main drive across the site, on the way seeing Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow-crowned Bishop (Euplectes afer), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and a single Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) which flew across the road and continued on over the Cotton fields.
Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) a quarter of the feeding flock.
Eventually I reached the main track across the site and just as I started out along it I got some nice views of an adult Night Heron sat on a post. At the first of the wet areas there were lots of birds either roosting or feeding including large numers of Whiskered Terns, Glossy Ibis, White Storks, a few Western Swamp-hens (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) x7, Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea) x2, Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax) x1, Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) lots, Black-winged Stilts and half a dozen Avocets (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta). 
White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala).
Out on the water there were a few Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallards, Squacco Heron, Little Egrets and several Western Cattles.
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
I moved on up the track to the second area of water and there were hundreds of Whiskered Terns roosting along with 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Wood, Green and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), a single Collared Pratincole, Ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Avocet, the first of quite a few Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Glossy Ibis, Little Egrets, Grey and Purple Herons, White Storks, Zitting Cisticola, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Yellow Wagtail, Spoonbill and 2x Great Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) mixed in with the Spoonbills and smaller Egrets.
Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
I continued on along the track checking the wet areas all the way to the end of the road, adding Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), 2 x female Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and at the junction there were hundreds of Collared Pratincoles feeding, quite a sight and sound experiance.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I left the site and headed for the saltpans near Bonanza via some small pools on the way, as I drove over I had Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea).
On the way to the pools I got some food and then checked them out but the water levels and colour were not good so bird numers were low, however I added White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and saw more Squacco and Purple Herons, Black-winged Stilts, Green Sandpiper, Black Kite, Common Pochard but nothing else.
Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea).
I then drove around to the back pool which looked in much better condition but held nothing new before heading out to the saltpans. On the drive out to the pump house there were loads of Curlew Sandpipers, Several Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) x6, Black-tailed Godwits and Greater Flamingo's.
Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea).
On the top track down to the Pump house there were lots of Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis and White Storks along the ditches and out at the pumping station Little (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), Caspian (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia) and Gull-billed Terns, Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei) and 6x Lesser Short-toed Larks (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) did a fly by. 
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
There were two Spanish guys there with nets and the were catching the small shrimps tht are used to make the famous Tortilla de Camarones, which is basiclly a Shrimp rosti, superb and I had some later in the evening.
Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
On the far shore there were a few waders including a single Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Ruff and a few summer plumaged Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina).
Fishing for Camarones.
As I drove back towards the entrance I had both Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei).
My last stop of the day was along the track around the Laguna del Tarelo, the only new species was Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) but there were loads of Egrets and Heron and big numbers of Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) x50+.
Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei).
Out the ack on the marsh there were Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff and Dunlin.
Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).
I left the site and headed into Sanlucar de Barrameda and to the hotel. Later I went out for a walk and something to eat in the town, lots of good memories.
Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia).

Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) immature.

Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).

Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax).

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