Tuesday 15 September 2020

Los Caños de Meca, La Janda, Cadiz Province.

A bit of a Seawatch before a day on La Janda.
Snails on the roadside.
I got up and headed over the road to the top of the steps where I set up the scope and scanned to see what was passing. It was calmer but I still had 23x Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and 15x
Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis), 5x Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Before breakfast I also saw Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) lots heading south, Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata).
Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
After Breakfast we drove down to the Northern entrance off the road down to Tarifa, on the canal we saw a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), several White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) waiting for the thermals to start building, a female Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Barn Swallow and a flight of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) pushing through south.
Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Down towards the junction out to the farm we had a pair of beautiful Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) with the male dispalying hard to the female, the first of a few Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and further along the canal Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), some huge flocks of House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and a good number of Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) mixed in with them.
Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
After a coffee just down the road we returned to the track out along the canal and before turning and heading for the farm we had another view of the Black-winged Kites, a very nice Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which perched nicely for a little while and up on the blue sluice gates Little and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were roosting along with a few Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and down on the track side we saw several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Banded Groundlings (Brachythemis leucosticta) and a couple of Swallowtails (Papilio machaon).
Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
We turned at the crossing and had another look at the pair of Black-winged Kites there as well as an immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) before driving up to the farm, on the way we had another couple of Houney Buzzards, Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), masses of Goldfinches and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and amongst the wild Olives a couple of soaring Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and in a small flock of passage birds both Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus).
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).

At the end of the road we turned right and went out on the track for just a couple of KMs but it was quiet and we only saw another Montagu's and lots of Common Stonechats so we turned around and added for a coffee at Benalup. On the way we stopped a few time adding Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis) and as we dropped down to a wet but quite bare Rice Paddy on our left we saw a group of Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), several Western Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), more Green Sandpipers and then a group of Montagu's Harriers which appeared to be bathing but we soon realized that one bird was actually stuck in the water. 
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).

After trying to think who we could call and came up with nothing I decided to find a way in and then waded the 40 meters or so out to the bird, it tried to flap away but was so water logged I soon caught it and after a short battle with its talons I got hold of it and started back to dry land.

I got back to the car and the walked on for a few hundred yards to a stubble field away from the water where I released the bird, later we drove ack past the spot and the bird had moved up on to a ridge and was looking much etter and almost fully dried out.
Immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).

We had a coffee and then came back to the area, on the way back in we saw 3 Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) near the cows carcass we had seen a couple of days ago and along the road up to the dam a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Small (Pieris rapae) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
Birds on the watering bar.
We took the road up throught the Olive woods again seeing a female Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) on the way and lots of Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) lower down feeding on the sunflower heads.
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
We turned left along the canal and again saw the Kites as well as a fleeting Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), lots of House Sparrows again with several fine looking male Spanish Sparrow mixed in with them and the one of the most wanted species for Kate and Jim a Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea).
Immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) stuck in the water.
Kates photo as I got to the harrier.

After watching the heron we returned to the main road and headed back to the hotel along the coast road via Zahara de los Atunes and Barbate, on the way we saw
Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) and lots of Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
We reached Barbate where we had something to eat before returning to Los Caños de Meca.
Immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) looking much dryer.

Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).
Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea).

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