Tuesday, 12 January 2021

El Pantano, Brazo del Este in Sevilla Province and Chipiona Port, Coasta Ballen in Cadiz Province, Spain.

A few days birding before the up coming lockdown.
 
Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) after being flushed by a hunting
Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
As it is just as easy for me to isolate out birding as it is to stay home I decided to go over and do some birding, my first stop was in the area near the El Pantano wetland just to the south of Los Palacios.
Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata).
I walked the rather muddy track along the river back viewing the reedbeds and pools, there were 3 Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) up hunting in the early morning light causing mayhem amongst the Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) and Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) which were the 3 commonest species on site.
Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).
As the light started to improve I saw several
White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) passing to the North of the area and larger numbers of Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) coming out of their roosts sites and heading out to feed. There were also good numbers of Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) flying past me in small flocks, Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and several Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) letting everyone know they were awake with their loud calls.
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis).
On the pools amongst the reeds I also had
Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) and in the trees opposite Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Spotless Starling  (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis).
I walked around tothe other side of the Rio and checked the fields there adding Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and then for just a few seconds a pair of Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) as they flew passed me and landed in one of the Eucalyptus Trees, one remained in view for a second or two and I got off a couple of bad shots.
Western Swamp-hens (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), some of the many seen.
I returned to the car very happy after seeing these uncommon birds and adding Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and several Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) which flew over. I had one of the sandwiches I had packed for breakfast and headed on to Brazo del Este.
Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), one of the smaller flocks.
I drove in along the road from Los Palacios which was having some much needed resurfacing work done so the traffic was stopped for sometime on a couple of occasions which gave me time to scanned the flooded fields on my right which contained large numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and a few Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).

Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
I turned onto the main track which was not as muddy as I had expected after all the rain that there had enn in the area and on the Rice fields and pools on the left I found very large numbers od roosting Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Glossy Ibis, a few more Eurasian Spoonbills, Mallards, lots of Shoverlers and Western Purple Swamp/hens.
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) dropping ack in after being flushed by the Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).

Around the margins there were
White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Meadow Pipits, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and in the air several hunting Marsh Harriers which seemed to be enjoying the commotion they were causing.
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
A little further along the track I checked the pools again adding a single
Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and 2x Caspian Terns (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia) the first of several seen.
Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).

Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) hunting over the reedbeds.
Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) hunting over the reedbeds.
I reached the first crossing of the river where straight away another Caspian Tern came in and did a nice flyby giving me the chance to take a few shots before it flew off. 
Caspian Tern (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia).
Caspian Tern (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia).
Caspian Tern (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia).
Out on the river there were less birds than on my last visit but I still found Great Cormorant, a couple of
Great Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba), a passing Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and a good number of feeding House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a nice male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
I continued on to the second river crossing where there were 2x
Western Ospreys (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) one that was sat on a distant post and one which was up fishing, a Black Stork (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra), a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which was sat up on a pylon, a pale morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and a calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus).
Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).

Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
I turned around and checked the other side of the water finding
Black-headed Weavers (Ploceus melanocephalus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and a calling Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I returned to the first river crossing, on the way a group of Golden Plovers flew across the track. Once back at the water I had a third Western Osprey, 5x Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) a large group of Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) and a juv / female ringtail Harrier which flew in and landed on a tall post. I assumed it was a Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) until I got the scope on it when I was surprised to see a large very obvious pale bower around its neck but unfortunately I didn't get a shot as I was concentrating on watching so It will have to go down as a possible Pallid Harrier (Aguilucho Papialbo / Circus macrourus) as missed it in flight when it disappeared.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
I gave it over an hour and the Harrier did not return so I headed off towards Chipiona, on the way I had a Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), a Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) and then an actual female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which flew across the road.
Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago).
I reached the port in Chipiona where I spent quite a while looking for Gulls finding
Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) but none of the more uncommon species.
Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus).

Also seen were a few
Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).

After quite a while I drove down to the large pool at Costa Ballena on the urbaniation where on the drive in I had a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) flying around the Lantarna flowers.
Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia) roosting on the side of the pool.

Once I was out at the pool I soon found a very smart male
Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta) and then a group of 20 Greenshank which were roosting on the concrete margin of the pool.
Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).

As I was watching the beautifull Greenshanks I picked up a Gull feeding more Tern like on the far side of the lake which showed dark wing markings, as it came closer it proved to be a 1st winter
Little Gull (Gaviota Enana / Larus minutus) which flew around for a while and then landed amongst the other roosting gulls. Unfortunately the Gull appeared to have a broken leg which dangled in flight.
Little Gull (Gaviota Enana / Larus minutus).
I scanned the roost and found the Little Gull as well as a
Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) and a winter plumage Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) but before I could get there a guy let his dog off the lead and actually encouraged the ********hound to chase everything.
As you can image I was not a happy Bunny and within a few seconds the guy was understanding this quite clearly.
Little Gull (Gaviota Enana / Larus minutus).
Little Gull (Gaviota Enana / Larus minutus).

After I had calmed down a tad I continued watching the Little Gull and unsuccessfully looked for the Common again but it had gone, other species seen included Grey Heron, Little Egret, Crag and House Martins and several Barn Swallows.
I returned to the port at Chipiona but didn't find any of the Gull but did see at least 5 Little Swifts (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis) which was a great way to end this first day. I went to the hotel in Sanlucar where again the receptionist was behind the screen and the key was sanitized as it was given to me, I got to my room and that was it for the night.

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