Wednesday 29 December 2021

Santoña and Santaner areas, Cantabria, Spain.

Catching up with a few year ticks and getting 5 of the 6 targets.
Ebird list for Santoña Port.
Ebird List for Observatorio de La Arenilla.
Ebird List for Polder y Ría de Escalante.
Ebird List for Playa de El Regatón y Ría de Treto.
Ebird List for Marismas Blancas near Santander.
Iceland Gull (Gaviota Groenlandesa / Larus glaucoides).
I left the Apartment in Porrua quite early and I was in Santoña port before first light so I had a coffee and then walked down to the Northern jettie where I set up the scope and started to scan the estuary out towards the sea where I soon saw the first of quite a few Great Northern Divers (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer), in this area I had at least 5 birds including one that came in quite close but the light was not good at all and I only managed some grainy shots.
Iceland Gull (Gaviota Groenlandesa / Larus glaucoides).
In this area I also had a flyby 1st winter
Iceland Gull (Gaviota Groenlandesa / Larus glaucoides) come over the Bull Ring and then off over the town back towards the port where later I also saw the 2nd winter which had been around for some time.
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).

Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).

Before I reached the Fish Port I also recorded Lesser (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which was sat on a smaller jetty and by the Bull ring a couple of  Rock Pipit (Bisbita Costero / Anthus petrosus) which came in off the grassy islands in the estuary and dropped into the building.
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).
I reached to port but there were very few Gulls about except for a few up on the roof of the fish factory, in amongst these I found the 2nd Winter Iceland Gull but there was no sign of the reported Caspian Gull (Gaviota del Caspio / Larus cachinnans).
Bumblebee Species.

Peacock (Aglais io).

From the jettie by the port I scanned the Estuary and soon found
Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Barnacla Carinegra / Branta bernicla) which were right on the other side of the estuary but closer I could see and hear Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus), Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) immature.
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) immature.
I returned to the car and drove around to the Observatorio de La Arenilla where I wañled along the paths in both directions, walking towards Santoña I only added Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Eurasian Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus) but in the other direction I had a great time seeing Slavonian / Horned Grebe (Zampullín Cuellirrojo / Podiceps auritus) and Long-tailed Duck (Pato Havelda / Clangula hyemalis) both for just the second time in Spain, Common Eider (Eider Común / Somateria mollissima) and 10x Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) which were another year tick, also new for the day were Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis).
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) immature.
Just up the road I made another stop along the Polder y Ría de Escalante where a few weeks ago I saw a female Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula) but the tide was a lot higher today and there was no sign of the bird during my short stop but I did see another Great Northern Diver which was quite close in below me, other new species included Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser) x2, White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) x2 and 3x Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) along the crags behind the spot.
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Again I moved on again but this time I went right around to the far side of the Estuary to see if I could find two reported Velvet Scoter (Negrón Especulado / Melanitta fusca) and after a couple of stops along a sandy track called Calle Santander I found them out in the channel beyond the stone barrier. In the same area I also saw several more butterflies, most were Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and more Peacocks but there were also singles of Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua).
Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) x2.
Common (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus).
My final stop of the day was on the way back to Llanes at Marismas Blancas, a freshwater lake just off the motorway near Santander, I was hoping to catch up with a female Greater Scaup (Porrón Bastardo / Aythya marila) which had been around for a while. I soon found the Scaup but it spent most of its time asleep, other species seen were Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only, Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), 100's if not 1000's of Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were arriving to roost, good numbers of Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) which were forming murmurations, Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and 2x Common Gulls (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) which were picked out of the gull flock by Javier Pi Vallina who had arrived with his father Javier, I only managed some bad digiscoped shots.. 
Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula) male.
I spent a very pleasant couple of hours chating and learning about the area whilst we waited hoping for a
Eurasian / Great Bittern (Avetoro Común / Botaurus stellaris) to fly over the reeds but we were not lucky.

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