Saturday 1 January 2022

Santoña and Santaner areas, Cantabria, Spain.

Getting the Year list off to a good start.

Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).
I set off too early yet again and arrived at the Ría de Escalante near to Santoña half an hour before light but still managed to get a few species in the dark including Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope).
Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula).
As the light came up I got the scope out and walked to the observatory and scanned the river, the tide was out but down in the channel I could see two immature Great Northern Divers (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and then the female Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula), the main bird I had come to this spot to see put in a brief appearance before it disappeared up river. 
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).
Other species added to the year list here were Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), loads of Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were heading out from their roost to feed up river, a singing Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser).
Red-necked Grebe (Somormujo Cuellirrojo / Podiceps grisegena).
My next stop was at the Hide but I didn't actually go in but walked along the path towards the bridge where I scanned the channel and had distant views of a winter plumage
Red-necked Grebe (Somormujo Cuellirrojo / Podiceps grisegena), 7x Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Distant 1st winter Iceland Gull (Gaviota Groenlandesa / Larus glaucoides).
Distant 1st winter Iceland Gull (Gaviota Groenlandesa / Larus glaucoides).
I returned to the car and then drove around to Santoña where I parked near the Bull Ring as I was hoping for one of the wintering
Rock Pipit (Bisbita Costero / Anthus petrosus) to come in but they were playing hard to get so I went out on to the sea wall and scanned the estuary finding Eurasian Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), around 500 or so Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Barnacla Carinegra / Branta bernicla), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and whilst I was scanning a couple of Rock Pipits flew over me calling and landed on the wooden structure around the top of the Bull Ring before dropping down inside. 
A Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer) which was suprised to see me sat on the wall when it surfaced.
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).
I walked down to the Fish port but as it was a holiday all the boats were in port and there were very few gulls around so like at the last spot I went out onto the sea wall and scanned through the gulls out there finding Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus) and the 1st winter Iceland Gull (Gaviota Groenlandesa / Larus glaucoides) resting up on a sandy island as well as a few Shags (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) sat on the buoys where the smaller boats were moored and a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which was fishing from some rocks at the base of the sea wall.
Great Northern Diver (Colimbo Grande / Gavia immer).
I crossed the road and went further up stream as I had seen a good number of distant grebes from the port, I sat down on the wall along side the river and scanned the birds seeing
Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), another Great Northern Diver which surface to find me there and was none to happy for a moment but soon just carried on fishing and in amongst the 15 or so Black-necked and 10+ Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) I found a smart looking Slavonian / Horned Grebe (Zampullín Cuellirrojo / Podiceps auritus) but it always stayed distant.
Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).
My next stop was a few Kms up the coast at a pool by the Casa de las Mareas where I gave the year list a good boost with Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) but there was no sign of the Ring-necked Duck (Porrón acollarado / Aythya collaris) or the two Caspian Gulls (Gaviota del Caspio / Larus cachinnans) reported a day or so ago.
Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor) on t the river.
I drove around to the far side of the Estuary and out to a spot along a track called Calle Santander where I parked and went up onto the Dunes where I scanned the now full channel, after a while I found the two
Velvet Scoters (Negrón Especulado / Melanitta fusca) and as I continued I found two Red-breasted Merganser (Serreta Mediana / Mergus serrator) and the male Common Eider (Eider Común / Somateria mollissima) which I usually see from the hide all in a row on the sea just a 100 meters apart. 
Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).

Other species seen here included Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluvialis squatarola), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
Tufted Ducks (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula) males.
Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor) on the lake.
I drove back around to the hide to give the Long-tailed Duck (Pato Havelda / Clangula hyemalis) another go but again I dipped so I decided to the back via Marismas Blanca but I could not find the Greater Scaup (Porrón Bastardo / Aythya marila) and only added a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) before heading back to Porrua.

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