24 June, Arboleas Birding Group, Embalse de Negratín

Thank God for Gilly & Dave's reports and photos as I am totally tied up with the illustrations. I may have a report for Saturday if the plans do not go astray! Please read the bit on colour ringed gulls at the end.

24 June, Embalse de Negratín Yet again trying to avoid the oppressive heat in our area, 5 members of the group headed north to the Embalse de Negratin, where we met up with our two Chirivel members. It was very disappointing on top of the dam. We eventually spotted a pair of Yellow-legged Gulls in the distance! Brian spotted an eagle sitting on a distant ridge. From its "jizz" the consensus was a Short-toed variety. Things improved bird wise once we'd descended to the valley below the dam. Golden Oriole was seen and heard. A Melodious Warbler was feeding 4 fledglings in a bush very close to the road. Spotted Flycatcher was noted. I ventured down to the shaded and dank brook where I saw the flash of a red-tailed brown bird, a Nightingale, fly across.

The mosquitoes attacked in force and followed me back to the rest of the group who weren't amused!! Managed to see a Grey Wagtail near to the bridge,but the flow of water coming from the dam outlet had flattened most of the reed bed and covered all the sand/gravel banks. A Raven, juvenile I think, was fruitlessly harassing the hundreds of nesting House Martins on the cliff face. A passing Peregrine Falcon would've been more successful if it had bothered!

30 species for the day + personal count of 10 mozzie bites in 30 seconds!!

(Pretty good, Dave, my record was 64 mossie bites in a day on Dovrefjell, Norway, back in 1964! The little swines even bit through thick sweaters and cord pants!)

Colour ringing There has been a colour ringing programme of Yellow-legged Gull chicks in Granada and Cádiz provinces, with several hundred ringed. These all bear an alpha-numerical code as well as the more normal metal ring. If you happen to see one and are able to read the code, the e-gulls group (of which I am a member) would be most grateful for the following information:
- colour of ring and letters/numbers and the leg on which it is placed
- code, note if reading up or down
- place, either with GPS if available or give information as detailed as possible where it was seen.
- plus observer(s) and date, of course.

I shall write in more detail about the colour ringing of gulls and other species and its scientific value at some time this autumn when I've got this bloody book finished! The photo is of an Hungarian ringed Mediterranean Gull I took in Fuengirola last autumn.

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