5-6 September, La Janda and Guadalhorce

This is a double entry, for 5 September down in Cádiz province and for 6 September at the Guadalhorce, although as Federico commented this morning, if we hadn't been meeting on the latter date, perhaps he (and myself) would have gone rather later. A 2 hour siesta this afternoon has more or less put me to rights!

5 September: An early start, one of those which makes one doubt one's sanity picking up Federico at just on 06h but we were down on Los Lances beach before 08h, just as the sun was rising. There was not a breath of wind as we walked to the hide (enter nearly opposite the petrol station) but we were not to be overly blessed with birds there. There was a small but distant flock of Audouin's Gulls with a few Yellow-legged and a couple of Lesser Black-backs in with them. A couple of Sandwich Terns sat on separate buoys and in the seabird line, that was the lot. On the sand and around the water's edges there were a few Ringed and Kentish Plovers and only 3 Dunlin and a single Redshank to offer variety, very poor in an area where one expects rather more. The same occurred in the passserine line, a couple of Crested Larks and 4 Short-toed, plus a pair of juv. Yellow Wagtails. A single Common Swift flew over and there were Barn Swallows and some House Martins, plus the occasional Sand Martin, moving S all day. Not a bird of prey in sight untila single Sparrowhawk flew over.

So, it was on to stop number two, the cave up at Bolonia with the hope that we might just catch a sight of either of the small white-rumped swifts species, but luck was not with us. Neither were the birds with only one Griffon Vulture on the rock face, a couple of female/juv. Blue Rock Thrushes, 2 more Sparrowhawks, a Booted Eagle and a Spotted Flycatcher and sounds of high-flying, invisible Bee-eaters and that was it with the Black-eared Wheatear obligingly perched to have its mugshot taken. Next stop coffee, and then on to La Janda.

I like La Janda, even though it often apears to defraud, but neither does it have the masses of birders with which the watch points like Algorrobo are packed. Today it was so-so, although Federico was happy and it is true that we saw somebirds, but not a huge variety. Perhas the most interesting was the large numbers of Montagu's Harriers, both young and females, with not a single male seen apart from a 2CY bird. By the time that we got there there were the first stirrings of a wind that was to strengthen and only the accompanying photo came out half way reasonable.

Continuing in the raptor line, it was early on that I picked up a largish falcon, long-winged and long-tailed, moving low and fast southwards against the wind and never managed to get the scope on to it. At the time I put it down as a possible Eleonora's and finally, this mid day, confirmed it as such by reference to Dick Forsman's raptor guide. For the rest, we saw only one juv. Marsh Harrier but ran in to a broad front of 70+ Lesser Kestrels, many juvs., hanging on the wind and feeding on insects over the cotton fields. Later a few Griffon Vultures and a 2CY Egyptian, plus a handful of Black Kites. We got good views of a Melodious Warbler and Federico was happy with 3 Glossy Ibises well seen and brief views of a rapidly disapearing Green Sandpiper.

Sum total for the day: about 44 species, but only 10 of these raptors, which is only average.

6 September, Guadalhorce: Not so early today, thank heavens! And even better, it was overcast and relatively cool, although the humidity was high when we met at 0830. I don't know what is happening with the waders this year but there are few species and numbers are very low, even though conditions appear to be quite good with sufficient mud available for feeding. A juv. Nightheron flewpast us as we went in to the reserve and after that it was a gentle wander around, especially alert to any migrants as I hoped that the overcast might have forced some migrant birds down. In that area, there was a female Common Redstart and a female Spectacled Warbler, neither of which were inclined to show themselves well and there may have been more as everything just dived as deep into the nearest cover as it possibly could, although the Spotted Flycatcher was slightly more obliging

In the wader lne, the same Knot as last week was still present and feeding close but while last week it was silhouetted against the light, this morning there was hardly sufficient. As for the rest,much the same as last week. A solitary Dunlin wandering in circles, a couple of Redshanks and a single Greenshank, the usual trio of small plovers and a few Stilts, a couple of Common Sandpipers and the Black-tailed Godwit.

Rather more surprising was the presence in the laguna escondida of a female White-headed Duck with 3 chicks which looked to be 7-10 days old, while another female had 2 which must have been somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks - late breeding by any standards! And as a side note, yesterday a Dutch birder told me that he had estimated ca.200 White-headed Ducks on the laguna de Medina, near Jerez de la Frontera. There had also been a notable increase in Pochards and more Grey Herons.

We were annoyed by the presence of one of the fire-fighting aircraft, the hydro-planes, low and lumbering, whose pilots do the most fantastic and dangerous job and who I greatly admire, but this particular machine spent the better part of 20 long minutes circling more or less overhead after taking off and going right over the laguna grande at low level and frightening the living daylights out of the gulls and anything else, including 2 Spoonbills.

No hay comentarios: