28 April : the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la!

OK, there are no prizes for guessing from where the title comes nor where I was yesterday afternoon. The only reason I was out and in the afternoon as it was so darned warm was that Joan Ximénez was down from Madrid and it was the only free time that he had. Not that we were overwhelmed by birds but it was a very pleasant, somewhat slow, walk in warm sunshine. So, on this extremely wet and rather cooler 29 April, with rain widespread over a goodly part of Andalucía (here, Barbate and Córdoba, that I do know from phone calls) what better thing to do than write up the little that we saw while my wife is watching some wedding on the television.

One of the first sightings, an adult Night Heron before we had even crossed the bridge, gave a hope which was not to be fulfilled and I would not be telling truth if I said we were inundated. Yes, we heard Nightingales and plenty of Reed Warblers churring, clicking and jizzing away.

Yes, there were the usual ducks, Pochards, a few male White-headeds, a few Gadwalls also and very few Mallard for a change. From the second hide that looks out onto the widened water and islands of the río Viejo the was at least the escaped (ringed) Ruddy Shelduck and on a more interesting scale, no Little Ringed Plovers seen at all although we did see a few Kentish Plovers along the shore, the first 3 of a total of 9 Avocets during the afternoon, the first Redshank of at least 4 also, plus a Common Sandpiper and only one Curlew Sandpiper. Nearly forgot, and also some Stilts including one flock of about 20 which to me appeared more of the migratory rather than resident variety.

There were plenty of gulls further down the río Viejo, with a suprising number of Mediterranean Gulls, nearly all 1st summer but half a dozen or so 2nd summer birds, lots of Black-headeds, a few of the ever elegant Audouin's and, rather surprisingly, at least 2 adult Lesser Black-backs. The only passerine of note was a single Woodchat Shrike, plus the normal qupta of Zits (Zitting Cisticolas/Fan-tailed Warblers) and Crested Larks. The best was virtually the last, my first Spotted Flycatcher, very nice after my first Pied Fly. the previous afternoon.

Not a big list and I think I must have forgotten to note down some things on a harbinger afternoon of the warmer weather that must but we had a very pleasant walk and talk which also included news that a pair of Lesser Flamingos have been seen in the colony of Greaters at the laguna de Manjavacas (Ciudad Real), which perhaps one of the 5 seen at Fuente de Piedra last week has gone. Please, on behalf of myself and the director of Fuente de Piedra, any news of Lesser seen would be much appreciated, especially if they can be seen to be ringed or not.

So, that is about it on this wet day in Spain when it did not rain in London and where I'm sure that many of you, either there or watching on the television, wherever you are, enjoyed the view of the Spitfire, Lancaster and Hurricane - I reckon those pilots had the best job of the day!

Nearly forgot, it was my Luna's 11th birthday too!

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