17 September : meeting FOROROA, Tarifa

For the non-Spanish birders, fororoa is the foro de la red de observadores andaluces, or in English : the forum for Andalusian birders. It was started over a year ago by Paco Chiclana and birders from Sevilla and has achieved a good number of followers from Andalusia and, I understand, from other parts of Spain too who are interested in our observations and doings. This last Saturday we had an open meeting - una quedada - down at Tarifa to watch raptor migration, in which we were far from disappointed, and then an excellent lunch at the Ventorillo del Nene at the entry to Facinas. In total, some 27 of us took part and I have every reason to believe that we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I know that I did.

We met at 10.00 at the petrol station just north of Tarifa and found that our spies in place informed that Cazalla was probably the best option for raptors and the information was totally accurate. There was an abundance of raptors and a goodly number of birders too, ranging from we of fororoa, through the recorders of the Migres programme, a couple of English birding tours and the usual range of those who were solo or in pairs. There was much bird movement, many birds coming in from the east, some starting to cross and ten returning and often going inland ater an aborted attempt. Although some birds were reasonably low, others were at cosiderable height which did not help photography.

I didn't take any note of numbers by species but outstanding were the numbers of Black Storks with several flocks including one of 70+ birds, plus some White Storks, and in particular the Egyptian Vultures. The previous afternoon, the Cigüeña Negra group from Tarifa had posted that up to then, 999 had been seen and it was quite obvious that by the time we arrived that number had been surpassed quite considerably. Both of these species have increased notably since I first started going down to Tarifa 30 years since.
The quantity of Short-toed Eagles was also notable,as well as smaller numbers of Booted Eagles and Black Kites, with some Honey Buzzards mixed in and a small but continual movement of Sparrowhawks. Of note, but not seen by all as the action was so rapid, was the presence of a Bonelli's Eagle which first had a go at a White Stork, missed and then proceeded to frighten the living daylights out of it by stooping at an adult Egyptian Vulture which dived down frantically for the deck with the Bonelli's after it and thus lived to fly another day.
It really was quite a hectic morning and one of those days when accurate censusing by dedicated counters was damned nearly impossible as there were birds coming from all angles.

There were, as was to be expected, zseveral Griffon Vultures but, on a selfishly purely personal level, the best was the presence of not one but two Rüppell's Vultures after years of missing them by 5 minutes before arriving or after leaving. These birds were notably different as one had its flight feathers in a quite deplorable state (left), whilst the other was much cleaner (below right).

Federico and I made a quick run along the canal side of La Janda before lunch, seeing several tens Lesser Kestrels - there are always good concentrations there at this time of year, plus several young Montagu's Harriers and this harrier on the left, which we believe to be a Montagu's, possibly a female (now confirmed by Javi Elorriaga and Jorge Garzón), and a single Osprey. All these giving us a total of 14 raptor species for the days.

The afternoon could have finished off with a Royal Tern seen from the observatory on the Los Lances beach by David Cuenca and Stephen Daly amongst others, but as time was bashing on Federico and I made steps for home, finally arriving more than 12 hours after departing in the morning.

Finally, although this will be possibly of little use except knowing who to avoid and based on a photo by Federico, a guide to the Homo pajarensis andalucensis present. But joking apart, we would always be interested to hear from and enjoy the participation of non Spanish birders. Remember that a click will enlarge the photo for better identification.

No hay comentarios: