30/10/11

29/10: La Janda

A free day with the only intention being to go up the canal beside La Janda, cross over the top by the smelly farm (finca de Enmedio or whatever it's called), go on and then back, basically spending the day leisurely searching for raptors and especially the male and juvenile Pallid Harriers that have been there for a while. So, I was down there by 10.15 and the first stop was by the ford on the left hand turn before running alongside the canal.

It was a beautiful morning, with not a breath of wind and warm enough to be in shirt sleeves by 10.30. The rice fields there have been harvested and were full of White Storks and Cattle Egrets whilst I could hear the distant 'talking' of Cranes and then the first 3, later to be followed by 2 more and then a flock of 38 - lovely, and with the distant calls of at least 2 Greenshanks and later 2 separate Green Sandpipers, all the time interspersed with barrages of shotgun fire from all points of the compass. Yes, the hunting season has arrived.

Later in the day we saw a Great White Heron in one of the harvested rice paddies. There were plenty of Lapwings in the fields and at one point a 4 Golden Plovers in a flock of Lapwings. There was movement of flocks of Skylarks all day and the occasional Chaffinch mixed in with the Corn Buntings but very few Calandra Larks, less than a handful. A ccky female Bluethroat bounced along the track in front of me for some metres before disappearing into the scrub where the were plenty of Chiffchaffs to distract the attention. Before I ran (metaphorically) into Rafa García and Manuel Jiménez from Cádiz who had come on the same mission as myself - raptors with a certain preference for the aforementioned harrierIt was along here beside the canal that I saw a small group of rather confused-looking Red-legged Partridges. It was too easy to hear them wondering what the hell was happening and where Pepe and Paqui had gone. Poor little sods, being fed one day and getting blasted to hell and gone the next.

It was a good raptor day and until I left for home at 4.30 - it is a good 2 hour run home for me from the north end of La Janda - we saw 8 spp., although they saw the juvenile Pallid Harrier and a possible female whilst I was with them, but I'm not sure of this latter identification on what I saw. On the other hand we saw lots Marsh Harriers, so many that I lost count but probably in excess of 15, including a nice male. There had been an entry of Hen Harriers and we saw about 6 (it's difficult to discount repeat sightings), all females/juveniles except of a single, very smart male.

Alongside the canal I also saw a large female Peregrine, a really buxom wench, which based on the characteristics of the bird that was at the Guadalhorce and which Dick Forsman kindly diagnosed for us a being of the calidus subspecies from northern Europe. It was along the canal bank too that we saw the first Common Buzzard of the 3 of the day.

For some reason Black-shouldered Kites like the irrigation booms as look out and resting points and it was from alongside the canal that we saw the first 3 of what was probably somewhere 10 or 11 of these lovely little birds, some of which showed well, and later one decided that an over-flying Imperial Eagle was in no-go territory and gave it hell and treated us to a fabulous flying display. The Imperial Eagle ignored it, which must have been very frustrating.

In fact, we saw 3 Imperials, all immature birds, and although most of them flew very high, one decided to drop like a stone on to a Pheasant from the Las Lomas estate (another confused bird), missed it and perched briefly on an electricty post before flying off fast and low to frighten the living daylights out of something else. Other raptors seen included the bog-standard Kestrels that are always present to greater or lesser degree, and singles of Booted and Short-toed Eagles.

There was a huge Wood Pigeon flock of somewhere around 1.200-1.500 birds and another smaller one, all good food for the Peregrine. I also saw a single Stock Dove, a distinct rarity and a good record and one of the vey few I have ever seen down in Andalucía. I must apologise for the poor photos, but most of the time I was shooting against the light or the birds too distant/high. You win some, you lose some.

1 comentario:

elcamperoinquieto.com dijo...

Very good birding, with interesting birds and nice landscapes!
Saludos camperos.