16/06 : Bolonia, La Barca de Vejer & La Janda

An early start as I wanted to get in as much as possible and hope that I wouldn't get fried. After all, you know what Mr. Coward said about mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun!
0830 : First stop, Bolonia. No small white-rumped swifts at the cave, although Stephen Daly tells me that both spp. are nesting in the Sierra de Retín. However, a pair of Blue Rock Thrushes was feeding three young but surprisingly there were no vultures on the rock face and neither did I see any sign of Egyptian Vultures on the way down, although this Little Owl, the first of the day, allowed me to take its photo.

0930 : Coffee stop at the  San José del Valle bar at the junction of the Bolonia road with the N-340.

1015 La Barca de Vejer to see the Bald Ibises which have 4 nests, although only the bottom two give halfway decent views but taking photos is difficult as the juvs. are deep in the shadow of the caves and there is strong sunlight on the cliff face. Three adults came in to feed their chicks, which are hardly the most beautiful of chicks but only one was really helpful and enabled photos of the feeding process, which is quite revolting if one is reading this whilst having breakfast.
There are also some pure Rock Doves on the cliff and Jackdaws which hang around trying to nick the leftovers from the Bald Ibises' breakfast.

Met Stephen Daly in the bar as planned, along with Yeray Seminario, a very bilingual Canary Island birder who is a qualified vet but gave that up to start his own birding company www.whitehawkbirding.com and who also works some South American countries. and we had more coffee and talked birding. Eventually, far too late by what I had planned, it was time to be off for La Janda.

1145-1430 La Janda : The plan was simple: enter at the north end, go along to the bridge, along the long straight to the bend at the sluice gates, up at past the smelly farm (it isn't at the moment!) and then down the central track, easily passable and it should remain so until the first rains and down towards Facinas and thence homewards.
The rice paddies are now flooded and flushed with green shoots. There were some 50 Glossy Ibises in the paddies, good numbers, at least 50, Black-winged Stilts and a single Redshank, with Cattle Egrets everywhere and which are breeding down the left side of the long straight once over the bridge. There are, I am told, some Glossy Ibises breeding along there but I was not going to get out of the car to search and cause a mass panic.On the negative side, there were only 2 Turtle Doves when in normal years before the white invasion there were tens of them.
 It has been an excellent year for thistles but apart from a single Buzzard, there had been no raptors visible until I stopped on the top stretch when a few Black Kites, most in some state of primary wing moult, and some Booted Eagles appeared, their plumage states ranging from nearly pristine to this bird in a really pathetic state. It was in this same area that the second Little Owl of the day showed itself, braving the heat of ther sun on the top of a post. It was in this area that there was a really black Common Buzzard with a pale orange tail. There were very few Griffon Vultures on view and it wasn't until the last 3 kms of the track that I saw a pair of Montagu's Harriers. The Bee-eater shown below was seen further up. There were very few Calandra Larks in evidence.
Regrettably there was a recently dead Mongoose on the track, perhaps the only positive thing being that it was a male. Not a bad day's birding but jolly hot from noon onwards.

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