31/07 : Los Lances & La Janda

Yes, I know, later than ever in putting in a report but in self-defence, the past week or so has not been easy and I feel that I spent so much time (and money) at the vets (for the dog, not me and she is improving) that I should have shares in in his practice, and the shares bit could also apply to the makers of Paracetamol. However, as I'm sure many of you have read Bob's report (always out on time, sometimes before he even gets home), this very late affair will be be very much reduced.
We started at Los Lances and apart from a solitary Sandwich Tern and a single plumage 2 type Gannet, there were plenty of Cory's Shearwaters feeding just offshore. Nothing outstanding in the wadre line with plenty of Sanderlings and still smart Dunlins, as well as Kentish Plovers. Not a single Short-toed Lark to be seen though and only one White Wagtail.
After a quick breakfast it was on to La Janda, entering by the track opposite the left turn for Zahara and Barbate, going along beside the drainage canal, across the bridge and across, along past the smelly farm and then along the easily passable track that leads from Benlup down to Facinas, at least it's passable in my Ford as I've got a couple of cms. more than other cars.  It goes without saying that we made a lot of stops.
The rice paddies and canal turned up a couple of Purple Herons and singletons of  Green and Wood Sandpipers and Bob spotted a couple of Spoonbills whilst I was spotting holes in the track. Once across the bridge and along the stretch towards the sluice gates, there were hordes of Cattle Egrets, Glossy Ibises (some 6 pairs have bred) and a couple of Squacco Herons, which have also bred. Surprisingly, Turtle Doves continue to manage to breed there amongst the rabble. Along there we also saw a very elegant female Marsh Harrier.
Going across the top beyond the farm we heard but did not see a Magpie. Down the track towards Facinas over the paddies we ran into an area in which there must have been ca.20 of those most unwader-like and extremely elegant waders, Collared Pratincoles.
But it was really for the migration that we had gone down for the day. We saw a minimum of 500 Black Kites, some of which were in moult.

White Storks were abundant with one flock that we guesstimated at between somewhere going on towards the 1.000 mark) and also saw 2 Short-toed Eagles, some 4 more Marsh Harriers and 2 Montagu's Harriers, both thought to be juveniles but on of Bob's photos it is possible to see the primary wing feather moult, thus making it a 1st summer female. What I would like to know is, why do I always get photos of the sterns of these delicate harriers as thet disappear rapidly stage left? Whilst on the subject of birds of prey, we also saw a single Black-shouldered Kite and, as they are also predatory, quite a lot of Woodchat Shrikes, many of them immatures.

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