06/12 : La Janda

After the past coup'le of weeks since the last trip dzown to La Janda whole rivers have flowed under bridges and life has been exceedingly stressful. Therefore, when the daughter in a bout of exceeding usefulness suggested that I go down to La Janda for the day and she would look after the old dog (who is missing the wife something terrible and nearly got trapped in a wardrobe the other evening whilst searching for her), I accepted like proverbial bullet.
This is a brief report as (a) there aren't any photos to make it look bigger and (b) there wasn't a lot to report from a basically grey, damp and thankfully windless day. I ran (metaphorically) into several Spanish birders I know which alleviated the morning.
The route was not to be as planned - PLEASE NOTE - as the track that runs from the bridge over the drainage canal up to the smelly farm is cut with immense muddy ruts just after sluice gates corner. I had a look at it and reckon that the best vehicle to get through is a big 4x4 of the Hummvee style or something more suitable for invading Iraq! A car will not go and may become entombed for eternity!
So, having gone in by the entrance opposite the Zahara-Barbate turn-off that runs down to the drainage canal I came across loads of Linnets, which were everywhere, as were Corn and Reed Buntings, and thought that I'd spotted a female Redpoll at one point but am not sure enough to say that it was or it wasn't, a might-have-been. The rice paddies have all been chewed over but there is a surprsing lack of Snipe but plenty of Lapwings, only 2 Green Sandpipers and a rather surprising 2 or 3 Curlews (I saw 2 but enough spacing in the calls to be 3 or even more). Down towards the far end 9 Spoonbills and what was probably the same Great White Egret as last time flushed along with good numbers of Lapwings. Grey Herons and White Storks there were in quantity, of course.
With the raptor watching curtailed by the mud, I didn't see as many species as I could have wished, the most abundant yet again being Marsh Harrier, with at least 11 birds seen but the sex-age ratios turned around. Males were the most abundant, with 5 in the air together at one point out of a total of 7! There were no females and only 4 juvs., a very odd ratio.There were quite a few Kestrels, which I did not count and 4 Black-winged Kites, plus a couple of Buzzards. The bird of the day, 2 of them, actually, was the immature Imperial Eagles.
It was nice to be out, very de-stressing and tomorrow I go to Madrid and thence to Vitoria and aboutd which I may just tell you next time.

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