12/04 : a view from the terrace

'A view from the terrace'. It doesn't quite scan the same way (or sound it either if one tries to sing it) as Noël Coward's little ditty about a room with a view ('amazing the power of cheap music'). I  do hope that those of you of my generation appreciate these little gems of knowledge. But I digress.

Woodchat Shrike
    It was Antonio Tamayo, he of the Guadalhorce who many of you know, who baptised the garden below my terrace in Torremolinos as a ZEPA -a special protection zone for birds - after watching a Yellow-browed Warbler from it some years since, and that whilst sipping a coffee! Many of you will know that I am not a twitcher (thank god!) but a patcher, and the view from terrace naturally attracts attention. I answer phone calls out there and watch at the same time, often with excellent results, and have been doing so for the 30 years that I have lived here and hope for some more yet. I've seen somewhere around 112-113 species over the years and especially so in migration periods. But this last week has, I think, been the best ever for variety, as I shall show.
   But before belting into that, there have been requests for a list of bird names Spanish-English (or English-Spanish, if you prefer it that way around). I have got a pdf of the latest Spanish list with the names in both, but in my extreme ignorance haven't a clue how to upload it to this blog, so if you write to me at my private address (not the blog), andy.birds (at) gmail.com I shall be happy to send it on. So on to the real thing ....
Monk Parakeet biting bougainvillea
This spring has been, as far as I'm concerned on a  garden scale, poor,. Very few warblers, ie. Chiffs or Willow Warblers, and damn all else. Yes, there have been the swifts in (3 spp.) and swallows and martins, but nothing else. In fact, you could count the migrant small brown things on the fingers of one hand.
Until 09 April, and it's all happened since then for what I think have been the best four days in those 30 years and shows the value of watching your garden, hillside or whatever or wherever. you be. This is simply the migrant part, forget the family of Serins that are knocking around (the male is a little beauty), the Sardinian Warblers that catch the eye as they dive head first into bushes, the Blackbirds that forage the grass, the Pallid and Common Swifts that whizz past at high speed (not to mention the Ring-necked Parakeets and those bloody Monk Parakeets that are nipping long shoots off the bougainvillea) and the pair of Kestrels that scare the living daylights out of all the small birds when they appear. The photos shown here are all taken this week from said terrace.
Common Redstart, male
Common Redstart, female
09 April : 1 Melodious Warbler, 1 male Common Redstart, 1 Woodchat Shrike. 'Not bad,' you may say, but better was to come.
10 April : 1 Bonelli's Warbler, 1 female Redstart, 1 Woodchat Shrike, 1 male Orphean Warbler, a Nightingale singing not very melodically and rather hestitantly in the undergrowth the far side of the road below, he's got to practice more; if he was at school 'could do better' would be written on his report.
11 April : Sod all. I thought that it was all done for. But no.
12 April : 2 Woodchat Shrikes (they had a short but very violent fight, first in must have won 'cause the other went off in a huff); 2 Willow Warblers; 1 male Spectacled Warbler; 1 female Whitethroat (at first I thought it was a female Spectacled but a second appearance 10 minutes later showed it to be a Whitethroat, unless there really was female Spectacled around too, but I don't think so). So now why you see I'm a patcher.
Tomorrow off to Fuente de Piedra where the first flamingos have laid today and also the laguna Dulce, which may turn up summat interesting (as they say in Yorkshire).

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