'By the shorts in winter shalt thou know those from the frozen North.
I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one to bemoan a lack of birds. (Who muttered 'miserable old sod'?) They say that C4 or Semtex is good for camper vans, Dave. And now for their day out birding .....

Chiffchaff thinking about diving in
It was back to our local haunt this week. Gilly and I met up above the Rambla de Almanzora with 12 others, some members and some here on holiday. It was a wonderful sunny day but still a bit chilly, not that it put off Sarah, one of the holiday makers, who was wearing shorts! A scan of the pools on the opposite side produced a pair of Black-winged Stilts, some Mallard and Dunlin,a Grey Wagtail, a Redshank and a Water Pipit. I'd already spotted a single Crag Martin before the others had arrived. Land birds seen included Thekla Lark, Stonechat, White Wagtail and Robin. We walked up towards the sewage works, where, to be honest, there was even less bird life than our previous visit. We only added Magpie, Sardinian Warbler, Serin and a few Chiffchaffs. We headed back towards the vehicles, diverting down onto the rambla to check out the pools. We saw both Ringed and Little Ringed Plover, an assorted flock of Dunlin and Little Stint, Moorhen, Water Pipit and a Blackbird. A Grey Heron was also seen.
After coffee  (and tostadas for some) in Villaricos village we headed for the beach. We were not overjoyed to see 20 Camper vans parked up! The rocks outside the harbour produced numerous cormorants, a couple of Black-headed Gulls, a Grey Heron and a Yellow-legged Gull. Les spotted some Turnstones and some Sanderlings. We made our way to the estuary.
lots of Cormorants and a Grey Heron
Large numbers of Cormorants. Gilly counted the number on one exposed desalination water pipe and there were 125 just on there and there had to be at least 100 more around the place. 
Grey Plover (L) and Whimbrel (R)
I scanned the reeds and spotted a single adult Night Heron. A Little Egret was seen, but then its bigger cousin took off out of the reeds, a Great White Egret. It settled in some reeds on the island opposite us, playing peekaboo. Also seen were Audouin's Gull, Hoopoe and a single Black-necked Grebe out to sea. We walked onto the beach and checked out the shallows. Here we saw more Dunlin, Ringed and Kentish Plover. On the rocky shore Gilly did brilliantly to spot the sleeping Whimbrel. Although a Little Egret was still present, this week the Whimbrel, now posing on a rock, was joined by a Grey Plover. Out to sea the occasional Sandwich Tern was seen.
We then made our way to the Vera dual carriageway overlooking the shallow pools. Three immature Greater Flamingos were still down the far end. Below us was a mixed flock of Dunlin and Little Stint. Les spotted a pair of Ruff. Numerous Teal were seen. We proceeded to the Consum pools. Large numbers of Black-headed Gulls were seen together with a pair of Shelduck and some Grey Herons. Gilly heard a Cetti's Warbler. Lots of Chiffchaffs here as well as Crag Martins above us. A walk to the next pond produced White-headed Duck and Shoveler.
In total we saw 48 species. A very good days birding in good company.

28 January : Guadalhorce

Having had lunch the day being fine and not having any desire to work on this machine, I got binocs, scope and hied myself off to the Guadalhorce. Lovely sunshine, all I needed was birds and although I notched up 33 spp. between 14.10 and 16.40, there really wasn't much to get enthused  about as although there was a fairly decent selection of passerines there was next to nothing in the wader area although I missed the best of the afternoon as I shall later relate, and there was also surprisingly little in the duck line. 
tired Stilt and Greenshank
In fact, the best bird of the afternoon out of the 33 spp. I saw was virtually the last, a female Reed Bunting, a species which has been notable for its absence this winter, whilst I saw only 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Hoopoe and heard not a single Skylark. All rather pathetic. There was a single adult female Marsh Harrier and 2 Kestrels.
The ducks were even more notable by their absence with no Pochard or Teal seen (!), not even on their usual ponds. There were very few White-headed Ducks, I counted only 8, and there were few Mallard. Where they all are, I don't have the slightest idea.
The most numerous species of the afternoon, even outdoing the Chiffchaffs, was probably the Great Cormorant, with one or two now showing breeding plumage.
As for waders, the story was similar with singles of Redshank, Snipe and Little Ringed Plover along the río Viejo. The most numerous species was Black-winged Stilt (there's a surprise) with a total of no more than 6 birds over the various sites where one would normally expect rather more. On the laguna Grande there was  a single, rather tired-looking, Greenshank, as was the Stilt behind it (photo).
The best birds were seen by Mel and Lorraine Hayes from Marbella (I was at another point), having seen the same Greenshank at the laguna Grande, proceeded to turn up not one but two (2) Marsh Sandpipers which stayed two minutes and then took flight towards the río Viejo. Hey-ho, some have all the luck!!! Otra vez será.


23 January : a hybrid Redstart

Hybrid birds are not unknown especially in the large gull world although there have also been cases of smaller gulls, such as Mediterranean and Black-headed hybridising, and Common has also been known to cross breed.This, however, is the first time that I have come across a passerine hybridising. I have mentioned this bird before in recent blogs but now that everything appears to have been sorted and an identification achieved, it seems worthwhile sharing the bird with yourselves, o faithful readers, and comparing it with a bog-standard make Black Redstart I photographed in the garden this week.
Ron Appleby and myself saw this near the board walk at Fuente de Piedra (Málaga) on 13 January 2015 and I photographed it. At first thought was that it was one if the oriental races of Black Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros, possibly the nominate ochruros, from Turkey. However, as my knowledge of these races is minimal I referred the photos to various ringers, the consensus being that it may well be a hybrid, but Ruicard Gutiérrez investigated thoroughly and came to the conclusion that it was a hybrid after reading a paper by Laurens B Steijn from 2005 at Dutch Birding which is available online (the full issue at issue online reader here), which indicated that it might well be something else.
Bercause of the following details, and despite wing structure not showing in the original photos, showed a white wing panel and a white ventral patch extending upwards to the breast, separating the reddish to flanks. This indicated that it was not an oriental race but pointed towards a hybrid bird. So, herewith comparative photos, the first two are of the hybrid Fuente de Piedra bird, the 3rd and 4th of the male in my garden this week.

The differences of plumage although not totally clear, are reasonably obvious.
I am most grateful to Ricard for his efforts in the identification. 


20 January : Adrian's patch.

Dave, after spending many, many hours freezing my butt off whilst seawatching on the east coast of England, I can assure you that there is NO winter version of mad dogs and Englishmen which is polite.
These next two days I am spending time at an IUCN Spain conference in Málaga where I hope to nail one or two ignorant bloody local politicians to the wall for their plans about the Guadalhorce and their hypocrisy in being at a conservation conference. I hope to enjoy myself but the next entry may be from Alhaurìn jail.
By the way, received wisdom about the oddly plumaged Black Redstart at Fuente de Piedra is that it is in fact not an eastern race but a hybrid with Common Redstart, which is probably even rarer! I shall be putting up a few comparative photos on Sunday if I survive the politicians.  With regard to your comment about the numbers of Black Redstarts, we've been knee-deep in them here, the best winter fior them in 34 years. With regard to your comment about male:female ratios, don't forget that there are all the juveniles/1st winter birds which resemble the females, which must be taken into account too. Thus you may well end up with a ratio male:female/1st winter ratio of 1: 4 or 5, hence the apparent imbalance.
Nice photo of the Crag Martin, Dave!! Incidentally, I saw a Siskin this morning and there have been 3 Brent Geese seen this week doing  a tour of Málaga province, having been seen at Fuente de Piedra, the following day in front of the Guadalhorce and the day after along the beach.
Don't worry about age catching up with you , Dave. It's when it doesn't that you should worry, and you should know as you've been too close for comfort to that stage.

I was trying to think of the winter equivalent of the " Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" as Gilly, Carolyn and I headed towards our meeting place, a cafe just off the A91 motorway, junction 6, between Puerto Lumbreras and Velez Rubio. Yes, it was cold, but the sun was out and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. The Sierra de Maria had a light covering of snow. Are we fair weather birders? No! We enjoyed a warming cup of hairs on chest coffee before Adrian guided us round his local patch. There were 14 group members, so we tried to use as few vehicles as possible as birding from a convoy is not ideal. We did however manage to see some good birds as we followed Adrian's lead through some stunning countryside. 
Best birds, spotted by a sharp eyed Carolyn, was a pair of distant Golden Eagles. I used to have 20/20 vision, but age has caught up with me. Very envious. Also seen was a Green Woodpecker by Adrian, and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Magpie, White Wagtail, a small flock of Meadow Pipits and the first of many Black Redstarts. There seem to be far more females than males. Is it similar in the birth percentages? Our first stop was by a farmhouse ruin. Here, apart from more Black Redstarts, we had great views of a inquisitive male Blue Rock Thrush. We also saw a small gathering of Crested Larks, Dartford and Sardinian Warblers and Chaffinches. Moving on we next stopped overlooking a patch of low scrubland. No birds low down but eagle eyed Carolyn spotted a Kestrel. Checking out the distant "Grandmother's molar" mountain towards Los Velez I saw what were obviously Griffon Vultures circling round their colony base. We added Stonechat and Goldfinch before checking out the rambla just prior to  the town of La Parroquia. A Little Egret didn't appreciate the interference and flew off. There was water there but not flowing. It did however attract White Wagtails and a solitary Grey Wagtail. A pair of Linnet displayed well.
We then headed up to the dam at the Embalse de Puentes. Boy, was there a bitterly cold wind blowing up there. There were lots of Crag Martins flying around. I think I managed a good shot of one from above by hanging over the railings as they took insects off the sunnier side of the dam. On the slightly choppy water there were only Cormorants and a Great Crested Grebe. The reeds at the far end produced a Grey Heron, a Yellow-legged Gull and a quartering Marsh Harrier. The resident Rock Doves were still here. Also seen was a closer Griffon Vulture and a pair of Jackdaws. We then headed down into the shelter of the pine forest for a picnic lunch. Colin was first to spot a Robin.
With no more birds forthcoming we each made our way back. Brian and Mary saw a Southern Grey Shrike and a Black Wheatear whilst we added Carrion Crow and Mistle Thrush to the list.
We ended on 36 species which wasn't bad at all considering the low temperatures. Thank you again to Adrian for showing us around.


15 January : Sierra María

Wow, Dave and Gilly out twice in a week, not that I can complain as I too was out with Bob Wright's Axarquía Group down at the Guadalhorce, but for that you'll have to check his page (http://birdingaxarquia2.blogspot.com.es/), although there wasn't much except 4 of my favourite wader, Greenshank. The company was good and it almost makes a change for me to speak English so much once in a while!
By the by, those who read and saw the photo of the Black Redstart at Fuente de Piedra from my Tuesday visit with Ron Appleby should be advised that it is one of the eastern forms. So, on to Dave and Gilly's day at Sierra María.

Having heard from Brian and Mary that Maria was open and there was little to no snow, I contacted them and arranged for Gilly and I to meet them for a days birding. We met at 10.30am at the garage cafe, hopefully avoiding any early morning frost. The weather couldn't have been better for the time of the year. Hardly a cloud in the sky, full sun, no wind, but still fleece wearing needed. As we left for the chapel our first bird was a Blue Tit. As we approached the car park some thrush-like birds flew off towards the pine trees. 4 Ring Ouzels....what a start! A Robin was seen. Disappointment then followed as major tree pruning was taking place near the water trough so very little in the bird department. Another Blue Tit and another couple of Ring Ouzels. We walked up the concrete road towards the Information Centre seeing a small mixed flock of Chaffinches and Rock Buntings on the way. We met the female ranger of the Botanical Gardens who, bless her, apologised profusely, saying there were very few birds around as she was working near all the small drinking pools. She was unfortunately correct. We did manage Great and Crested Tit. I spotted our only two Griffon Vultures of the day down the far end of the mountain ridge, which I must say had a sprinkling of snow on it in the shaded areas. Mary pointed out a Jay. At the far end of the lower walk we managed to coax out a Coal Tit and three Firecrests. We then headed back down to the cars, not adding any further species.
We made our way to the farm buildings seeing a couple of Carrion Crows overflying us. Another one was perched on one of the trees beyond the water deposit making some extraordinary calls! Once it had moved off some Crossbills appeared for a drink.
We then drove down to the  water trough area, seeing a female Black Redstart on the way. Mary and Brian spotted a large flock of small birds awaiting our departure so they could partake in the waters. They were mostly Linnets, but at least one Greenfinch was amongst them. A Mistle Thrush was also seen.
We carried on to the plain. As we drove slowly down there was nothing to see. As we approached the small ruin on the left hand side of the road, Gilly spotted a small bird to the right. As I slowed to a stop I saw 4 larger birds, scared by some nearby ploughing, take to the air for a short flight then land - Black-bellied Sandgrouse. We managed, with the help of Brian's telescope to pinpoint where they were. We drove further down to be at right angles to them. As I got out of the car Brian shouted, " Forget them, there's many more behind you by the rocky outcrop!" Sure enough a passing tractor obligingly put 14 more birds to flight. They gave us a magnificent display for about 3-4 minutes until they found a safe landing zone. Duly chuffed we headed for the hamlet where we added Crested Lark. Mary suggested that for a change we carry on a bit towards Orce. We drove about 5km further on. The terrain was more undulating with scattered copses of sparse pines. I don't think we saw one bird, but it was worth the look.
Feeling peckish now we headed back towards the La Piza forest cafe. As we drove back along the plain, Gilly spotted a fast low flying small falcon. A Merlin! At the cafe we only saw a few Crossbills as yet again tree pruning was taking place.
We ended up with 25 species. Great day out with some quality birds.


14 January : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

As Gilly, Carolyn and I headed south towards Cabo de Gata it was a bit cloudy with a hint of fog in the air, but by the time we got to the meeting up cafe in Pujaire visibility was still good, in fact better than the usual sun in your face. Due to illnesses there were only six group members today. We'd already seen the more commoner usual species before getting to Pujaire, but Cattle Egret, Kestrel and Jackdaw should be mentioned. After a coffee we made our way to the firstimmediately  hide. It was noticeable that the water level, mentioned in our last Cabo de Gata report, had not increased. As we scanned we saw Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, GreenshankDunlin, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and a single Eurasian Curlew. Gilly spotted a distant group of Spoonbills. Also seen were Slender-billed Gull, Mallard and Little Egret. Little birds seen included Stonechat, Southern Grey Shrike and Hoopoe. There was then a disturbance in the water in front of us. A large animal was swimming from right to left. I shouted, "Wild Boar", but it eventually turned out to be a fox...... I got ribbed about it all day!
We then headed to the second hide, stopping by the beach for a minor seawatch. There was no sign of the previously reported sighting on Reservoir Birds of a Black-throated Diver. In fact the calm sea only produced some distant unidentified gulls. We yomped our way to the hide, seeing a small flock of Meadow Pipits on the way. We were eventually able to confirm 14 Spoonbills in the group after a complex calculation of division and multiplication regarding the number of legs and bodies! Gilly counted 580 Greater Flamingos. I spotted a Dartford Warbler the other side of the dyke. It was joined by a Sardinian Warbler. Gilly spotted a distant "big bird" being mobbed by Yellow-legged Gulls which turned out to be a Marsh Harrier.  I spotted a couple of Lapwing over to the right. Then, all of a sudden, we saw a flock of about 40 large birds taking off and landing on the savannah close to the hide further along - a mass of Stone Curlews.
We then convoyed to the public hide. Here we saw our one and only "Cabo" Chiffchaff. Even less than at Villaricos last week. On the causeway we added Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls plus Sandwich Terns. Black-winged Stilts were also seen. From the hide itself we saw a raft of at least 100 Black-necked Grebes.
After a cuppa at the beach cafe in Cabo village we drove along the track to the Rambla de Morales. In the estuary cutting there was a Sanderling and a male Shoveler, the first of many seen in the main lake. As we walked down we saw Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen and White-headed Duck, but the star, first seen by John, was a preening male Pintail. A few more Chiffchaffs were seen, but only in small numbers. A small combined flock of Greenfinches and Serins completed our list for the day.
49 species seen in all. Good birding with great friends. Best wishes to Rod, out with an eye infection, and to Sandra with a heavy cold. Also a speedy recovery to Val (1) with a knee surgery and to Val (2) with a kidney infection!


13 January : Laguna Dulce & Fuente de Piedra

First, the rectification of an omission in my last entry from when Ron and I visted La Janda on 08 January. I forgot to say that we didn't see or hear a single Crane, a rather surprising default of a species which is common if not numerous on La Janda during the winter months.
So, that done now for today's outing which started at the Laguna Dulce, just outside Campillos at just before 10 this morning with the temperature showing a pleasant 3ºC but no wind, excellent light and sunshine.
Water levels are going down steadily there and the effects are showing with the huge fall in both numbers and variety if ducks and grebes, simply because the water depths are now insufficient to sustain them. The only grebe we saw was Little, and few of those, and there were a few Mallards and Shovelers, with a few Gadwall. A group of 18-19 Red-crested Pochards was showing itself way out on the far side of the lake, the males splendid in the sunshine but the surprise was the presence of 2 male Wigeon which promptly attached themselves to a swarm of Coots which came out in one solid block until a female Marsh Harrier showed itself and they then had a mass panic and scuttered and splashed for cover. Here we did see some Cranes, estimated at 26-27 birds as we were on the road with no way of stopping.
An interesting extra was a Mongoose which Ron saw as it scampered across some sand over to the right from the hide.
From there we went to Fuente de Piedra, stopping first at the fairly recently opened observation point at Las Latas, seeing a Southern Grey Shrike on the way. This new lookout point gives a magnificent view the whole length of the lake on days like today. The lake is drying out and although I didn't make any sort if estimate there is no doubt that numbers of Flamingos have fallen considerably since I was last there on 16 December 2014. I checked carefully but no signs of any Lessers and breeding looks very unlikely this year as there is insufficient water, only 23 cms when they need a minimum of 30 cms at the end of February if there is to be any chance if breeding. The one small group that was displaying is going to be disappointed.
From Las Latas we went round to Cantarranas and here we did find some more Cranes, around 76 and later a field with another 188 (= quite a lot or ca.264 birds). Here too we found singles of Purple Boghen, Redshank and, with a very long range identification, a Water Pipit, as well as a pair of Avocets and another of Black-winged Stilts. Skylarks were overflying and judging by the density if their bubbling calls there were quite a lot, the bubbles being broken by the occasional harsh croak of a Raven.
Black Redstart
The final stop was the Information Centre, having seen another Southern Grey Shrike on the way, although we gave little credence to an English birder who reckoned he had seen both Woodchat and Red-backed Shrikes within the last month near Santa Pola (Alicante). 
A visit to the laguneta behind the centre and a short walk along the board walk. Here we did see some waders, the predominant species being Little Stint of which there were at least 67 and probaby a lot more, followed by Snipe with a few Lapwings, 4 Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper and there were a few Little Ringed Plovers and a few Black-winged Stilts. Shoveler numbers are well down on previous years due to the drying out of the lake but there are still fair numbers of Teal and a few Pochards and Gadwalls. There were, of course, plenty of Chiffchaffs and a few Black Redstarts, of which the lovely male shown here was one. The reddish-brown on the lower flanks and belly possibly indicate a bird of more easterly origin, for example, Turkey, or perhaps an intergrade.
I think that there is little doubt that short of an abundant rainfall (of which there is little to no sign) the lake will be dry by the end of April, although I hope that the works done last year will enable it to maintain some water around the boardwalk area, which should make it very good for waders in March-May.


08 January 2015 : La Janda

New Year so it was time for my first visit down to La Janda along with my old friend Ron, who I picked uop in Fuengirola and we were having a coffee at the bar in Tahivilla at 09.30 to get the caffeine into the bloodstream to prepare us for the day ahead. Unlike Dave & Co. of the Arboleas Group who saw 50 species, we only saw 41 but wait until you read that we saw! There was some real quality. The route was the usual one: turn in opposite the turn off to Barbate, go along the side of the canala, very slowly with lost if scanning, across the bridge and uo and past the Finca de Enmedio (also better known as the smelly farm), then some 6 kms down the central track towards Facina befire finally turning back, right after the bridge and thence out on to the N-340.
It was pretty cool and a bit too windy for my liking and most of the rice paddies on the left side of the canal track have not yet been ploughed over and are pretty wet. There were very few White Storks and all that I saw last November will now be decorating a variety of buildings throughout Spain. Theare were both Little and Cattle Egrets scattered around, including one mixed feeding flock of around 50 birds, and another with some 30 or so Grey Herons sitting like a flock of hunched Quasimodos totally fed-up with their earthly existence, while there were other more isolated birds. Of more interest was the numbers of Lapwings, we guesstimated around 1.000 birds in various flocks, whilst we saw a single Green Sandpiper, a little group of around 12 Snipe and a flock of around 20 Golden Plovers, finding one dead on the track which we think must have collided with the wires.
Having covered the canal we went along to the east and stopped by the sluice gates where things startedz to look even better.
Someone who shall remain nameless forgot to get his camera out of the car and set it and is still rueing it as a 1st year Bonelli's Eagle flew near and low but things got even more exciting as Ron spotted a large, rather distant (it was too far away to photograph even if the camera had been ready) and we got reasonable but brief views and a lot of looking at size and wing silhouette led us to the concusion that it was a 1st year Lesser Spotted Eagle, a species Ron had seen in Turskey years ago and which must count as bird of the day, if not the month.
From there the next stop was along the top road past the farm where we stopped, ticked off the two Little Owls which have their home up there but did see 4 isolated Griffon Vultures. The one who had forgotten it get his camera ready before was then looking the wrong way when Ron saw a female Hen Harrier cross the road. This was to be remedied later on when we went down the central track and had stunning views of an immaculate male Hen Harrier, the only problem being that it had too many black orimarues and we wished it had had fewer, which would have at least equalled the Lesser Spotted as bird of the day/month. A Kestrel, one of around 15 seen during the day, was not a great compensation but the surprise bird was an immature Black Stork!
But to return to the road over the top, there was a huge flock of Serins, estimated as between 100 and 150 birds with little yellow rumps flitting around, and when one looked carefully there were also goodly numbers of Meadow Pipits foraging in the grass. There were not big numbers of Chiffchaffs which ties in with Dave's report from Almería, and not even big numbers of Goldfinches.
From there it was time to start off back as I had a dental appointment later that afternoon and we came across a male Marsh Harrier, the only male amongst 9 seen during the day, but at last I managed tio get a photo or two of one which didn't just show a vanishing stern!
And that was just about it although there was still just one more good species for us to see, a Great White Egret (or whatever they're being called now). So, a very good day out to be changed later in the dentist's chair.

7 January 2015 : Rambla de Almanzora & Vera

Well, that's it. 2015 is here. All the celebrations are over and, one hopes, the hangovers. At least Dave, Gilly and the brave members of the Arboleas Group appear to have recovered as at least they ventured out. So here we go with their first report of the year. Chiffchaff numbers here have fallen too, but there are still goodly numbers by normal standards and there were 3 in the pine tree in my garden just before I started putting this together.
It was somewhat chilly as Gilly and I were waiting the arrival of the other group members above the rambla just outside Villaricos for our first trip of the year. John was the first to arrive, having already spotted Redshank and Green Sandpiper from the opposite embankment. The others soon arrived so we commenced birding in earnest. There wasn't that much water around, but enough for some Mallard and Black-winged Stilts. We added Stonechat, Black Redstart, Robin, Serin and Goldfinch. There were not so many Chiffchaff about than before Christmas. We headed up towards the sewage works. On the first pool we saw a pair of  Little Ringed Plovers and a Water Pipit.Astonishingly there was nothing on the second larger pool. We made our way back towards the cars, adding Grey Wagtail, Thekla Lark and a Grey Heron. We walked over the rambla to observe the pools there more closely. We were rewarded when I spotted a Bluethroat which showed well but too distant for a good photo. Also seen were Little Stint, a stunning male Teal and Gilly spotted a Snipe. As we walked back to the vehicles a Cormorant flew over.
After a warming coffee in the village we made our way down to the beach. There were many cormorants on the harbour rocks as well as a Grey Heron. Carolyn spotted another on the rocks to the right. A Black-necked Grebe was fishing close to shore. We carried on round to the estuary where we could see maybe another 100 Cormorants. As we got there a Great White Egret flew off. On the beach spit a line of gulls proved to be Yellow-legged, Black-headed and a few Audouin's. Beyond them out to sea we saw a Great Crested Grebe and a small raft of Black-necks. Still no sign of any Mergansers or Razorbill. Colin spotted a Southern Grey Shrike. A Kingfisher flew low over the water to everyone's delight. n the beach we added Ringed and Kentish Plover and Dunlin. On the rocky point I spotted a Whimbrel together with a Little Egret. A Cattle Egret flew over as we were departing in the cars.
We convoyed to the dual carriageway behind Vera beach. There were numerous Crag Martins flying over the shallow pools. A group of small waders proved to be Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Little Stint. Richard spotted a Marsh Harrier over the reeds on the far side. There were 4 Greater Flamingos and some Shovelers down the far end. Lots of Teal were also seen. Les had done a really good job clearing a viewpoint in the reeds overlooking the pool opposite the Consum supermarket. There we only added Little Grebe, but others ventured to the other pools seeing White-headed Duck and Avocet
A very good days birding. 50 species seen. Hopefully a good omen for the year!