17 June: Cabo de Gata and Rambla Morales

First, you may have noticed a lack of posts on my part. This is because I have problems with knees and back which have been horrendously uncooperative these past few months and have severely curtailed my mobility and hence birding, which has been confined largely to watching from the terrace. Not nice and I have been told that the medics can't do much for me except keep taking the analgesics as before. I don't want any sympathy, that's the way it goes and there are plenty in far worse state and I have had 60+ years at it. I shall continue with this blog until at least the autumn of 2016, as meantime I hope to get some birding in and am going to get in two major trips whilst I can and which have always been on my 'wanted' agenda: 2 weeks in the Galapagos next spring and Svalbard/Spitsbergen in the same summer for 10 days, and some may be interested in reading those reports. I shall also try to get in some birding locally and I am having  week on Garan Canaria with a friend (female) in the second half of August, so there'll be something from there.
Meanwhile, birding from the terrace has included a flock of 13 Teal (cerceta común) flying W yesterday evening (17 June) and gaining height. What the devil they are doing here and where they were going is one of life's big mysteries which I can´t explain. There is also a small family of Spotted Flycatchers (papamoscas gris) in the garden, which is rather nice. 
In the next few weeks,I shall be putting in some bird book crits, books which any birder down here should have. 
I am most grateful to Dave & Co (Arboleas unlimited) for his reports and here is Dave's latest and last for a while.
Gilly and I headed down to one of our favourite birding haunts....Cabo de Gata. By the time we'd reached the cafe at Pujaire, Gilly had seen a Great Spotted Cuckoo (críalo) and a Southern Grey Shrike (alcaudón real) and I had seen a Turtle Dove and a Pallid Swift as well as some of the commoner birds.
We met up with John, Rod and Jacky before making our way to the first hide. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and no heat haze, so visibility was great. There were numerous Avocets (avocetas) with a few Black-tailed Godwits (agujas colinegras)and Black-winged Stilts (cigüeñuelas). Smaller waders included Kentish (chorlitejo patinegro) and Ringed Plover (chorlitejo grande). I spotted a lone Stone Curlew (alcaraván) way over to the right. Also seen were Shelduck (tarro blanco), Mallard (azulón) and a Little Egret (garceta común). Only hirundines were Red-rumped Swallows (golondrina daurica). The only gulls seen were Yellow-legs (gaviota patiamarilla) and Slender-bills (gaviota picofina), both in small numbers. A couple of Iberian Yellow Wagtails (lavandera bueyera raza iberiae)were seen before we drove to the second hide. En route Gilly saw a Kestrel (cernicalo común). A seawatch proved fruitless. Jacky spotted a Southern Grey Shrike (alcaudón real), whilst Rod added a Woodchat Shrike (alcaudón común). John spotted the Redshank (archibebe común). Gilly did her usual Greater Flamingo (flamenco grande) count....520 birds. Heat haze was now becoming a problem.
We drove to the public hide. First bird was a Whiskered Tern (fumarel cariblanco)resting on a rock on the right hand salina. We added Audouin's Gull (gaviota de Audouin), Lesser Black-backed (gaviota sombría) and Black-headed Gull (gaviota reidora). I was first to spot the Eurasian Curlew (zarapito real) flying onto one of the islands. A second was seen beside the right hand salina.
After refreshments at the beach-side cafe we convoyed to the pool at the Rambla de Morales. Not many birds, but a good variety. Coot (focha común), Moorhen (gallineta de agua), a single white fronted juvenile (first summer - A.) Cormorant (cormorán grande), a couple of male White-headed Ducks (malvasía cariblanco)and both Little and Black-necked Grebes (zampullines chico y cuellinegro). Gilly glimpsed a bird near some distant reeds. I managed to have a fleeting view before it disappeared...a swimming Water Rail (rascón europeo). Also seen was a Bee-eater (abejaruco) and Greenfinch (verderón) and a Barn Swallow (golondrina común) on our way out.
45 species in total. Our last outing of the summer due to the heat. See you in late August. I'm sure I'll be out at some point, so watch out for other reports.
Good birding. Regards, Dave.
A sentiment with which I fully agree. Have a good summer.


´10 June: Sierra de María

With  good memories of our trip to the Pyrenées with Brian and Mary, together with the Lammergeier (quebrantahuesos), Citril Finch (verderón serrano), Dipper (mirlo acuático), Dunnock (acentor común), Yellowhammer (escribano cerillo) and Red-backed Shrike (alcaudón dorsirrojo) firmly behind us, Gilly and I headed to the Sierra de Maria where we met up with John, Rod and Linda. After a cup of coffee and a quick clothing change for Gilly, as we'd come straight from a nursing job, we made our way to the chapel area. I quickly spotted a Booted Eagle (águila calzada) up on the ridge. Probably the same adult seen by John as he approached María town. A single Griffon Vulture (buitre leonado) glided by. 
Not a lot round the chapel. There were a couple of White Wagtails (lavanderas blancas) on the farmed area below the fuente. Our best bird, possibly only one as I remember, round the water trough was Bonelli's Warbler (mosquitero papialbo). We sauntered up to the Botanical Gardens without adding any further ticks. 
We were met by one of the rangers. I asked him about any birds and he said it was best around the small pools. Sure enough, we hung around there and saw Blue Tit (herrerillo común), Crossbill (piquituerto) and Subalpine Warbler (curruca carrasqueña). Short-toed Treecreepers (agateador común) made an appearance as did Coal (carbonero garrapino) and Crested Tits (herrerillo capuchino). We did the lower walk only adding a noisy, but distant Raven (cuervo).
It was then back to the vehicles for the short drive to the farm buildings. On the way, apart from a Carrion Crow (corneja común), there were a number of low flying Griffon Vultures (buitres leonados) over the disused Visitor Centre. After a slow start we eventually saw Corn Bunting (triguero), Hoopoe (abubilla), Great Tit (carbonero común), Rock Sparrow (gorrión chillón) and Serin (verdecillo). We next stopped at the water trough area. We added Turtle Dove (tórtola europea), Wood Pigeon (paloma torcaz), Goldfinch (jilguero) and Crested Lark (cogujada común). More Rock Sparrows (gorriónes chillones) were heard.
A slow drive down the plain added Little Owl (mochuelo) and an obliging Short-toed Lark (terrera común). Apart from further Crested Larks (cogujadas comunes) birds were few and very far between. Had slightly more luck at the hamlet. 
Two pairs of Northern Wheatears (collalbas grises) appeared to be having some sort of boundary dispute. I spotted some distant Calandra Larks (calandrías), but by this time heat haze was a problem as well as empty stomachs!
We made our way to the La Piza forest cafe where we enjoyed watching Chaffinch (pinzón común), Crossbill (piquituerto) and a Jay (arrendajo) whilst eating our lunch. A thirsty Spanish subspecies Red Squirrel (ardilla) came for a drink.
Nice to be back on our local patch. 34 species seen. How long can we and the birds stand the heat?