Sunday, 15 April 2012

8th/15th Sightings- Part One

The evening of 9th April was quite windy and so with that in mind we spent the morning of the 10th at La Mata looking for any newly arrived migrants. We weren't disappointed, as within minutes of arriving, the first of 5 Woodchat Shrike we saw at this site posed in the sun for us. One particular field, with low cut vines, seemed to have attracted the new arrivals, Northern and Black-eared Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat (in good numbers) and 3 male Redstart were all recorded in this area.

Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow were all on todays list.

Wednesday morning (11th) we decided to make the short drive to Yecla in Murcia with the hope of locating the Bustards we had there last year. We arrived shortly after first light and it was soon evident that the landfall of Wheatear we had witnessed the day before at La Mata was not contained to the coast. The fields were alive with them and we watched them for quite a while. The wind was strong and it was almost impossible to photograph anything well. To give you an idea of the how the wind restricted the taking of photographs, when we arrived home the inside of the car was covered in a light film of dust.

The following species were seen and recorded but only flight views of Great Bustard and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. We were more lucky with the Little Bustard that we saw in flight and on the edge of one of the heavily planted out fields. Black-bellied Sandgrouse were seen in 3 different locations of this site, both in flight (8) and in the field (2). Other birds seen throughout the day: Peregrine Falcon feasting on a kill, Kestrel (good numbers all over the area), Calandra Lark, Thekla, Crested and Short-toed Lark and Hoopoe Encouraging to know that despite the area being well worked, with a lot more growth and vegetation this year than last, the birds are still there.


  1. Hi Ash, good to see you're back. Seems to be a lot of crakes around at the moment, so if you know of any likely habitats, might be worth a look. I've set up my own blog, ''. Take a look as it'll keep you up to date with what's been about around Cartagena.
    All the best,
    Richard Howard

  2. Hi Richard - Its not Ash it's his Dad Mark - Ash is doing survey work in the UK and is taking out our Scotland Tour next week. Looked at your blog - are you interested in a link exchange ? I regularly keep up with your news through Reservoir Birds. If you want to meet up for a days birding would be pleased to join you. I am over here until first week of June. Mark