Conditions: Bright, Sunny, very little cloud. Temp: 18- 24 degrees throughout the day.
We drove out to the Valley this morning with no real expectations as we are 2 weeks ahead of our usual first visit to this site. The resident species of Black Bellied Sandgrouse, Little Bustard and many Lark species, did not fail us despite the changes in the landscape since our last visit 10 months ago. The vegetation is a lot denser giving the already elusive bustards even more places to hide! The landowners seem to have had a good crop of cabbage and broccoli resulting in less natural habitat than last season, although it does provide a more diverse environment, to tempt the returning migrants we hope to see over the next few weeks.
The first track we drove along passes the reservoirs which are almost full to capacity – qualifying the talk amongst our friends out here of “an unusually wet winter”. Black Winged Stilt, Little ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Pied and Yellow wagtail were recorded in small but reasonable numbers.
Moving away from the river bed we recorded Southern Grey Shrike (1), Red-Legged Partridge, Short-toed and Calandra Lark, Stone Curlew, Quail and Black-Bellied Sandgrouse (8).
Magpies were plentiful as were Kestrel, Serin and Greenfinch. Sub-alpine and Sardinian Warbler both showed well as did the local population of Hare.
All in all a good first visit and a definite improvement on the snow reported for the UK !