Monday, 9 April 2012

Thursday 5th April - La Mata

Conditions: Bright but unpredictable – short heavy showers and thunder later in the day.
Spring is here and the days are beginning to warm, people are starting to work on their homes and in their gardens ready for the hot days and balmy nights in the summer ahead. Are we glad to be back? Hmmmmmmm let’s see – a little unpredictable cloud and a few showers with a bit of rain overnight here in Spain or SNOW and rain with grey skies all day in the UK................! The familiar call of the Hoopoe in the garden was the perfect welcome home.
It had rained overnight but by 9am the ground was dry and the sun was shining. As we have only just arrived we decided not to venture too far today but do a bit of a “round up” of La Mata, one of our favourite sites. There are several short easy walks here and the landscape is such that it presents the perfect opportunity to “get your eye back in” when returning from the UK. There are a variety of different habitats here, which cover a relatively small area, and are home to a vast number of different species, both migrant and resident birds.
Within minutes of arriving a large bird caught my eye perched high on a distant dead tree. In the time it took to get my optics and camera out of the car and ready for action, it had moved closer and landed just a few feet away from where we had parked.
What a magnificent start to the day, a Great-spotted Cuckoo to admire! As we walked along the path, which is well established and well used at all times of the day by both walkers and cyclists, it was evident that there were in fact 3 Great-spotted Cuckoo in the area. It would be fantastic if they breed here and we will definitely be watching them closely over the next few months. Other birds of note recorded were Osprey (1), Crested Lark, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Med Gull (10+), Black-winged Stilt, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Sand Martin, Serin, Common Tern, Southern Grey Shrike (1), Sardinian Warbler, Stone Curlew, Kestrel (1pair), Spotless Starling and Sardinian Warbler. Dartford Warbler could be heard but we were unable to locate them. Last year we recorded two pairs breeding at this site so it was encouraging to hear them in the area again, after what has reportedly been a cold/wet winter. This is one of our regular sites so we will be able to watch for any signs of them breeding nearby.

Great-spotted Cuckoo

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