Sunday, 21 April 2013

Heron species and so much more !

The weather was overcast this morning but that didn't stop us getting out and about.   The first field we stopped at held an impressive count of 160+ displaying Collared Pratincole.   They kept us entertained for a good half hour and we were able to get some great photographs. 

Collared Pratincole 

Come on ladies look at me ! 

Seems his display did the trick 

This male was not so lucky ! 

Collared Pratincole 

Mid morning saw us walking along the canal to the hide at El Hondo from the Vistabella Road. In the reed beds and from he hide we recorded 8 different species of Heron; Squacco, Grey, Purple, Black-crowned Night, Cattle Egret, Little, Great White and Little Bittern. 

The boardwalk to the hide had obviously not been used recently because as we walked down it we were covered in spiders webs and mosquitoes lovely !! Luckily the spiders had trapped most of the mossies so we didn't get bitten too much. Great Reed Warbler, Reed Warbler, Little Grebe, Pochard and Moustache Warbler were also recorded en route. 

Once in the hide we had excellent views of the Osprey on the nest and the White-headed Duck, the two birds we had primarily visited the hide to see. The water level was high as was the bird count; Flamingos (250+), White-headed Duck (20+), Pochard (50+) and Black-necked Grebe (50+). Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Little Tern, Marbled Teal (2), Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe - a great start to the day.

Little Bittern 

Little Bittern 

Great Crested Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

Whiskered Tern 

White-headed Duck 

Purple Heron 

Cattle Egret 

Great Reed Warbler 

The cloud soon cleared and although the temperature did not break 20 degrees it was still pleasant enough to sit outside our favourite Tapas bar and enjoy a light lunch of Russian Salad, Breaded Chicken, Paella and Potato skins drizzled in olive oil and coated in salt & pepper - wonderful authentic food rounded off with some strong black coffee. 
Once our bellies were refuelled we headed back out for our regular weekend round-up of the local fields.  Amongst all the usual suspects we also recorded Yellow Wagtail (2), Glossy Ibis (3) and both Marsh and Montagu's Harrier.  We saw several flooded fields but there still doesn't appear to be many migrant waders about, there has been a large movement of hirundines in the the last 24 hours and we had two seperate sightings of Alpine Swift. 
Last stop, the place all men take their wives to during a weekend drive - the local tip ! Hundreds of birds fight over the spoils despite there being more than enough to go around. We watched Med Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Cattle Egret, Stock Dove and Spotless Starling in vast numbers along with 2 Grey Heron and a White Stork pick through the debris, seemingly unaffected by the refuse vehicles regularly driving past them. Viewing is limited to one or two spots at this sight but if you want to polish up your Gull ID skills then this is place to be. On the other hand if you want to impress your other half - it definitely is not ! The smell is non too fresh and depending on the wind/ heat factor can be unbearable. Not even the promise of an expensive bottle of Chanel is enough brownie points to class this venue as acceptable on a date ! 

Talking of White Storks, last night we added it to our garden list - about 6pm a White Stork flew over the villa. Quite comical really, not the Stork, Mark, running from the shower room up to the solarium, with the camera in one hand and a firm hold of the towel he was wearing in the other ! And they tell me that bird watching is a hobby for the more discerning amongst us !

White Stork going over the villa at Quesada 

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