Saturday, 20 April 2013

Yecla 18th April 2013 - Black-bellied Sandgrouse

Although we are a little earlier at this site than last year we had hope for both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse without too much trouble.  This did not prove to be the case.  If our quarry had been Larks and Wheatear we would have "bagged up" with 3 species of Wheatear and 5 species of Lark in plentiful numbers.  The Sandgrouse however, did not want to play, and stayed well hidden even though we could hear them around us.  It occurred to us that looking for the Sandgrouse today had become a bit like fishing when you are not getting a bite - you get "sinking float syndrome" ie:  you begin to imagine your float has gone under, just as we thought every "big blob" in the distance looked like a Sandgrouse !  We had the usual "Stone Bird", "Stick Bird" and "Black Bin Bag Bird" even a "Water Hydrant Tap Bird"!   Determined to locate at least one flock of the real thing, we persevered and were rewarded with a flock of 8 Pin-tailed and 13 Black-bellied Sandgrouse with 2 Little Bustard some distance from the track.  What a relief, not just for us, but because they are still there as over the years we have been visiting this site the landscape has changed considerably and it would be shame for the birds to lose their habitat completely.

It was very hot out here today the temperature reaching a high of 28 degrees, and the heat haze made it difficult to photograph the Sandgrouse, but we have included a few of the better pictures even though they are quite distant.

The track we always use has become very rough and at a couple of points is almost too pot-holed to travel along, so we decided to explore the area a little further afield and see if we could find an alternative route. Just before where we get off the main road to this site there is a small camino (service road), which proved to be perfect.  It still takes us around the same site, but it is much more comfortable and a lot kinder to our car !

Species recorded:  Bee-eater, Nightingale (1), Turtle Dove (1), Spotless Starling, House Martin, Pallid Swift, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Magpie, Corn Bunting, Carrion Crow, Calandra Lark, Thekla Lark, Crested Lark, Short-toed Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Goldfinch, Spotted Flycatcher (1), House Sparrow, Swallow, Common Swift, Woodchat Shrike (1), Iberian Green Woodpecker (1), Red-legged Partridge, Greenfinch, Little Bittern, Sardinian Warbler, Black-bellied Sandgrouse (13), Little Bustard (2 in flight) , Black-eared Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Black Wheatear and Kestrel

Calandra Lark 


Black-bellied Sandgrouse 

Sardinian Warbler

Spanish Swallowtail

Spanish Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail

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