Saturday, October 01, 2016

Birding Spain ~ Final Day

With my flight home not until Wednesday evening I took a final opportunity to visit Zapata one last time in the early dawn. A Grasshopper Warbler had been seen at the ford yesterday, a mega sighting for Andalucía by all accounts, but there was no sign during my visit.

The ford at Zapata ~ A wonderful habitat full of birds!
As I arrived a Night Heron was busy feeding on the waters edge, along with Little Egret but soon took flight as I approached. Also at the watering hole was a good selection of Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Serin, plus the usual Common Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plovers, not at all bothered by my presence. I parked up and took a stroll around, several Crested Lark and two White Wagtail along the ground and after checking the many tamarisk I ended up with Pied Flycatcher, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff and a group of twenty or so Common Waxbill, which were pretty mobile. Further along the river Kingfishers were busy as usual and by the time I arrived back at the car Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail, Hoopoe, Cattle Egret and overhead Barn Swallow, Common Swift, and House Martin.

Once across the ford I spent time on the bridge overlooking the flood channel, which had just enough water trickling through to entice birds down for a drink. As I set up the scope a Marsh Harrier drifted over, two Red-rumped Swallows bravely challenging before continuing on. A dark phase Booted Eagle, closely followed by an Osprey next, which seemed to drop down abruptly after spotting something tasty no doubt! Back to the channel and a Black Redstart was one of several birds taking advantage, then a gorgeous male Common Redstart and yet another adult Bluethroat. A half dozen Serin and a Stonechat was perched up in usual fashion on a nearby branch!

Stone Curlew ~ In the heat haze!
Finally, making my way back to the Mesón El Cohete café for breakfast I stopped to see if Monday's Stone Curlew were still around. Five birds were still on site and I managed a Short-toed Lark and a second Bluethroat of the day before finally bringing this particular trip to a close!