Sunday, September 19, 2021

πŸ“– πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ Spain Trip Report 05 ~ 14th Sept 2021 ~ Part 2

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ Friday, September 10th ☀️ 31C ~ With Dave heading off to Holland during the rest of my stay It was time for a day out a little further afield and my annual trip to Tarifa for the bird migration. Although of course, I missed out in 2020 due to Covid!

Left ~ The view on arrival at the Mirador                 Right ~ The view at the Observatory 30 minutes later

Instead of using the AP-7 I decided on a toll-free route from Mijas down to Tarifa due to the huge wildfire just north of Estepona (more on that in part 3) and arrived at the Mirador del EstrechoI for coffee at around 9:30am. As you can see from the above images the views were somewhat curtailed by the low cloud and mist, not unlike an Aberdeenshire morning on occasions! But like home, the mist and cloud soon diminished and by the time I arrived at the observatory a short time later, the conditions were perfect.

Short-toed Eagle passing overhead the observatory

The first movement of note was a large group of Black Kites drifting low over Tarifa and just gaining enough height for the relatively short hop over to Morocco and the African continent. There was a slow but constant passage of Short-toed Snake Eagle and I managed double figures during my two-hour stay. 

Griffon Vulture ~ One of several today heading for the Straits.

Vultures are always an awesome sight at any time and it was good to see both Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture, along with the odd juvenile passing through. I've also recorded RΓΌppell's Vulture on other occasions but sadly not today. 

Egyptian Vulture

Booted Eagle's and Honey Buzzards made up the numbers and I'm always surprised to see how many Sparrowhawks make the journey across. As spectacular as always there were a few species absentees from my normal haul, including Bonelli's Eagle, Black Stork and Harriers.

Always check the wires at La Janda for Black-winged Kites.

From Cazalla I always make the 30-minute drive further north along the coast to La Janda. Details can be found HERE (John Cantelo) but I have to say that in my opinion, the site has become less attractive more recently. Species such as Great Bustard can no longer be found here and there is little or no open water left where Glossy Ibis and Spoonbills can feed, let alone waders. Where there were once many rice paddies lots are now just ploughed fields. 

White Storks 

Still, it's a good area that can be viewed from the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of areas to stop and observe some good species, although in places the track can be rough but easily manoeuvred. One species that I'm always on the lookout for at La Janda is the Black-winged Kite and I was lucky enough to encounter two of these ghostly looking raptors, always check the wires! On the other hand, White Storks can be found anywhere around La Janda and in huge numbers, congregating before the weather is just right for the crossing, they don't like flying over water and many stay for the duration.

Woodchat Shrike which I originally tweeted as Red-backed Shrike!

It's worth checking the large Sparrow colonies for Spanish Sparrow, two today and other passerines included StonechatSpotted Flycatcher and Corn Bunting. I was convinced I'd photographed a juvenile Red-backed Shrike (pretty rare for southern Spain) but the Birds of Spain forum soon were on it, with everyone in agreement this is a Woodchat Shrike, I yield to local knowledge, my experience of juvenile shrikes is somewhat limited! Also of note today around La Janda Common Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin Crested LarkTurtle Dove,  Montagu's Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Glossy Ibis, Bee-eater, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Cattle Egret & Little Egret, with Green Sandpiper along the ditches. 

Northern Banded Groundling

Is this a rare Zeller's Skipper ~ Found only in the Campo de Gibraltar in Europe

Away from the birding, La Janda is a good place to find Northern Banded Groundling a recent coloniser from Africa but I'll end the post on a mystery butterfly! This looks like an Essex Skipper or is it perhaps a Zeller's Skipper which can be found here but I've yet to research it and sadly I have no wing shots.

More Images of the Day...

Cattle Egret

Juvenile Turtle Dove

Black-winged Kite

Juvenile Egyptian Vulture

Northern Banded Groundling