Friday, May 05, 2023

πŸ“– πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ ~ Spain Visit Pictorial No.2 Spring 2023

Another pictorial of my current visit to Spain which includes a mid-morning visit to Guadalhorce on Tuesday 2nd May and a drive down to the Cazalla Bird Observatory at Tarifa and onwards to La Janda on Wednesday 3rd May. Site details for La Janda are available HERE. Details for Guadalhorce are HERE.

Guadalhorce can be quite frustrating at times with people still cycling around the reserve, despite new signage and fencing and a constant passage of joggers can be disruptive. I always attempt to get there pre-dawn when the birding is better but occasionally it's not possible. Still, it was a good visit with 55 species seen including a Caspian Tern on the Rio Viejo and a good selection of Gulls on Laguna Grande.

A Caspian Tern on the old river section ~ I last saw this species here back in September 2014

A favourite of mine is Audouin's Gull ~ Seven in total today

I've been surprised during this spring visit to Spain by how many Slender-billed Gulls frequent Guadalhorce. A count of 21 today. This after another large count of 27 birds on April 22nd

Mediterranean Gulls are always in reasonable numbers at Guadalhorce.

A count of nine Marbled Duck today, a species reintroduced in 2022 and doing very well.

Normally zitting away above your head it's not too often the Fantail Warbler (Zitting Cisticola) perches up for a photo opportunity.

Two Whiskered Terns today among the many Sandwich Terns ~ This one fishing on the Laguna de la Casilla

On Wednesday 3rd May I took the 90-minute drive to the Cazalla Bird Observatory at Tarifa. Arriving around 10am I stopped just short of the observatory for a coffee at Mirador del Estreco, which offers great views across the Straits towards Morroco. It was actually blowing a hoolie but just above 3 Griffon Vultures were braving the conditions and battling easily against the wind. These conditions didn't bode well for the observatory and so it transpired. I spend around 40 minutes without a single bird on passage, likely all held up across the straits in Morocco due to the strong winds. Hard to believe that the day before over 10,000 Honey Buzzards were recorded crossing the Straits!

The only saving grace at La Janda was this stunning Black-winged Kite perched in sheltered trees.

I hadn't actually planned to visit La Janda today but to try and avert a wasted journey I drove the extra 25 minutes from the observatory, taking the circular off-road track anticlockwise, entering La Janda opposite the Zahara turn-off on the N-340. A few hours later I was back on the N-340 on route home. 

Black-winged Kite

It was still blowing a gale and the birding was challenging. My worst-ever visit to La Janda with not a single piece of open water to be found. All the rice fields were currently being ploughed and at least half of the channels leading off the Canal colector del este devoid of water. Any Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis or White Storks I did find were located at the far end of the few channels that did contain some water. A stunning Black-winged Kite, a single Marsh Harrier and a fly-by Collared Pratincole were the only species of note! Driving northeast along the Canal interconnector where a few years ago many Cattle Egrets were nesting did not hold a single nest!! The demise of this once amazing habitat continues, very depressing!