After a couple of days of rain we were keen to ‘go find some birds’ again, so we collected Bryan from his house and ‘The Three Amigos’ were back in business! Our first stop was by the salinas, in the pull off by the big rocks. Here we had a slight mishap whilst trying to work out how to make the car window go down fully so that Bryan can get his big lens through the gap! John managed to lock the door so that it would not shut again! After some ‘umming and ahhing’ Bryan opened the door handle in the car and it was fixed. Sorting out the window will have to wait until another day. With the panic over we started to survey the lagoon and Bryan spotted a Squacco Heron on the far side, in amongst the Little Egrets and Grey Herons. While we were there a car pulled in and we were happy to see it was fellow CBBC member and friend, Trevor. Either Bryan or Trevor spotted an Osprey hovering over the lagoon on the other side of the road, we had great views of it, especially through the scope, possibly the best views John and I have ever had of this species. After watching the bird for a while I had a scan around the lagoon on our side of the road and spotted a Great White Egret along with Great Crested Grebes, Greater Flamingos, Shelducks, Shovelers and various species of gull. Bryan saw a Black necked Grebe and Trevor informed us he had seen Whimbrel and Redshank from the lay by back along the road. While we were standing there a group of three, then another four Spoonbills flew overhead; a great sight! This was shaping up to be a good day’s birding.
Trevor decided to follow us as we set off on our usual route, with the first stop being just past the bridge after the ‘little reserve’. John spotted a raptor sitting on a distant pylon and we all had a look at it through the scopes. Initially, we thought it might be Tonn, the Great Spotted Eagle and we all got quite excited for a while. Bryan suggested we try to get a bit nearer so we parked a bit further on and then walked along a very muddy track towards the bird. When we looked at it at closer range we started to doubt our initial identification and decided, rather glumly, that it was probably a Buzzard. We drove further along the road and saw quite a few raptors in the air, including, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier and two Booted Eagles with one apparently going to land in a tree on the right, before changing it’s mind as we approached. We have seen one there before so it might be worth checking that tree again next time we are out. Continuing along to the crossroads we turned right on to a minor road, passing the new reserve which we had visited with the CBBC in September, and noting a few cars parked along the track, probably Spanish birders. At the roundabout we headed along the small track to the area by the Palm farm where we had previously seen the Black Shouldered Kite. Unfortunately, it appears that this bird has now moved on. More raptors were showing, including several Booted Eagles and we flushed large numbers of Collared Doves from the trees along the road, in fact moreCollared Doves than I have ever seen! From here we went to the Vistabella house, where not a lot was happening so we moved along the road and stopped opposite the place where we had seen the Osprey last week. The Osprey wasn’t around but when we scanned the fields opposite, someone spotted a Kestrel perched on a stick and a raptor in the air. While looking at the raptor we spotted another bird which looked to me like aWhite Stork. I got the scope on the bird and noted that it had no white on the back but it did have a white area on it’s front. We considered the other options but decided it did not look grey enough to be a Crane and the white patch suggested it was not a Glossy Ibis. Only Bryan and I saw the bird well but I am sure it was a Black Stork despite the fact that sightings of this bird are quite unusual.
We drove round to the parallel road where a group of Spanish birders were on the side of the road. I went over to ask what they were looking at and they told me that eight Common Cranes had just disappeared out of sight. I realised the group included Sergio, from the Spanish bird group AHSA, who had taken the CBBC to see the new reserve in September. I told him I thought we had seen a Black Stork and he said it was unusual but not impossible, especially if it was just a single bird. Sergio and his four companions told us they had been bird ringing at the new reserve where they had ringed a lot of Chiffchaffs along with Blackbird, Robin, Bluethroat and Blackcap. We parted company and they went off to try to find the Cranes (which we didn’t see), and we went looking for the Black Stork. Driving back to the area of the ‘little reserve’ we spotted a raptor on a post and stopped to have a look, meanwhile Trevor, in his car behind us, was looking at the Black Stork flying further away behind the raptor and we hadn’t even seen it! Heading off in the direction the bird had gone we parked up and scanned around a bit seeing a small flock of Tree Sparrows and two Booted Eagles sitting on a pylon. Other small bird flocks were around including Linnet, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Skylarks. Unfortunately, we could not find our mystery bird, despite driving around a few more lanes so we gave up and headed for home. Back at home, nursing a major migraine, I watched a lovely male Sardinian Warblermoving about in the Hibiscus and wondered if it might be easier just to stay at home and wait for the birds to come to me!
Species list – Great crested Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Spoonbill, Grey Heron, Black Stork?, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Shoveler, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Kestrel, Coot, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Stint, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Skylark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Southern Grey Shrike, Starling, Tree Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.