Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Caleta de Velez

31 March 2009

This morning I took Andy Paterson's advice to go down to the harbour at Caleta, as I had asked him about locations for sea birds. This being the nearest to me and as I had a few hours spare I ventured out with camera.

I am still learning the names of all the sea birds, but recognised straight away that some of the birds flying around were not seagulls but terns. A quick look in the book to identify and I think they were Sandwich Terns. They were diving into the water which was a pleasure to watch. They are an elegant, attractive sea bird that photograph well.
Also I saw a Mediteranean Gull, with its dark head. As I walked along the shore line near the harbour a Kentish Plover was exploring the sand and pebbles. He turned his head and took one look at me and flew off.

It was all quiet and peaceful until a small fishing boat came in and this caused a frenzy of hundreds of gull trying to get in on some of the fish from the boat...very exciting and well worth a visit to Caleta.

Birdlist: Mediteranean Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Kentish Plover, Cormorant, Grebe,

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Fuente de Piedra

26th March 2009

Today I spent a few hours at Fuente de Piedra as I had to be in Malaga later in the afternoon. On the coast it was a pleasant 19c, but inland at the lagoon the temperature had reached 23c, and felt really warm. First sightings were of four kestrels near the visitor centre flying about. Before getting to the car park I pulled over the car and saw a male Ruff in non breeding plumage in the pond to the left, also plenty of Black-winged stilt.

I decided to walk over the wooden bridge/pathway where there was two Avocet in the grass. On the main lagoon there are many flamingos in the distance and a few flew over to land at the rear pond. Nothing really spectacular but a fine way to spend a morning.

Birdlist: Flamingo, Yellow wagtail, Avocet, Black-winged stilt, Ringed plover, Ruff, Coot, Moorhen, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Tree pipit, Common Tern, Black-headed Gull, White wagtail, Swallow, Hoopee, Goldfinch.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Alhama-tracking the dipper

March 23 2009

Yesterday I was determined to get a photo of the dipper I had seen on previous occasions up in Alhama de Granada. Last week I had seen him along the river that runs through the gorge between the town of Alhama and the lake. Another birder Bob Wright had also gone to find this elusive bird last Friday but sadly failed to get a glimpse of him. So the challenge was on!
Previously I had seen him at the footbridge, so I waited there for over an hour, but no dipper. So I decided to walk a little further into the gorge. I could hear a Wren singing heartedly away, so I scanned the area but couldn’t see anything. Then suddenly I saw something fly onto a rock. Quick look through the binoculars confirmed it was a wren. I watched him for about 15 mins moving about. This was a treat as these little birds are not that common here.
I waited again at another opening where you can get a good view of the stream, but still no dipper. Long-tailed tits, blue, and great tits where in the trees. I walked further up the path deep into the gorge, I could see the town in the distance, and notice the stream was getting bigger and louder! I left the path and climbed over the rocks and immediately in the distance through green foliage was the dipper. Only saw him for about 5 seconds then he flew away from me. I waited again, but he never returned. Saw a lovely Blue Rock Thrush in the distance. I decided to walk on and get into a new position. Again went over some more rocks and there he was again – flying from rock to rock with the big crashing waterfall behind him. This time there was a pair of dippers! I couldn’t get the camera into position in time, so never got a shot. Anyway I waited here for quite some time, then he flew back into position. I had the camera set on the tripod as the light was falling, so needed to use a slower shutter speed. Looks like he was gathering material for his new nest. Just then a Grey Wagtail landed on a rock. Click...another good image. All in all a great day with some nice shots. More images on the website.

Bird List: Magpie, Reed Warbler, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Robin, Blackcap, Dipper, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Rock Thrush, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cormorant, Pochard, Coot, Kestrel, Black Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Fuente de Esparte

19 March 2009

Today I took my moto up the dirt track behind Maro to Fuente de Esparte to the pine forest of El Pinarillo. There were many Chaffinch around, and the forest was full of the sound of Serin. One particular serin came rather close singing away and enabled me to get a half decent image.

The birds were all busy collecting materials for their nests. A couple of Long-tailed tits were busy pulling the fibre from an old rope tied to a tree. On the ground some distance away was a Crested tit. I love these birds and long to get close enough to get a photo, but today wasn't the day. A Robin was perched on his favourite post but was chased off by a Redstart. Later in the morning I saw my first Blue-tit at this forest, along with the many Great tits. Another favourite of mine is the Treecreeper, not sure whether it was the short-toed kind or the normal treecreeper. As I was leaving, a few noisy Crossbills appeared, but I had to leave, but not a bad morning.

Bird list: Chaffinch, Serin, Long-tailed tit, Crested tit, Great tit, Blue tit, Robin, Redstart, Treecreeper, Crossbill.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Zafarraya & Alhama de Granada

Saturday 14th March 2009
Today we got up early and drove from Nerja to Zafarraya. We had heard that peregrine falcons are nesting in the area so we were hoping to catch a glimps. Unfortunately we never saw any, but saw plenty of chough's flying high between the gorge. A pair of kestrel were also flying about. I had gone there to see Blue Rock Thrush, and I saw plenty flying all over the craggy rocks. A lovely Rock Bunting was sitting happily on a rock which allowed for a very nice photo.

A highlight was actually seeing a Wren. We had heard him first and waited patiently for him to appear. We never see these tiny little birds down on the coast, so this was a real treat for us.
Birdlist: Kestrel, Buzzard, Chough, Serin, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting, Crag Martin, Blue Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren.

Next we drove to Alhama de Granada to where there are a few hides overlooking the lake. Nothing much on the lake except Coot and a couple of Pochard, one Shoveler, Little Grebe and a Red Knob Coot. The highlight was when we walked through the gorge toward the village along the small river and saw to our suprise a Dipper, diving in and out of the water. These are one of my favourite birds! Also saw Blue Tit and Great Tit, along with Blackcap.
Bird List: Kestrel, Coot, Red Knob Coot, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Pochard, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackcap, Cormorant, Blackbird, Chaffinch.


Rio Guadalhorce

Friday 13th March 2009.

Welcome to my new blog. I will try and keep it updated with various field trip in Andalucia. Last Friday I went to Guadalhorce and enjoyed a pleasant day there. I saw in total 26 different types of birds. The highlight was seeing the osprey come from nowhere and swoop over my head about 40 feet in the air. I was able to get my camera on him fast and got a decent shot.

The ponds were rather quiet but enjoyed watching a couple of white-headed ducks. I walked over to the beach and strolled along and saw a couple of sanderlings trotting along the sand. I was able to lie flat on the sand and they approached quite near, enabling me to get a low-angle shot, with shallow depth-of-field.

I look forward to when the water levels drop and hopefully see some more different birds

List of birds: Kestrel, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Goldfinch, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Garden warbler, Swallow, Hoopee, Stonechat, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Mallard, Greenshank,, Black-winged Stilt, Coot, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Shovelar, Cormorant, White-headed Duck, Pochard, Little Grebe,