Wednesday 21 May 2008

Trimley Trout Lake – 18th May 2008

We spent two or three hours here, walking out toward Trimley marsh. They prove quite contrasting to a winter trip, with the summer visitors all having arrived, the first point of note was the number of Swifts and House Martins continually feeding off the insects over the lake.
On the lake its self there were Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Graylag (with Goslings) and Canada (with Goslings). In the reeds we heard both Sedge and Reed Warbler and had very good views of a Cuckoo so obviously looking for a suitable nest. Further up around the fields toward the marsh Whitethroats were very much in evidence sharing the gorse with numerous Long-tailed Tit.
Back along the shore line we had good views of Avocet, Oystercatcher and Little Egret. Life bird count: 369 Year bird count: 206 Month bird count: 56

Monday 12 May 2008

Spain (Day 5) – Arecena Area – 22nd April 2008

Our final dedicated birding day, we decided to stay relatively local and generally tour around and pick up local species in the hills. One of the beauties of Spain and birding is that there are so many small roads over large areas and these are very lightly used, so on seeing something from the car there is little problem in stopping and using the car as a hide taking a good look.
The morning started well watching Ravens circling up in some light thermals, then just a bit lower two Black Storks came over, fresh into the breading season. Around Granada de la Rio Tinto we saw Pallid Swift, Blue Rock Thrush and Golden Eagle. Heading further north a longer stop produced Olivaceous Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Bee Eater and Iberian Chiffchaff, then south again for Dartford Warbler, Wryneck and Griffon Vulture. I have to say one of the most impressive sights of the trip was finding a Black Vulture feeding just over a dry stone wall, it took off with several Ravens and was just the most enormous bird I had ever seen!
For the record the total number of species seen on the trip was 127 of these 74 were new for the year and of these 8 were life firsts for us.
Life bird count: 369 Year bird count: 203 Month bird count: 155

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Spain (Day 4) – Huelva – 21st April 2008

A much improved day weather wise and the weekend out of the way always leaves me with a feeling of being on holiday again, especially when you see all those other folk plodding off to work.
Cutting across country to the N435, our plan was to cover both sides of the river delta around Huelva. Starting on the east we first stopped on the shore line of the river and were amazed at the number of waders including Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Redshank and Whimbrel all good views and in high numbers.
Next we drove the A494 towards Ruinas Torre Vigia, along the sides of this road there is quite a lot of industrial sites but they are interspersed with areas of marsh land and stopping at these produced some very good birds; Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Montagu’s Harrier and two Purple Swamp Hens. After lunch it was back up and across the river to the western side of the city/town, here there is a long peninsula leading out to a light house and the views off both sides have to be seen to be believed. Attracting a fair number of this slow drive was very productive, noting; Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Tern and Common Tern. Finaly we headed a little further west to Laguna del Portil finding a large lake to pick up Black-necked Grebe, Ferruginous Duck and a Bonelli’s Eagle. A truly brilliant day.
Life bird count: 366 Year bird count: 191 Month bird count: 128

Sunday 4 May 2008

Spain (Day 3) – Sierras Polada & Morena – 19th April 2008

The weather was not the best today, after a very wet night there was still very heavy cloud cover and intermittent showers. We decide to head north-west towards the Portuguese border and visit the Sierras. En route there wasn’t a lot more to report, but as soon as we were off the main roads and heading up higher things got more interesting, our first stop produced Cirl Bunting, Thekla Lark, Redstart and a Bonelli’s Warbler. Then further up around a bridge that we expected to see more Swallows and Wagtail, there was a very small House Martin size bird acting “swift like”, eventually we had a positive ID on two White-rumped Swifts! Happy to progress to the highest point we could clearly see a Black Vulture more cruising than soaring, with the weather as it was. Heading off across country to another Sierra region the Morena we had Short-toed Lark and White Wagtail en-route. Starting off, again by a river crossing, there was a lone Common Sandpiper feeding in the river bed, along with numerous nesting Crag Martins and Stonechats. This Sierra is much lower and the birds changed accordingly on the tour round Woodlark and Sardinian Warbler were common plus calling Corn Buntings and Blackcaps.
Life bird count: 365 Year bird count: 173 Month bird count: 116

Thursday 1 May 2008

Spain (Day 2) - Donana – 17th April 2008

We thought we’d take a look at the "big one" on the first full day, so with an earlish start we headed for El Rocio, the centre of the Donana reserve. If you know the Donana reserve you will no doubt have knowledge of or visited the best birding restaurant in the world, it’s just outside El Rocio and is situated on the edge of the lagoon. On arrival we immediately saw Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Red-crested Pochard more Black Kites and a Red Kite. After lunch we took a drive up to one of the wooded reserve area along an inland marsh, here we saw an Azure-winged Magpie frenzy, with about ten birds picking at the leftovers from a school trip lunch. On the marsh side there were Stonechats, Iberian Yellow Wagtail and Great Reed Warbler. En-route home we had a good view of a Golden Oriole and Raven.
Life bird count: 364 Year bird count: 153 Month bird count: 95