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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

Andalucia 14th -23rd September 2004,

Ian Kinley and Dave Thexton

General Comments

This was our third successive autumn trip to Andalucia though this time there were just two of us and we were more than two weeks earlier than in the past. The earlier date resulted in a number of differences from previous trips. On the plus side, there was a greater variety of raptors at the Straits of Gibraltar, Bee-eaters were still passing through in the first few days, Alpine Swifts were initially present in some numbers and the weather was much more settled. On the minus side, there were fewer waders, particularly at Bonanza Salinas, and, more significantly, harvesting of the rice fields at Isla Menor had not yet begun, drastically changing the landscape and birdlife from last year's visit. As in 2003, Los Lances (Tarifa Beach) was again dry and largely unproductive except for the river outlets.

There were plenty of highlights in a very enjoyable ten day trip. Raptor watching was more exciting than ever at Tarifa, pick of the bunch being Ruppell's Vulture and juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagle. Finding a Lesser Crested Tern at Los Lances also came high on the list.

We visited fewer sites than on past trips, preferring to concentrate our efforts on what we considered the most likely areas to produce migrants, especially, of course, the migration hotspot of Tarifa. Nevertheless, we still found time to repeat our now traditional fruitless search for Azure-winged Magpies in the unproductive Algaida Pinewoods

Weather

Virtually unbroken sunshine throughout, though very windy at times at Tarifa (an almost gale force easterly was blowing on some days). Too hot for all-day birding at Bonanza and Brazo del Este where temperatures exceeded 35C. Birding light lasted from about 08.00 (no need for early starts!) to about 20.30.

Travel

We flew from Liverpool to Malaga with easyJet (£100 return, booked over the internet, as always in our experience very efficient and virtually hassle-free). At Malaga airport, we picked up a hired VW Polo from Europa Cars (235 euros which included a tankful of fuel, booked over the internet with Carjet and again very smooth and efficient).

Accommodation

Although we were confident we did not need to pre-book any accommodation, we planned to spend the first few days in Tarifa and decided to book into La Codorniz where we'd stayed the previous year. We had no difficulty just turning up elsewhere (other than finding that the Hotel Desembarco in Los Palacios where we'd stayed in 2003 was shut down!) and indeed for our second spell at Tarifa got in again at La Codorniz with no difficulty.

We stayed at the following: -

Hotel La Codorniz (situated alongside N340 just west of Tarifa) Tel. (34) 956 68 47 44 http://www.lacodorniz.com/default_ingles.htm email lacodorniz@cherrytel.com Five nights; 75 euros per night per twin-bedded bungalow apartment including continental breakfast (served theoretically from 08.00, but actually available from at least 07.45 so allowing just enough time before it got light enough to bird). Superb, very comfortable, excellent restaurant and pool and brilliant location. Easily the best place we stayed but reflected in the price.

Hostal Alcazar (just east of Chipiona alongside road to Sanlucar de Barrameda) Two nights; 35 euros a night per twin-bedded room. Comfortable (with air-conditioning) and though five euros dearer than last year still decent value. No restaurant but we did find a very handy and excellent one just a mile up the road towards Sanlucar de Barrameda and the Hostal itself has a bar.

Hotel Al-Andalus at Los Palacios y Villafranca Two nights; 30 euros per night per twin-bedded room (we actually ended up with a spacious room containing two single beds and a double). Very comfortable and incredibly good value. Bar but no restaurant though Los Palacios has everything from take-aways and burger bars upwards. One advantage over the now defunct Hotel El Desembarco was the availability of on-street parking (this hotel is not as central so there's less traffic).

Itinerary

September 14th: Malaga-Tarifa, with most of our half day's birding at the El Algarrobo Watchpoint and in the Tarifa area. Overnight at Tarifa.
September 15th-16th: Based at Tarifa with birding done in Tarifa area and La Janda.
September 17th Tarifa-Bonanza. Birding at Tarifa and Bonanza Salinas. Overnight at Chipiona
September 18th Birding at Trebujena Marismas, Algaida Salinas and Laguna de Tarelo. Overnight at Chipiona
September 19th Chipiona-Los Palacios y Villafranca. Birding at Bonanza Salinas and laguna near Los Palacios. Overnight at Los Palacios.
September 20th: Birding at Brazo del Este and laguna near Los Palacios. Overnight at Los Palacios.
September 21st Los Palacios-Tarifa. Birding en route at the Barbate Estuary and Salinas, Atlanterra and, in evening, in the Tarifa area. Overnight at Tarifa.
September 22nd Birding in the Tarifa area Overnight at Tarifa
September 23rd: Malaga-Liverpool after a morning's birding in the Tarifa area.

Sites Visited

Los Lances (Tarifa Beach) A superb site that we accessed every morning from near the football stadium. There are several other access points between the harbour and the stadium but as much of the beach was bone dry (as had been the case in 2003), the waders, gulls and terns were mostly concentrated around the river mouth north of the stadium. The dunes and rough grassy areas behind the beach were also well worth exploring. Lots of potential for a major "find" here. Birds seen on or from the beach and in the nearby dunes and fields included Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Crested Tern, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Hen Harrier, Booted Eagle, Little Bustard, Bee-eater, Tawny Pipit, Short-toed Lark and a variety of common waders.

The inlet behind Playa Palomas, which is essentially an extension of Los Lances about 8km north of Tarifa that had proved a good site in 2003, had changed quite dramatically (winter flooding perhaps?). It did still have an interesting tidal inlet with potential for good birds though we saw little but common waders on our one visit.

Ciguena Negra Watchpoint, Tarifa We did most of our raptor watching from here. It's the first viewpoint east of Tarifa (take the first minor track left off the main road near the top of the hill going east out of Tarifa in the direction of an ugly-looking Cepsa compound/building). The small concrete observatory structure sporting a nice drawing of two Black Storks on the wall is situated on a low foothill overlooking the town and coastal strip and affords some protection from the sun and wind. It is manned at this time of year by Spanish observers monitoring the raptor and stork migration.

It was by no means easy to predict if it was going to be a good day for passage. We had several days with strong easterly winds, most of which produced relatively few birds even though the Tarifa end of the Straits is said to be favoured in easterlies. Garcia and Patterson suggest that if the winds are very strong (as they were at times) then birds will overshoot Tarifa and return inland to await more favourable conditions. Perhaps, as with seawatching back home, it's just not that easy to predict!

In addition to a good selection of raptors, the pick of which were Ruppell's Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle, sightings from here included Black and White Storks, Pallid and Alpine Swifts.

El Algarrobo Watchpoint. Situated just west of Algeciras (detailed directions are given in Garcia and Patterson under Montes de Tarifa), this is another of the manned migration observatories overlooking the Straits. A circular concrete shelter affords protection from the sun and wind, whatever the direction, and gives good all-round views. Said to be best in westerly winds in spring. We spent just a few hours here on our first day but saw a good selection of raptors.

La Janda Excellent plains area, with reedy drainage ditches and rice fields. Since our last visit much of the surrounding area has been invaded by windfarms (though not on La Janda itself) but much more positively a large area alongside the road from Benalup back towards Facinas (marked as the "Inner Road" on the map in Garcia and Patterson) has been "wetted up" forming an extensive marsh, part of a programme to restore some of the area to its former glory as one of the largest freshwater marshes in Europe. This can surely only get better.

Birds seen in this area included Purple Heron, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Great Bustard, Alpine swift, Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, Southern Grey Shrike and a variety of waders.

Jara Valley Forming part of Los Alcornocales, this attractive valley was a pleasant and handy venue for an evening's birding while staying at Tarifa (the valley road leaves the N340 just east of our hotel La Codorniz). With more time, the road could be followed through the Ojen Valley and round to Facinas, forming an interesting circular route. Our limited excursions produced, among others, Night Heron, Bee-eater, Alpine Swift, Woodchat Shrike and Cirl Bunting.

Bonanza Salinas Superb site with no access problems (contrary to Gosney). Large concentrations of birds with a network of drivable tracks allowing very close views. Sightings here included Greater Flamingo, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Spoonbill, Black Stork, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Slender-billed Gull, Caspian Tern and a good selection of waders.

Algaida Salinas Another excellent area. Again there are now no access problems (see Gosney). An extension of the above site with similar birds though the generally deeper water resulted in a subtle difference in the species using the area. Birds included Greater Flamingo, Spoonbill, Booted Eagle and a good selection of waders.

Trebujena Marismas An interesting area of farmland, marismas and lagoons situated between Trebujena and the Guadalquivir north of Algaida. Species seen here included Greater Flamingo, Spoonbill, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Osprey, Booted Eagle, Hobby, Marbled Duck, White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Whiskered Tern, Lesser Short-toed Lark and a variety of waders.

Laguna de Tarelo Good access and viewing, with easy White-headed Ducks (though these were less numerous than on previous visits). Also seen here were Black-necked Grebe, Squacco Heron, Purple Gallinule and Slender-billed Gull.

Algaida Pinewoods We again failed to see the promised Azure-winged Magpies here even though the area was less disturbed than on our previous visits with fewer local "boy racers". Pied Flycatcher was the highlight.

Brazo del Este/Isla Menor Superb site that includes the area Gosney refers to as the Pinzon Marshes. Close range viewing mostly from a road level higher than the surrounding habitat gives wonderful views of the full range of marisma species. A must visit site, which appears to have reliable water levels. In fact, water levels at Brazo del Este were, as in 2003, considerably higher than in 2002 with few muddy margins for waders. One major disadvantage of a September trip was that harvesting of the rice fields at Isla Menor was not yet underway and areas that were teeming with thousands of waterbirds on our last visit were just a sea of rice.

Sightings here included African Spoonbill, Spoonbill, Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Black Stork, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Purple Gallinule, Marbled Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Temmink's Stint, Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Penduline Tit, Spanish Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Golden Bishop and much more.

Los Palacios Laguna This was a new site for us; it was not shown on our map and it's not detailed in Garcia and Patterson or any of the trip reports we read (though some tour company brochures refer to a lake near Los Palacios without giving directions). Leave Los Palacios north on the old road to Seville and on the outskirts of the town turn right opposite Bar Al-Mudeyne and follow the driveable track for about half a mile until you reach the lake. This proved an ideal venue for a couple of hours' evening birding for anyone staying in Los Palacios as we were. Apart from a large egret and Night Heron roost, it also hosted Black-necked Grebe, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Purple Gallinule, Red-rumped Swallow, Common Waxbills and Western Olivaceous Warbler.

Barbate Estuary and Salinas We visited the estuary and disused saltpans en route from Los Palacios to Tarifa but found it a disappointing site. Admittedly, it was a fairly brief visit and the tide was high on the estuary itself but the saltpans were largely dried up and the area didn't look very promising.

Atlanterra Situated just east of Zahara de los Atunes on the southern edge of the Sierra de la Plata, this site has a rocky headland with a lighthouse. The area has seawatching potential though at the time of our visit it proved difficult to find a vantage point that did not also overlook nude sunbathers! Our relatively brief seawatch produced Balearic Shearwater, plenty of close range Cory's Shearwaters and Gannets, a Pomarine Skua, a flock of Spoonbills and lots of flying fish as well as Honey Buzzard and Booted Eagle with Crag Martin and Blue Rock Thrush nearby. A rather half-hearted look for rare swifts proved fruitless.

Details and directions to all the sites we visited (other than Los Palacios Laguna) can be found in Where to watch birds in Southern and Western Spain by Garcia and Patterson. This is excellent and up to date, with, in addition to details on individual sites, much useful background information. We also took Gosney's Finding Birds in Southern Spain. Though in most cases the directions and maps are up to the usual high standard, this is now woefully out of date in places, especially regarding access to Bonanza and Algaida Salinas. Also in the section on Brazo del Este he regularly refers to Isla Major when he means Isla Menor. No updates were available on the Birdguides website prior to our trip.

See also John Butler's website at www.donanabirdtours.com which gives some site information and includes up-to-date trip reports from the Donana area and the Rare Birds in Spain website www.rarebirdspain.net for info on the latest rarities.

Species List

We recorded a total of 159 species, listed below. The figures in brackets represent the number of days each species was recorded e.g. (4/10) means that a species was seen on four days during our 10 day trip (bearing in mind that the first and last days were really only half-days of birding) and gives a crude indication of how easy each species was to see. More details are given of the rarer or more interesting species.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis (3/10)

Great Crested Grebe †Podiceps cristatus (4/10)

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (2/10) 2 at Laguna de Tarelo on 18th and 1 at Los Palacios Laguna on 20th

Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea (6/10) Ever present off Los Lances with a maximum 60 on 15th. Also seen close in off Tarifa town itself and at Atlanterra with c50 on 21st.

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus (3/10) Less numerous than on our October visits with birds just beginning to head into the Mediterranean for the winter. 16 past Los Lances, in an hour on 15th; 1 south past Atlanterra and 1 south past Tarifa on 21st; 10 south past Los Lances in 45 minutes on 23rd

Gannet Morus bassanus (5/10)

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (1/10)

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (4/10) One in the Jara Valley on 14th; an estimated 200 watched leaving Los Palacios Laguna on 19th and 155 counted doing the same in the hour before dusk on 20th; numerous in the early morning of 20th at Brazo del Este

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides (3/10) 1 at Laguna de Tarelo on 18th; 8 at Los Palacios Laguna on 19th with several there on 20th; c50 at Brazo del Este on 20th

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis (10/10) Widespread. Several hundred to be seen at dawn and dusk on the outskirts of Tarifa heading to or from their roost. Huge roost of 2000+ in trees surrounding Los Palacios Laguna made an impressive sight. Otherwise most numerous at La Janda where 500+ were following a plough on 15th.†

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (9/10) Widespread. Especially numerous at Brazo del Este, perhaps accounting for c300 in the Los Palacios Laguna roost.

Great White Egret Ardea alba (1/10) 2 at Bonanza Salinas on 18th

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea (9/10)

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea (4/10) Singles at Los Lances and La Janda on 16th; Bonanza Salinas on 17th; Los Palacios Laguna on 19th; Brazo del Este on 20th

Black Stork Ciconia nigra †(6/10) Regularly recorded at the Ciguena Negra Watchpoint with 1 on 15th; 67 on 17th; 43 on 22nd and 41on 23rd. Elsewhere 4 at Bonanza Salinas on 19th and 6 at Brazo del Este on 20th (these were the only ones we saw on the ground).

White Stork Ciconia ciconia (5/10) Widespread but mostly in relatively small numbers. Much less numerous at La Janda than on past visits with no more than 150 seen. Most notable records comprised c1000 in an uncut rice field at Brazo del Este on 20th and a flock of 100 at the Ciguena Negra Watchpoint on 22nd.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (1/10) c1000 (mostly in two large flocks) at Brazo del Este on 20th

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (5/10) 35 at Bonanza Salinas; 80 at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas; c25 at Brazo del Este on 20th; a flock of c35 low over the sea past Atlanterra on 21st.

African Spoonbill Platalea alba (1/10) An adult at Brazo del Este on 20th was surely the bird we saw at the same site in October 2002.

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber (3/10) Records included c150 at Bonanza Salinas and c1000 at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas

Wigeon Anas Penelope (3/10)

Gadwall Anas strepera (1/10)

Teal Anas crecca (2/10)

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos (5/10)

Pintail Anas acuta †(1/10)

Shoveler Anas clypeata (3/10)

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (2/10) 4 at Trebujena Marismas on 18th; 4 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina (2/10) 6 at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas on 18th; 2 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Pochard Aythea farina (1/10)

White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (1/10) 9 at Laguna de Tarelo and 27 at Trebujena Marismas on 18th

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus (7/10) Seen at El Algarrobo and Ciguena Negra Watchpoints though in smaller numbers than we'd hoped. Also seen in small numbers at Los Lances and Atlanterra.

Black Kite Milvus migrans (6/10) Seen at El Algarrobo and Ciguena Negra Watchpoints most notably c150 at the latter on 15th. Also seen in small numbers at Los Lances and at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas.

Red Kite Milvus milvus (1/10) One at the Ciguena Negra Watchpoint on 23rd

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus (6/10) Seen at El Algarrobo and Ciguena Negra Watchpoints most notably at the latter where counts included c30 on 15th and c100 in flocks of up to 20 on 17th.

Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus (8/10) Seen in small numbers at El Algarrobo and Ciguena Negra Watchpoints; La Janda, Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas and Sierra de la Plata.

Ruppell's Vulture Gyps rueppellii (1/10) One seen well at Ciguena Negra Watchpoint on 15th (up to four had been seen in the Tarifa area recently)

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus (7/10) Seen at El Algarrobo and Ciguena Negra Watchpoints where sightings included c400 on 17th (mostly in one period of an hour and a half); Also seen in small numbers at La Janda and Playa Palomas.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (6/10) Most numerous at Brazo del Este. Present in smaller numbers than previous years at La Janda with a maximum of just 10. Also seen in small numbers at Ciguena Negra Watchpoint, Bonanza Salinas, Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas and Zahara de los Atunes.

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus (1/10) An adult female at Los Lances on 16th

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus (1/10) An interesting all-dark melanistic bird at La Janda on 15th was our only sighting

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus (6/10) Recorded regularly at Ciguena Negra Watchpoint

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo† (7/10)

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus (10/10) Seen at El Algarrobo and Ciguena Negra Watchpoints. Sightings at the latter included c100 on 15th and c50 on 17th. Also seen in small numbers at La Janda, Bonanza Salinas, Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas, and Brazo del Este

Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalbertii (1/10) Super views of at least one, probably two, juveniles (sightings were half an hour apart with bird(s) appearing from the west on each occasion) at Ciguena Negra Watchpoint on 17th. The sightings caused great excitement among the assembled birders, especially the Dutch who picked them up first.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus (4/10) Singles seen at Ciguena Negra Watchpoint on 17th; Bonanza Salinas on 17th and 19th; Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas on 18th; Brazo del Este on 20th.

Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (3/10) At least 6 hunting a ploughed field at La Janda on 16th, 5 hunting near Adriana (Brazo del Este area) on 20th; 5 over La Codorniz hotel on 21st.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (10/10)†

Hobby Falco subbuteo (1/10) A single at Trebujena Marismas on 18th was our only sighting.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus (2/10) 1 at Algarrobo on 14th and 1 at Brazo del Este on 20th

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa (2/10)

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus (2/10)

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus (1/10) 3 heard at Brazo del Este on 20th

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus (5/10)

Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio (3/10) 2 at Laguna de Tarelo on 18th; heard at Los Palacios Laguna on 19th and 20th; common at Brazo del Este though less obvious than on past trips due to high water levels and the fact that the rice harvest had not yet begun.

Coot Fulica atra (4/10)

Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax (3/10) Up to 8 rather elusive birds seen on several occasions in rough fields behind Los Lances.

Great Bustard Otis tarda (1/10) A male in a ploughed field at La Janda near the recently created marsh alongside the road from Benalup back towards Facinas (marked as the "Inner Road" on the map in Garcia and Patterson) on 16th was one of the surprises of the trip. Said to be the last male in the Province of Cadiz.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (2/10)

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (5/10) Records included c100 at La Janda on 16th. Present in good numbers at Bonanza Salinas, Algaida Salinas and Brazo del Este.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta (4/10) Present in good numbers at Bonanza Salinas with c500 on 17th, smaller numbers at Algaida Salinas and Brazo del Este.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (4/10)

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (8/10)

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (7/10)

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria (1/10)

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (1/10)

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (1/10)

Knot Calidris canutus (3/10)

Sanderling Calidris alba (7/10)

Little Stint Calidris minuta (6/10) Records included c100 at Bonanza Salinas on 19th (much lower numbers than on October trips)†

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii (1/10) Super close views of 5 birds at Brazo del Este on 20th

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea (2/10) Records included c100 at Bonanza Salinas on 19th (as with Little Stint and most other waders, much lower numbers than on October trips)†

Dunlin Calidris alpina (7/10)

Ruff Philomachus pugnax (5/10)†

Snipe Gallinago gallinago (4/10)

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (4/10) Most numerous at Bonanza Salinas with c500 on 17th

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica (4/10)

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (3/10)

Curlew Numenius arquata (1/10)

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythopus (5/10) Records included 6+ at Bonanza Salinas and a similar number at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas on 18th with 10 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Redshank Tringa tetanus (4/10)

Greenshank Tringa nebularia (6/10) Records included 20 at Bonanza Salinas and 30 at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas on 18th

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus (4/10) Seen at several sites including 10 at La Janda on 15th

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola (3/10) Records included 20 at La Janda on 15th and 25 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos† (5/10)

Turnstone Arenaria interpres (4/10)

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus (1/10) 1 at Atlanterra on 21st

Great Skua Stercorarius skua (1/10) 1 off Tarifa on 21st.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus (8/10)

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (2/10) 30 at Bonanza Salinas on 17th; 13 at Laguna de Tarelo on 18th and 150 at Bonanza Salinas on 19th

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii (6/10) Ever present on Los Lances with a maximum count of 113 on 22nd.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus (7/10)

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans (10/10)

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia (1/10) A juvenile at Bonanza Salinas on 19th

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis (1/10) An adult at Los Lances on the morning of 15th

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis (8/10)

Common Tern Sterna hirundo (1/10)

Little Tern Sterna albifrons (3/10)†

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus (2/10) 20 in all plumages at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas on 18th and 2 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Black Tern Chlidonias niger (1/10) 6 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Pterocles alchata (1/10) 2 in flight at Trebujena Marismas on 18th.

Feral Pigeon Columba livia (10/10)

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus (2/10)

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto (5/10)

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (4/10)

Barn Owl Tyto alba (1/10) 1 hunting alongside road between Chipiona and Sanlucar de Barrameda on early morning of 18th.

Little Owl Athene noctua (1/10)

Common Swift Apus apus (3/10) Present in small numbers.

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus (4/10) Seen in small numbers at several sites, most notably 25 over Los Lances at dusk on 21st.

Alpine Swift Apus melba (2/10) Seen at several sites in the first three days, most notably c100 at dusk in the Jara Valley on 14th.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis (7/10)

Bee-eater Merops apiaster (3/10) Frequent flocks (mostly passing over though also including 20 going to roost in a tree in the Jara Valley on 14th) in the first few days.

Hoopoe Upupa epops (1/10) Surprisingly 1 near Laguna de Tarelo on 18th was our only sighting.

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla (5/10) Flocks of up to 20 birds present most mornings at Los Lances

Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufesc/ens (2/10) Common at Trebujena Marismas/Algaida Salinas on 18th with smaller numbers at Bonanza Salinas

Crested Lark Galerida cristata (10/10)

Sand Martin Riparia riparia (5/10)

Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris (1/10) At least 2 at Atlanterra on 21st.

Swallow Hirundo rustica (9/10)

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica (3/10) Small numbers at La Janda on 16th; 2 at both Brazo del Este and Los Palacios Laguna on 20th; 2 over the hotel swimming pool at La Codorniz on 21st.

House Martin Delichon urbica (5/10)

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris (4/10) Up to three seen most mornings at Los Lances.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis (1/10) 2 at Tarifa on 17th

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava (9/10) Records included regular flocks at Los Lances

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea (2/10)

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus (1/10)

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra (5/10)

Stonechat Saxicola torquata (8/10)

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (7/10)

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius (1/10) 2 at Atlanterra on 21st including 1 singing from a house roof.

Blackbird Turdus merula (2/10)

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti (6/10)

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis (10/10)

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (1/10)

Western Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida (2/10) At least 2 at Los Palacios Laguna on 19th and 20th.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala (10/10)

Whitethroat Sylvia communis (1/10)

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla (1/10)

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita (8/10)

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus (1/10)

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa sriata (4/10)

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca (1/10)

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus (1/10)

Great Tit Parus major (1/10)

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus (1/10) Obvious and quite numerous at the Pinzon end of Brazo del Este on 20th.

Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis (2/10) Singles at La Janda on 15th and 16th

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (2/10) Single juveniles in the Jara Valley on 14th and La Janda on 15th

Magpie Pica pica (1/10)

Raven Corvus corax (3/10)

Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor† (10/10) Very numerous

House Sparrow Passer domesticus (10/10)

Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis (1/10) Small numbers found amongst large sparrow flocks at Brazo del Este on 20th. Probably much more widespread and numerous if we'd looked.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs (1/10)

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris (2/10)

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis (8/10)

Linnet Carduelis cannabina (3/10)

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus (1/10) 2 in the Jara Valley on 22nd.

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra† (8/10)

Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild (2/10) Small numbers at Los Palacios Laguna and c20 at Brazo del Este on 20th.

Golden Bishop Eupletes afer (1/10) A stunning male and half a dozen much dowdier females at Brazo del Este on 20th.

 

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