Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Spurn Week 2

Spurn Day 8 - Wednesday 30th August
After the high of yesterday evening I awoke with great anticipation of many migrants. I was, however, over optimistic as the numbers of birds had gone down rather than up. Early morning ringing before the rain set in produced a Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Wren and a Reed Warbler. The latter was without doubt the highlight, the feathers were so incredibly soft to touch. After the rain and a rather intense nap I headed out and round the triangle. Sadly though there was nothing to gain from this, as the numbers of migrants were still well down. A handful of Willow Warblers and a single Wheatear were just about all that I could muster. I ended my walk by finally having a look at the Black Redstart at Sandy Beaches caravan park. It was not a showy bird, and remained extremely elusive.

Spurn Day 8 - Thursday 31st August
Mornings are now spent in Churchfield with Paul, learning to handle birds. Once again though there was not a huge number of birds present. Tree Sparrows were once again the most common birds we caught, plus a few Willow Warblers and other odd bits and pieces. Just as we were wrapping up news broke of a Pectoral Sandpiper on Kilnsea Wetlands. I rushed off to try and see it, by the time I got there though the single bird had become two Pectoral Sandpipers. Sadly both were distant and I was unable to get any decent photos. That being said, I was able to get nice views through the scope. I returned to the Wetlands in the evening, but in between I took on the challenge of the point. As per there were not many birds to be seen down there, just a few Lesser Whitethroats and a couple of Stonechats. By evening only one Pectoral Sandpiper remained, but there were a few nice Ruff to see, Curlew Sandpiper plus a few wildfowl.
-Pectoral Sandpiper

Spurn Day 9 - Friday 1st September
The mornings ringing was slow! We caught a few bits and pieces, the highlight being a Woodpigeon. I was impressed by the strength of the bird, even despite Pauls warning, it managed to wriggle out from grasp. Another Reed Warbler was also nice. We finished up at midday, at which point I collapsed into a very deep nap. Once I had awoken I tried to bird the triangle but there remained a distinct lack of new birds in. The best of it was a juvenile Cuckoo, which will probably be the last I see this year.

Spurn Day 10 - Saturday 2nd September
Ringing was even slower than what it had been the previous days. Still, we caught four Tree Sparrows and three Great Tits. A Sparrowhawk was in the net but it wriggled out before we had got to it. Once again we wrapped up at around midday. We reopened the nets later in the afternoon but still struggled to catch anything. Still, it was a nice sunny day and pleasant to be outside just chilling.

Spurn Day 11 - Sunday 3rd September
The morning was spent photocopying, with no birds at all being caught in the nets. After which, I headed up to the Wetlands following the news that the Pectoral Sandpiper was right in front of the hide. Unfortunately when I arrived the bird had once more flown to the back of the wetlands. The Curlew Sandpiper was still around though and showed quite nicely in front of the hide. My afternoon was spent strimming and working on the garden, before a quick evening jaunt up to the wetlands following the news that a Bittern had dropped into the reedbeds up that way. Bittern would have been a Spurn tick for me, so I was pretty chuffed when the bird did a couple of close flybys around the ponds before it roosted in the reeds.

Spurn Day 12 - Monday 4th September
The wind remained somewhat unfavourable for large numbers of migrants, but there was a light scattering of a few migrants, plus some really nice birds around. The morning started with the first Barred Warbler of the autumn, which was trapped at the warren. It was rather fidgety in the hand and not overly cooperative. Once released it went straight back into the Heligoland trap like an absolute muppet.
We then began our quest to try and capture the Purple Sandpiper at the breach. It was one of the most ridiculously tame birds I have ever seen, coming far too close for my camera, but unfortunately eluded capture on both attempts we made to net it. I was still able to get a few nice photos of it, frame filling with no crop required.
Between attempts to capture the Purple Sandpiper a juv Red-necked Phalarope was found on Kilnsea Wetlands. It was a rather stunning bird, but remained distant for most of the time we were watching it. There was a short period where it flew a lot nearer to the hide in the company of a small Dunlin flock, which it was frequently harassing.
The day finished up after the final attempt to net the Purple Sandpiper, when a Citrine Wagtail was found on Kilnsea Wetlands. It was right in front of the hide in the company of a small group of Pied Wagtails. It showed very nicely and I was able to get a few photos. Another Spurn tick in the bag, a species which is now nearly annual at Spurn! An amazing end to a day which, on the face of it, really did not promise much!
-Barred Warbler
-Barred Warbler
-Citrine Wagtail

Tuesday 5th September

The mornings ringing was still pretty decent today, although there was not a great deal of variety in the catch; mainly Tree Sparrows with a few Phyloscs thrown in for good measure. Most of the day was spent trying to catch the extremely bold Purple Sandpiper at the breach. Sadly we were unable to catch it, but the bird itself more than made up for it, showing incredibly close. It was too close for my lens as it happened, but I was still able to get some nice shots which I am very happy with. 
-Purple Sandpiper

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Cormorant, Hobby, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Bittern, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Pectoral Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Barred Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Common Emerald Damselfly, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White, 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Spurn Week 1

Spurn Day 1 - Wednesday 23rd August
Having earned a little money from my stint as a Bee-eater warden I decided to spent the rest of my year volunteering back at Spurn, whilst at the same time beginning to train to become a ringer. For my first day I was given a real treat in the Juvenile Rose-coloured Starling that had been found the previous weekend was still present and frequenting the feeders at Driftwood. The light was pretty awful but it’s still a decent Spurn tick. In the evening I headed down to the evening tern roost. It was a fairly healthy movement, but still not spectacular. There were over 4000 Common Terns plus a couple of Skuas and Manxies. All this and just in the first few hours, only at Spurn.
-Rose-coloured Starling
-Common Terns

Spurn Day 2 - Thursday 24th August
Sadly my first full day at Spurn was spent taking down the Little Tern electric fence. This is the worst job of the whole project, so it was a bummer to spent my first day doing it, but once it’s over then it’s not a concern until next year.
As a result I was only able to spent the evening birding. Instead of going down to the evening tern roost I decided to check the high tide roost on the wetlands. There were a few birds present, the standout of the waders being a nice Juv Little Stint, and a few very nice Ruff. A couple of Short-eared Owl were also quite nice, especially when it perched up near-ish to the hide.
-Short-eared Owl

Spurn Day 3 - Friday 25th August
In my quest to actually find something decent this autumn I decided to work the point as much as possible. It did not get off to an amazing start, with a Spotted Flycatcher about the best bird that I could muster. A couple of Whinchat and a single Wheatear made up the rest of the migrant contingent. It was a pleasant enough walk though, and something I am deffo looking forward to for the rest of the autumn.
Whilst I was down the point a couple of Great White Egrets had turned up on the Wetlands. Upon my return from the peninsula I headed straight off to see them. They were a little distant but I was able to get substantially better views than the last time I had seen this species at Spurn. In the afternoon we had something of a Spurn mega. Tim retrieved a Southern Hawker from the Heligoland trap in Churchfield. This is the first Spurn record since one in 2013, the latter was found by me and was probably my best find of that year.
-Great White Egret
-Southern Hawker

Spurn Day 4 - Saturday 26th August
Continuing with the theme of working the point as much as possible I headed down the point once again today. Sadly the species composition was much the same as the previous, although I expected nothing less. Once back north of the breach I spent the afternoon doing not very much. In the evening we had a BBQ for the birthday of a Spurn regular. Whilst not likely to be a birding hotspot on the face of it we did have a pretty sweet evening bird wise, with a number of Mediterranean Gulls flying over, a Hobby trying to take out Swallows and the Rose-coloured Starling which dropped into the bushes in Steves garden after spending an hour or so on show with the large Starling flock.

Spurn Day 5 - Sunday 27th August
After a late night of celebrating a Spurn birthday I was not quick off the mark in the morning. I spent the morning beginning my ringing work by handling my first birds. The vast majority of the birds we caught were Tree Sparrows, although I was also able to handle the only House Sparrow we caught. We added a Willow Warbler to our totals which was also nice, and even posed nicely for a few photos.
In the evening I did a walk around the ponds and wetlands, sadly not much was around although a Common Sandpiper was my first of the year. I also had a Short-eared Owl and a few more Willow Warblers. Ultimately though I failed to see anything overly unusual, besides the usual juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, which was still associating with the large Starling flock around Kilnsea.

Spurn Day 6 - Monday 28th August
The initial stages of my ringing training involved becoming comfortable handling birds. As a result I spent most of the morning in Churchfield hoping to catch some birds which I could then study and handle. Sadly birds were in very short supply and the only thing we caught was a single Willow Warbler. In the afternoon I was drafted in to cover the new Spurn shop outside the Obs. It was a pretty tedious task and there were sadly no birds involved at all.
-Willow Warbler

Spurn Day 7 - Tuesday 29th August
After a long and ultimately pointless day venturing into Hull, it was nice to return to Spurn to find that there had been an extremely light fall of migrants. I initially went hunting for the pied flycatchers in the crown car park but failed to connect. I then proceeded to work the canal but to no reward, despite an hour trying. Five Willow Warblers were all I could muster. I ended my search at the Warren where I worked with Kieran, watching him ring what little birds were being trapped. Just as we were wrapping up news came through that Paul had caught an Icterine Warbler. We headed up to see the bird in the hand. Sadly it was not a sitter, but I was able to get a few nice shots of it in the hand. A pretty sweet end to a rather uneventful day!
-Icterine Warbler

Species List:
Spurn Bird Obs: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Cormorant, Hobby, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank. Common Redshank, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Gull, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Short-eared Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Robin, Pied Flycatcher, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Starling, Rose-coloured Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Common Emerald Damselfly, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White, 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Post Beeeater Birding

With the sudden and somewhat unexpected ending to the beeeater project, Kieran and I were able to go off birding. We spent the weekend at Spurn but we did not spend too much time birding, although when we did we did see Red Kite, Wood Sandpiper and 1000 Common Tern. Not a bad weekend
We left Spurn on the Monday and the headed first to Bempton Cliffs due to there being an alpine swift there. We missed the swift but saw Puffin, Peregrine, Yellow Wagtail and a lot of Gannets. We probably spent about an hour at Bempton before we carried on going north. 
Next on our trip north we called in at Wykeham raptor viewpoint. We spent a couple of hours with not much more than Common Buzzards. Just before we were about to leave though I picked out a Goshawk at some distance, which we got to watch for around 20 seconds before it dropped back into the trees. That was pretty exciting, and finally means my biggest tart has fallen.
In the evening we went up to Whitburn where we tried Storm Petrel ringing. We only caught one but had several come in and flutter round the net. It was pretty exciting, and obviously awesome to see my first Stormie.
-European Storm Petrel
Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Fulmar, Guillemot, Common Scoter, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Lesser Black-backed Gull, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, 
Bempton Cliffs RPSB: Gannet, Puffin, Shag, Peregrine, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Yellow Wagtail, Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Starling,
Wykeham Raptor Viewpoint: Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Woodpigeon, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Crossbill, Linnet, Raven, Carrion Crow, 
Whitburn Coastal Park NT: Oystercatcher, Redshank, Cormorant, European Storm Petrel, Carrion Crow, 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Update: Beeeater Wardening

It has been some time since I last posted on here, so its time for a quick update. My new job is fantastic, wardening the small flock of Beeeaters that have set up in south Nottinghamshire. I have been based here from the end of June, working to keep the birds safe and visitors happy. It all came about very quickly, I was employed and on site within 48hrs of the birds first appearance. I have been reluctant to post anything due to the sensitive nature of the work.
 However, as of the 19th July we first noticed behavior from the adults indicating that they were on chicks in one of the nests. On the 21st we observed the same change in another nest, meaning that we only have one nest without chicks. This immediately reduces the threat of malicious human actives, meaning I can finally share all the exciting things that have been going on.
-European Beeeater
 Unfortunately the arrival of chicks means that for the second year on the trot I will be spending my summer doing night shifts chasing away the fox. But on the plus side I get to watch beeeaters for a living. Ever cloud!

Species List:
East Leake Quarry: European Beeeater, Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Red-legged Partridge, Linnet, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk, Hobby, Peregrine, Kestrel, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Common Swift, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker,

Monday, 5 June 2017

Spurn Weekend

I was really hopefully for something good to turn up this weekend, with it probably being the last realistic weekend of the spring that it could do so, and I was pleasantly rewarded. I heard my first and saw only my second ever Common Rosefinch, although it was a particularly shy individual, and that was certainly a highlight. I also got untickable views of a honey buzzard. I hoped it would fly south past us but sadly cut out, leaving me with unsatisfactory views.
Otherwise though it was a fairly quiet weekend, with only a scattering of other birds. A few Wheatear were an obvious highlight and there were a few waders, an Osprey went north which was pretty sweet. A few Red-veined Darters were still around but did not pose for photos at any point.
Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Common Rosefinch, Northern Wheatear, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Osprey, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Knot, Grey Plover, Little Tern, Common Tern. Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Mallard, Teal, Greylag Goose, Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Starling, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Yellow Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jackdaw, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Gannet, Fulmar, 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Spurn Weekend: May 27 - 30

Having been away for so long, it was good to finally get back to my favourite birding site.

Having arrived the following evening I was keen to get out birding. I made a large loop including the Triangle, Beacon Ponds, Kilnsea Wetlands and Sammies Point. Sadly there was fairly little on display, the whole area feeling a little quiet. I had a Long-eared Owl at Sammies, which was Spurn tick for me (I think) but that was the best of it. In the afternoon we all headed to the pub to watch the FA cup final, but sadly the game was interrupted by a Red-footed Falcon, which, to add insult to injury, we all missed!

Today was a day that will go down in Spurn history for being exceptional. Sadly I missed half of it, but still had 3 extremely good birds. I walked round the triangle first but found nothing. Upon my return to the Obs I missed Alpine Swift and TWO Red-footed Falcons. at 11.00 I'd had enough and joined the masses at Numpties. Good thing I did, as not only did I then proceed to see another TWO Red-footed Falcons, but also found my first real description species; Red-rumped Swallow. The excitement, for me, of something like that more than makes up for the birds I missed:

The morning of the 28th of May was an exceptional day for visible migration. At 11.15 I arrived at the Numpties watchpoint at Spurn having already frustratingly missed 2 Red-footed Falcons and an Alpine Swift that had already gone south. There was a small crowd of Spurn regulars present, enjoying a steady trickle of House Martins and Barn Swallows going south, which continued all day.

At 11.40 there was a noticeable lull in the number of birds moving. I happened to scan left of where I was standing and saw two swallows flying south just over the heads of the left most crowd members. Through my binoculars I noticed that the second bird clearly showed a pale rump, and this immediately set alarm bells ringing. However I was looking into the sun and I wanted to make sure that the bird was not a House Martin. The bird banked clearly showing black undertail coverts and long tail streamers. I realised that I was looking at a Red-rumped Swallow, and panic set in. My immediate response was that I could have imagined the rump, but the bird banked again clearly showing that I had not.

At this stage, still only a fraction of a second after I had picked up the bird, I shouted ‘Red-rumped Swallow’ and pointed in the direction of the bird. The bird was probably level with the observers at this point, but everyone present was able to get straight onto it and watch it continued over our heads and fly off south. The bird was picked up again about a kilometre south at the Spurn breach by Rael Butcher, who was the last person to see the bird as it flew south. The bird was photographed by Jake Gearty, but he was the only observer present to do so.

The bird had noticeable long tail streamers which would suggest that it was a male. The overall structure was almost identical to the Barn Swallow that it was adjacent to, not squat and stubby like a House Martin. I was lucky to have spent the two months prior to this weekend at Spurn birding in Spain and Portugal where I was able to watch Red-rumped Swallows daily, often in the company of Barn Swallows. That said, this was a British tick for me.

It was a truly amazing day, and one that will go down in Spurn folklore. Not only was it a record day for Red-footed Falcon (Four!) but it was also a record day for Hobby, with seven individuals flying south. There was also a good arrival of Red-veined Darters, with at least seven males. An awesome day to be a part of. 
-Red-veined Darter
-Red-footed Falcon

The morning started wet, grey and overcast, and this was the theme of the whole day. Early morning Tim caught a possible Iberian Chiffchaff. He listed all the features and made a good case but we will have to see when we get the results of the DNA test. I tried my best to find some birds around the triangle but ultimately failed. A yeartick of Cuckoo was about the best I could managed. Not quite on the same scope as the previous day.
-Possible Iberian Chiffchaff

For my final morning of the weekend I decided to try my luck at the Point. My time would have been better spent in bed, as there were not many birds to be seen down there. A couple of Spotted Flycatchers and a Wheatear were all that I could manage migrant wise, and a Peregrine was all that I could manage otherwise. A fairly steady day to be honest.

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Mallard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Shelduck, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Hobby, Kestrel, Peregrine, Red-footed Falcon, Common Buzzard, Long-eared Owl, Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Curlew, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Eider, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Common Swift, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wren, Robin, 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Portugal & Spain complete species list

Greylag Goose Anser anser
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Gadwall Anas strepera
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
Common Pochard Aythya ferina              
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris*
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus               
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus
Black Stork Ciconia nigra
White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great White Egret Ardea alba
Little Egret Egretta garzetta      
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus*
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus*
Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti*
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata
Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
Red Kite Milvus milvus
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni*
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Great Bustard Otis tarda*
Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax*
Western Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Eurasian Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Eurasian Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola              
European Golden-Plover Pluvialis apricaria        
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus      
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus              
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula     
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus               
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata       
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa         
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica      
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Red Knot Calidris canutus           
Ruff Calidris pugnax      
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea    
Sanderling Calidris alba               
Dunlin Calidris alpina    
Little Stint Calidris minuta          
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago       
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus          
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus    
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola             
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola
Razorbill Alca torda
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Audouin's Gull Ichthyaetus audouinii*
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis    
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Little Tern Sternula albifrons
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica   
Black Tern Chlidonias niger         
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis               
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Pterocles alchata*         
Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis*
Rock Pigeon Columba livia          
Common Woodpigeon Columba palumbus        
European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Barn Owl Tyto alba
European Scops Owl Otus scops*
Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo*
Little Owl Athene noctua
Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis*
Alpine Swift Apus melba             
Common Swift Apus apus
Pallid Swift Apus pallidus
White-rumped Swift Apus caffer*
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster   
European Roller Coracias garrulus*        
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor*        
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis meridionalis
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator             
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius             
Iberian Magpie Cyanopica cooki*  
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica          
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula       
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Carrion Crow Corvus corone      
Common Raven Corvus corax
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla*     
Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra*
Woodlark Lullula arborea           
Thekla Lark Galerida theklae*
Crested Lark Galerida cristata   
Sand Martin Riparia riparia        
Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris    
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica   
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica*
House Martin Delichon urbicum               
Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus*    
Eurasian Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus                    
Great Tit Parus major   
Eurasian Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus             
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus irbii
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea           
Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla*
Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti         
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli*         
Isabelline Warbler Iduna opaca*
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta*
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus   
Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus             
Great Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis*
Western Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis*
Western Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans cantillans*
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala*     
Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis               
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata*
Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas galactotes galactotes*
European Robin Erithacus rubecula        
Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos   
European Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca   
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus      
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros gibraltariensis
Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius  
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra         
European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola rubicola 
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura*
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe            
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica hispanica*
Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula           
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus               
Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor*
Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus*
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia*
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus        
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs                       
European Greenfinch Chloris chloris      
Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus    
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis               
Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina      
European Serin Serinus serinus*
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes           
House Sparrow Passer domesticus          
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis*
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus             
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia *
Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus*
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild*

Iberian Hare Lepus granatensis
European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Brown rat Rattus norvegicus
Egyptian Mongoose Herpestes ichneumon
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
Wild Boar Sus scrofa scrofa
Red Deer Cervus elaphus

European Pond Terrapin Emys orbicularis
Spanish Pond Terrapin Mauremys leprosa
Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta elegans
Moorish Gecko Tarentola mauritanica
Turkish Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus
Large Psammodromus Psammodromus algirus
Spanish Psammodromus Psammodromus hispanicus
Geniez’s Wall Lizard Podarcis virescens
Guadarrama Wall Lizard Podarcis guadarramae
Ocellated Lizard Timon lepidus
Western Montpellier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus
Iberian False Smooth Snake Macroprotodon brevis
Horseshoe Whip Snake Hemorrhois hippocrepis

Iberian Painted Frog Discoglossus galganoi
Iberian Water Frog Pelophylax perezi
Spiny Toad Bufo spinosus

Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator
Violet Dropwing Trithemis annulata
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum
Scarlet Darter Crocothemis erythraea
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum
Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa
Western Clubtail Gomphus pulchellus

Southern Emerald Damselfly Lestes barbarus
Iberian Bluetail Ischnura graellsii
Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum
Southern Damselfly Coenagrion mercurial
Dainty Damselfly Coenagrion scitulum
Common Winter Damselfly Sympecma fusca
Goblet-market Damselfly Erythromma lindenii

Swallowtail Papilio machaon
Spanish Festoon Zerynthia rumina
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus
Bergers Clouded Yellow Colias sareptensis
Black-veined White Aporia crataegi
Large White Pieris brassicae
Small White Pieris rapae
Bath White Pontia daplidice
Western Dappled White Euchloe crameri
Green-striped White Euchloe belemia
False Ilex Hairstreak Satyrium esculi
Lang’s Short-tailed Blue Leptotes pirithous
Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus 
Black-eyed Blue Glaucopsyche melanops
Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Brown Argus Aricia agestis
Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
Queen of Spain Fritillary Issoria lathonia
Marsh Fritillary Eurodryas aurinia
Knapweed Fritillary Melitaea phoebe
Iberian Marbled White Melanargia lachesis
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Southern Gatekeeper Pyronia Cecilia
Spanish Gatekeeper Pyronia bathseba
Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus
Red Underwing Skipper Spialia sertorius
Southern Marbled Skipper Carcharodus boeticus
Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris
Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola
Lulworth Skipper Thymelicus acteon

Friday, 19 May 2017

Iberia: Monfrague & final days 17 - 20 May

Day 38 17.05.2015
Having finished our survey work we began a couple of days birding casually in Monfrague National Park. Even as we drove through the park there were plenty of birds; Griffon, Egyptian and Black Vultures all in abundance, as well as Black Stork. Passerines were also in good numbers; Melodious Warbler, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting plus finally connecting with Cirl Bunting, with a couple of individuals seen during the afternoon including a singing male. In the evening we headed up to the castle to watch White-rumped Swifts and they more than performed, with birds coming into the castle to their nests, providing us with brilliant fly-by. An awesome way to spend the evening!
-Cirl Bunting
-Eurasian Griffon Vulture
-White-rumped Swift

Species List:
Monfrague National Park: White Stork, Black Stork, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, European Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Feral Pigeon, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, White-rumped Swift, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Iberian Water Frog, Iberian Painted Frog, Mediterranean Pond Terrapin, Large Psammodromus, Small White, Large White, Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, False Ilex Hairstreak, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Southern Gatekeeper, Red-veined Darter,

Day 39 18.05.2017
This was our one and only full day in Monfrague, so it was an unfortunate development that the wind picked up overnight. Despite this we made the best of it, and whilst it seemed to have reduced the abundance of Cirl Buntings, other birds were not too badly affected it seemed. We first headed just out the park to a site for the buntings and Crested Tit. The Buntings were nowhere to be seen, but we had a good session with 4 Crested Tits. Sadly they did not really sit for photos, but they were such beautiful birds I can’t say that I really minded. A Subalpine Warbler was also present, but shared the same problem as all the others we have seen in that it remained within the bushes. A stunning male Common Redstart was a surprise, as it was a trip tick, and not something we had expected for the day. A couple of butterfly lifers was also nice; Black-veined White and Spanish Gatekeeper. The former was very nice after I had been unable to clinch one earlier in the trip.
-Crested Tit
-Black-veined White
-Spanish Gatekeeper
After spending the first half of the morning in the woods, we headed off to a watchpoint for Spanish Imperial Eagle. The birds were not as regular as they had been at this site, as they had failed with their nest, but we hoped for a flyby and after a short wait we struck lucky. Sadly it was very brief and its second appearance was equally as brief so we returned in the evening. In the evening we had much better views of an adult flying near the ridge behind us. It did not fly particularly low but low enough to see detail on the wings and feathers. Obviously brilliant to see, and about time given we have been in Iberia for over 6 weeks.
-Spanish Imperial Eagle
After spending time with the eagle we continued driving slowly up the road in the hope of finding some Cirl Buntings. We initially heard them and then finally saw well a small group of around 10 buntings feeding near the road. They came fairly close and we were finally able to get some good shots. At the same spot Re’a picked out a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, which when we investigated, found a nest hole, and could clearly see the adults bringing in food. That was a pretty cool, and a lifer I did not expect for the trip. After dark we did a slow night drive along the main road, but Red Deer were all that we could manage.
-Cirl Bunting
-Lesser-spotted Woodpecker

Species List:
Monfrague National Park: White Stork, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, European Black Vulture, Black Kite, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Common Swift, House Martin, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Greater-spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Common Redstart, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Crested Tit, Western Subalpine Warbler, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Small White, Large White, Black-veined White, Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, False Ilex Hairstreak, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Spanish Gatekeeper, Red-veined Darter,

Day 40 19.05.2017
Today is our final full day, and last day of any meaning, in Iberia. We only had the morning birding before heading back to Campo Maior as a half way stop before our trip to Lisbon tomorrow. We called off at Almarez Reservoir on the outskirts of Monfrague for some birding before we began wrapping it up. The site was pretty good, with a number of wetland birds present, especially Purple Heron and Little Bittern which we found in some number. Purple Swamphen was also present although typically skulking, and we had good views of Great Reed Warbler singing and heard several Savi’s Warblers, although we saw none. A nice end to the birding for our trip! On the way back we had a stop off at a petrol station to fill up, and here we had some nice views of Azure-winged Magpie. They were pretty upset with a Black Kite that flew over, and a posse of at least 10 Magpies followed the Kite until it had left.
-Little Bittern
-Purple Heron
-Spotless Starling
-Azure-winged Magpie

Species List:
Almarez Reservoir: Cormorant, Great-white Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Red Kite, Booted Eagle, Great-crested Grebe, Purple Swamphen, Moorhen, Little Bittern, Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Squacco Heron, Gull-billed Tern, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Greenfinch, 

Day 41 20.05.2017
Our final morning in Iberia was spent travelling to the airport at Lisbon. Once we had dropped Re'a off for his earlier flight Yoav and I found we had some time to kill so went to bird a small nature reserve consisting of salt pans on the southern side of the city. 
We were not expecting much but were pleasantly surprised by a healthy selection of waders plus a few other bits and pieces. Our final trip tick was a Little Stint on one of the ponds, and we also had views of Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Dunlin among the commoner waders that we had become accustomed to. Alongside the waders we found good numbers of Greater Flamingo, as well as a few Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Common Waxbill and for the insects finally a good view of a Swallowtail. 
-Little Stint

Species List:
Salinas do Samouco: Little Stint, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Greater Flamingo, Common Waxbill, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, House Sparrow, Collard Dove, Mallard, Shelduck, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, White Wagtail,