Back home from Costa Rica and birding here in Spain is uninspiring, but I can't just cut the habit completely, cold turkey is too painful. So I went out looking for something, anything interesting at the local patches. Tried the Charca looking for Jack Snipe. There were Snipe & some said there were Jacks but I didn't see them. They all looked like Common Snipe to me but I did notice something odd about this bird in the two photos. If you look closely at the first shot you will see the bill is bent open from about halfway down! the next shot was taken within seconds but then the bill is perfectly straight. Odd?
I posted these on the ABS Facebook site and learned from member Ron Jackson that this phenomena is known as Rhynchonikensis - the ability to partly open bill when eg probing in mud, preventing ingestion of mud. Common to many waders. Well I didn't know that & still find it hard to understand how an apparently rigid bill can be bent from a point half-way along? weird.
Not much else to report from the Charca, saw a Kingfisher and a White Stork which has been hanging around for a while. I took a photo of a Teal just because I don't have any decent shots of this one, always good to make an improvement.
Following week we took a look at Fuente de Piedra with Bob Wright. Not much water in the Lagoon despite recent rains. No Cranes around but I did see a lovely Wryneck, and Elena and I spotted a Merlin flying low across the ground in front of one of the hides behind the Visitors Centre.
It was also nice to pick up a shot of a Song Thrush by the main Lagoon, we don't see many of these in Andalucia. Also I spotted the resident Little Owl watching me nervously from a tree, so took a quick photo & left him alone.
Bob, Elena and I decided to see the Old Year out with a trip to Cabo de Gata, looking primarily for the Trumpeter Finches that had always eluded me before. This time we were lucky. No sooner had we parked at the Lighthouse when a handsome rose-tinted male Trumpeter flew straight towards us and landed so close that I couldn't get a focus with my long lens. Incredible.
I actually did get a couple of shots as it moved away but I needn't have worried, next day we returned to find the entire grassy slope near the lighthouse alive with Trumpeter Finches, feeding on the yellow flowering plants that proliferate here.
As we watched the Finches Elena spotted a Wild Boar moving uphill alongside a distant wall, a rather unusual sight in broad daylight and worthy of note here.
We did pick up about 47 species on the two day trip, including Slender-billed Gull
and a few rather nice Pintail at Roquetas de Mar
We dipped on the Dotterels that we know are in the stony beach area east of Retamar but I did get good close-up views of a departing Stone Curlew
I will post a couple of nice shots of some very common birds, a Stonechat and a Black Redstart. Just because I like the photos.
and a decent image of one of the numerous Iberian Grey Shrikes that are quite common around here.