We had a superb weekend birding with Bob & Jenny and Derek & Barbara Etherton, all of us staying in a hotel just outside Tarifa. They had come to run the ABS stand at the local Bird Fair which did not seem to be too onerous as they had plenty of time for birding themselves. After meeting for breakfast at ten on Friday morning Derek suggested Barbate first as it was likely to be more productive than La Janda. He was quite right, the shallow lakes just outside the small seaside town had lots to offer.
As soon as we pulled up we could see a group of beautiful Collared Pratincoles standing on some rocks by the water's edge. Further out were Greater Flamingos and a variety of waders which from memory included Dunlin, Little Stint, Sanderling, Black Winged Stilt, Avocet, Kentish, Ringed and Grey Plover. All three Wagtail species were present and I was delighted to capture my first half decent shot of a Subalpine Warbler, a very attractive bird.
We were to see many more of these charming little warblers, there must have been a large influx and the sandy soil around this area creates the perfect habitat for this breeding species that winters in sub-Saharan Africa.
Linnets were drinking from puddles along the dirt tracks and we captured them perched on the wire fences along our off-road route around the lakes.
Black Eared Wheatears were more numerous than their Northern cousins and this handsome species makes a fine image perched out in the open on a fence or the top of an isolated bush.
Woodchat Shrikes had arrived in some numbers and we saw many, unlike the Southern Grey Shrike which was conspicuous by its absence. I don't think any were sighted at all during the trip.
I was pleased to get some reasonable photographs of a Short-toed Lark as this species is normally quite skittish and hard to get. Small flocks of them were foraging in the grass and they were not spooked by the car as we passed slowly by.
This Corn Bunting profile shows that powerful and cleverly shaped bill, perfect for cracking seed kernels.
Speaking of specially adapted bills, a few Hoopoes were using theirs to probe for food in the soft sandy soil.......
....as were the Bald Ibis's that have been imported into this area as a conservation measure, which appears to be working fine as we saw quite a few in the fields around Barbate.