MARCHENILLA TRACK SAN PABLO - PUNTA CANERA - LOS LANCES BEACH TARIFA - BARBATE MARSH - VEJER - MONTENMEDIO GOLF COMPLEX - MIRADOR DE ESTRECHO Another cracking day with plenty of sunshine, a bit windy in the morning at Tarifa but very clear later.


Our first venue was a bridge over the rio Guadiaro near San Pablo, our main target species was in the bag after 10 minutes, Western Olivaceous, seen well and heard often.

From the river we moved to the Marchenilla Track, a favourite of mine becuse of the variety of species that can be found there anytime of the year. We lsited many species but the most notable were:  Melodious Warbler, Tawny Pipit, Bee-ater, Short-toed Eagle and our main target species; RUFOUS BUSH ROBIN, smashing bird showing well.

We moved onto the coast after a brief stop at a Lesser Kestrel colony near Castellar, we had great views of these lovely falcons as they drifted over us and perched in nearby trees.

At the coast we wasted an hour by visiting the Migration watch point at Punta Canera near Getares, absolutely nothing was moving in the easterly wind. So we drove to Tarifa passing the major watch-points at Algorroba and Cazalla, no-one was tghere recording raptor passage. Los Lances Beach provided a few sightings, an Audouin's Gull, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Greater Short-toed Lark and not much else.

barbate was a different story, the 'newly' created marshes, open lagoons with a series of island, were loaded with birds. We found 14 Bald Ibis in a cow pasture and dozens of waders in the first lagoon. The waders consisted of 6 species, Dunlin, Little Stint, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and Kentish Plover. But further round the marsh we found good numbers of Collared Pratincoles and a pair of Stone Curlews. A single Pied Flycatcher and a Willow Warbler were the only paserine migrants that we found.

Passing through Barbate we added Redshank, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt and Avocet to the day list before we arrived at Vejer. We stopped there to watch the Blad Ibis at one of their breeding colonies, at least 10 brooding birds were seen, the nearby Cattle Egret colony was ever growing and very noisy.

We made a brief stop at Montenmedio golf complex to look for more migrants in the entrance trees, we found Eurasian Hoopoe, Iberian Woodpecker, Red-legged Partridge but no migrant as such.

Lastly we stopped at the Mirador de Estrecho, a viewing point overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, it was perfectly clear with fantastic views across to Morocco and more importantly the wind had dropped and a trickle of raptors were making their way across the water to Spain.

As we settled down to watch the mini-migration we met up with John Hale a local birder and friend of mine, he had two guest birders with him and together we made up a formidable birding group. This greatly improved our sightings list, a trickle of Black Kites suddenly turned into a mass of birds with several species joining the kites. Booted Eagles, Short-toed Eagles and Honey Buzzards came across in numbers whilst singles of Osprey, Hobby and Red Kite joined several Eurasian Sparrowhawks and a couple of Marsh Harriers. Griffon Vulture made up our count of 10 raptors in 1 hour! Fantastic, great birding in great light, a glimpse of good a raptor migration can be.

We went said goodbye to John and Tim & Tim and instead of getting home early as planned we were late for dinner, who was in the dog house when we got home..............