LAGUNA MEDINA - BONANZA PONDS - SALINAS DE BONANZA - CHIPIONA MARINA
WEATHER: ALL DAY SUNSHINE, HOT AT TIMES LIGHT BREEZE. TOP TEMP 30C
We escaped the strong winds around Tarifa by travelling inland to areas around Jerez.
We drove to Laguna Medina via Vejer de la Frontera noting a nice list of species along the way. We saw White Storks, Little & Cattle Egrets in La Janda, a flock of Jackdaws at Vejer and Lesser Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Hoopoe, Red-legged Partridge, Griffon Vulture, Crested Lark and a pair of Ravens in fields near Medina Sidonia.
Laguna Medina, taken from the hide
The water level of the Laguna Medina is really low at the moment leaving a wide margin of mud, a play-ground for waders and dabbling ducks. Pied Avocets sythed their way through the shallows whilst plovers and sandpipers picked up morsels from the waters edge and Dunlins 'hammer-drilled' into the mud with their sewing machine bill-action. The bigger birds just slept off a busy night, Spoonbills and Flamingos, loafed in the shallows, Stilts waded into deeper water, because they could, and Eurasian Teals sifted through the wet mud for seeds and any minute life-forms they could find.
Our birding stepped up a notch when we visited the 'Ponds' at Bonanza, despite the heat we had a great time searching these small bodies of reed-fringed waters for some really exciting soecies. A TEMMINCK'S STINT was nice to see, a rarity for Spain and we saw it in the same place as the one I saw last year, coincidence?
We scanned the reeds and found Squacco Heron, Western Swamphen, Little Bittern (seen by only me) and the water held White-headed Duck, Red-crested and Common Pochard, Little Grebes, Gadwall, Mallard and lots of both Cattle and Little Egrets. It was the third pool that turned up the most exciting species. A large group of Belgian Birders told us that they had seen both MARBLED DUCK and RED-KNOBBED COOT, so we set out to find them for ourselves. The Marbled Duck appeared and promptly sat in the middle of the water but the coot was far more challenging. It skulked in the reeds and hardly showed, but after half an hour it came out, we all had scope-views of it.
A Squacco Heron - well hidden in the reeds
Other birds seen at the ponds were: Great Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Night Heron, Green and Common Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Reed Warbler and Common Kingfisher.
The salt pans were again very poor, most of them were devoid of birds, we saw Greater Flamingo, Pied Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Stint, Sanderling, Slender-billed Gull, Common Shelduck, Whimbrel, Redshank, Common Sandpiper and a Red Kite.
Our second visit to the ponds paid off nicely as we found another Little Bittern and this time everyone got to see it. To finish the day we visited Chipiona Mariner and we were rewarded for our efforts by having excellent close views of up to 5 Little Swifts, it was a great bird to end a great day out. We had seen 22 new species bringing our total to 139 with two days to go.
an archive Little Swift picture taken by Kevin Jones in 2014