LA JANDA ACROSS TO BENALUP – VEJER DE LA FRONTERA – MONTENMEDIA GOLF COMPLEX – LA PEÑA OBSERVATORY
We had another great birding day out and once again it was without a raptor migration spectacle, we saw a good number of raptor species but none of them in any high numbers. I think the White Stork stole the show when it came to numbers, we saw thousands of them!!
Our birding day started as we met in the car park at 8am after our 7am breakfast, we noted Serin, Spotless Starling, some Swift sp. and a Golden Oriole from the car park before we departed. Our destination was La Janda, a fantastic wetlands in the distant past but now a mere shadow of its former self. It is shallow valley, intensely farmed, where rice, cotton, wheat and sunflower is grown in abundance. Nevertheless, it is still pretty good for birding with plenty of water in the channels and the central canal, lots of ditches held water after the recent down pour last Sunday.
Cattle Egrets with Glossy Ibis, many Yellow Wagtails were with them a,long with Green Sandpipers and Marsh Harriers
We saw tons of birds, huge numbers of Yellow Wagtails, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egrets, White Storks and Sparrows, finches and buntings. I can’t remember how many Montagu’s Harriers we saw but it was in double figures, also Marsh Harriers, Turtle Doves and Black-winged Kites were in abundance.
one of eight Black-winged Kites seen today
Some open water held many species, we saw Wood Sandpipers (10+), Green Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank and Common Sandpipers. As well as, Little Egrets, Grey and Purple Herons, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Kingfisher, Cetti’s Warbler and Spanish Sparrows.
Our journey through La Janda took us to the ‘smelly farm’ where we searched for Red-necked Nightjar without finding one, we added Jackdaw, Common Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, more Black-winged Kites, Griffon Vultures, Booted Eagles and the odd Honey Buzzard.
It was on the track leading to Benalup that we stopped to admire the huge number of White Storks! Large numbers were rising on the thermals, we saw at least 1,000+ rising on the thermals and preparing for migration south.
White Storks were in abundance near Benalup
We stopped in Benalup to buy lunch supplies and we ate them on a track north of Cantarannas. During lunch we saw Pallid, Common and Alpine Swifts and Swallows and House Martins. At Vejer de la Frontera we spent a little time admiring the main square and acting like tourists, but hey, ho, we are tourists.
Orb Weaver Spider taken by Chris Perry
At the golf complex we looked for Red-necked Nightjar in the area where we flushed a couple yesterday, but we failed to see another one. Near the entrance gate we added both Spotted and Pied Flycatcher to the day list.
Black-eared Wheatear taken by Chris Perry
Our last port of call was the old vulture feeding station at La Peña Observatory. You have a fantastic vista from there of the Peña Mountain ridge and the Ojen Valley, it is an excellent place to visit to watch rapotrs when they are passing over, but not today! We found our first Black-eared Wheatear (5), we also saw Stonechats, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler and a few raptors flying over. This visit ended a very enjoyable day with lots to talk about over dinner.