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Birdwatching in Straits of Gibraltar & La Janda

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Old Wednesday 15th November 2017, 09:29   #801
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We are hoping to disseminate the count information both through Migres and our own social media feeds more regularly but when the count information is required by visiting Birders it is also one of the busiest times for both organisations so please do consider that. However we will discuss the feedback and see if there is another way of presenting the information which maybe more useful this coming year.

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Old Wednesday 15th November 2017, 15:59   #802
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We are hoping to disseminate the count information both through Migres and our own social media feeds more regularly but when the count information is required by visiting Birders it is also one of the busiest times for both organisations so please do consider that. However we will discuss the feedback and see if there is another way of presenting the information which maybe more useful this coming year.

Thanks

Simon
Thanks Simon.

Just to elaborate what I was getting at in one of the posts I made while I was over there in September, this is the information that was presented last year on a daily basis at Cazalla, covering movement counts from there and Algarrobo on the preceding day.

It is excellent information, well presented, and importantly for the hard-worked staff, easily presented as a pro-forma poster.

It provides not only the individual daily species counts, but it highlights the differences in the numbers of species to be seen at each of the observatories. Algarrobo is undoubtedly better for honeys in volume, but they tend to be flying lower at Cazalla, so better prospects for visiting photographers. Cazalla on the other hand consistently produces the higher numbers of black kites, Egyptian vultures and white storks.

It also highlights the fact that every day is different and weather dependent.

I've posted photos below of 5 days' records to illustrate my point.

The first, 28th August, was a 'Big Day' with huge numbers of all sorts passing through after being bottled up by several days of Levanter. over 20,000 birds through Cazalla, half of them white storks while of the 7,779 birds through Algarrobo there were no white storks at all.

A few days later, 3rd September was another period of Levanter and on this 2nd day of it there was little movement apart from Honey Buzzards, which because they don't seem to give a stuff, just kept on going. 5827 birds through Cazalla, but 73% of them were honeys. More spectacularly, of the 16,313 though Algarrobo 81% were honeys.

6th September was a funny one, more honeys by a large margin at Cazalla than at Algarrobo, but the figures for Algarrobo that day were very low for everything. The monitors there must have been bored out of their skulls. Almost 20,000 birds at Cazalla (66% honeys) and only 1,300 birds at Algarrobo.

Next day, 7th September was very different. 5,864 through Cazalla and 5,105 at Algarrobo. This illustrated the daily variations.

A week later, 13th September, 2998 birds at Cazalla (only 175 honeys), 4676 at Algarrobo (1681 honeys). Two days later the figures were lower again, only 661 birds through Cazalla and 408 at Algarrobo.

The weekly counts published this year are fine, but these daily counts are so much more useful for the visiting birder on the ground.

Alan.
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Old Monday 27th November 2017, 09:00   #803
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More car hire blues. It's getting to be an annual event.

After my experience last year when Marbesol took 20 euros from my card for 'extra cleaning' of a clean car, which I reported to the hire agency and to Mastercard, I removed that company from my 'approved' list. I had a trouble-free hire in spring 2017, using Firefly and I expected more of the same in the autumn, although with a different well-known company.

Not so. I hired my car as normal through the usual agency, picked it up at Malaga airport on 26th September, paying roughly £227 for the hire, handling fees and an overpriced tank of fuel with a fuel policy of a refund for any fuel left in the tank at the end.

I returned the car in a clean condition (plenty of photos) three weeks later on 16th September, let the hire company rep check it over, gave him the keys and after asking him if the car was OK (Yes it was) we walked off to the check-in without more ado. Job done.

Or so I thought.

26th September I received my Mastercard statement and was surprised to see a further deduction of almost £80 including a non-stirling transaction fee taken on the 18th, after I was back in the UK. I immediately reported this to the hire agency and asked for an explanation of what I considered to be an unauthorised withdrawal. It took them a month to respond. On 24th October I got a one-liner to say that a breakdown of the invoice would be with me 'shortly'.

18th November, still no invoice, so I sent them an email asking for progress within 7 days. No response.

It's now 9 days, so I've reported it to Mastercard, who inform me that the transaction shows up on their records as a 'card present' transaction that took place on the 17th September. The person I spoke to on the phone seemed to have some difficulty comprehending that this would have been rather difficult, since the only time that my card was in their hands was when I paid for the car on 26th August. They were not given my card at all when I returned the car on 16th September and by the time this 'card present' transaction took place on 17th September I was back with my family in the UK and nowhere near a Spanish car hire desk.

I eventually, after much arguing got him to take it up as a complaint against the car hire company.

I'm not going to name the company involved, but I have seen reports in the British press recently to say that they are notorious for this sort of thing. I'll be staying away from them in future.
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Old Monday 27th November 2017, 09:33   #804
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More car hire blues. It's getting to be an annual event...
Spain is so bad for this. I rented from Sixt this September, and also got an unexpected additional payment charged to my card.

However, Sixt were fairly good with replying and after they explained it was for airport surcharge (which was included on my voucher) and for personal insurance (which I didn't have), credit to them, they promptly apologized and actually refunded all excess charges, which included zero excess charge which I had agreed to.

I have used Sixt on quite a number of occasions in Spain and, this little incident aside, I personally have found them far more honest than many of the companies that regularly seem to scam clients.
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Old Monday 27th November 2017, 09:34   #805
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I'm not going to name the company involved, but I have seen reports in the British press recently to say that they are notorious for this sort of thing. I'll be staying away from them in future.
Perhaps it is worth naming, to warn the rest of us?
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Old Monday 27th November 2017, 09:46   #806
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Perhaps it is worth naming, to warn the rest of us?
As the complaint is on-going Jos and I'm still to receive an explanation I'll leave them anonymous for the time being. They do appear to be well-known in various reports, though I've personally not had trouble with them in the past.
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 12:54   #807
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I visit Spain many times each year. I have tried most rental firms and the pick up full return empty policies are all a rip off. I now pay slightly more and use Avis. I have registered with their preferred scheme and get a free up grade and extra driver. All your details are on their system and the paperwork is all there ready when you arrive. Two signatures and you are on your way. No hassle or pressure to take out extra insurance and the agent now recognises me and couldn't be more pleasant.
I know exactly what I am paying and to me it's worth a few quid more for peace of mind as a bust up at the beginning or end of a holiday ruins the trip
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Old Saturday 24th February 2018, 08:37   #808
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Hi,
I will be in Benalmadena for a couple of days next week and I was wondering if any migration had begun yet across the Straits?
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Old Saturday 24th February 2018, 09:00   #809
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Hi,
I will be in Benalmadena for a couple of days next week and I was wondering if any migration had begun yet across the Straits?
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By 'migration across the Straits' I assume you're thinking of raptors and storks and the answer is that migration of some sort scarcely stops! The peak for most such species is in late March but it starts in earnest in February and should be building up come next week. I've attached a chart from my site guide which I drew up some years ago should help. Send me a PM with your email address and I'll send you my detailed notes on birding & birding sites in Cadiz province.
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Old Saturday 24th February 2018, 11:04   #810
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Along the coast in Marbella, I have seen the first swallows and house martins and there have been reports of Short-toed Eagles and of course, the Great Spotted Cuckoo.
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Old Saturday 24th February 2018, 13:34   #811
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Individuals of almost all the species shown for February in Johns table have by now been reported; the two species that have already appeared in numbers are white storks and black kites.

The reports from Gibraltar provide a sample from one particular site.

https://gonhs.org/news/latest-bird-sightings
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Old Sunday 25th February 2018, 08:59   #812
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Thanks John, Kevin and occasional,
For your replies.
We will probably go for Wednesday as the winds are SSW and no rain showing.

John, I forwarded my contact details through your website.

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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 10:15   #813
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Along with the long-awaited rains, black kites and swifts over the house yesterday.
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Old Saturday 3rd March 2018, 11:53   #814
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Perhaps it is worth naming, to warn the rest of us?

We've just made arrangements for spring and autumn trips to the Strait. Flights and digs are booked and I'll be organising car hires soon.

I heard nothing more from Do You Spain since they promised to send me an invoice breakdown in October for the extra 80 quid that was taken from my card without authorisation. They've still never responded to my later email.

It goes without saying that I will no longer be doing business with Do You Spain.

I will also not be hiring a car from Gold Car. Draw your own conclusions as to why.

When I reported the event to Mastercard they gave me an ex-gratia payment of £49.99 (to avoid their £50 limit), leaving me about £30 out of pocket. I told their call centre rep over the phone that I wanted the incident taken forward as a complaint. He said it would take up to 45 working days to deal with it. Allowing for Christmas etc that 45 days expired in Late January/early February while I was in India and I've heard nothing more from Mastercard. You'd think they didn't mind fraud being committed.
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Old Saturday 3rd March 2018, 13:13   #815
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We've recently started flying into Gibraltar (instead of Malaga) and walking over the border to get a hire car - it's just over the road. In January the pilots made two attempts to land into a full gale, but we then went to Malaga instead. The hire car company phoned me when the plane was on the ground and said they had noted that our flight details were changed - "Did I still want the car tonight?" well "Yes please" I called them back when were at San Roque and they were still there (nearly midnight now). I raced over from just outside Gib and found them well wrapped up against the cold and did the deal in minutes (small penalty for late arrival) and another group of 4 then arrived off the same flight and got theirs too. I was pretty impressed with this.
The company is Autos Aguirre and I book through Zest.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 10:34   #816
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I've just been on to Mastercard asking why I'd heard no more. They said that the complaint had been raised incorrectly by them when I complained in November, he couldn't understand why I'd been paid the £49.99 in the way that I was and he'd be reinstating the outstanding £30 to my account.

Sorted.

I still don't know what the payment was allegedly for.
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 19:55   #817
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Hey guys, I'm looking to tick off a few sought after/bogey birds this spring/summer and wondered if anyone had any ideas where to go for them? I live in Sotogrande and It would be ideal if locations were limited to 2 and a half hours away max! The species I am hoping to see are European Roller, Great and Little Bustards, Eagle Owl and Little and White rumped Swift (aware these are a stretch or possibly sensitive), Western Bonelli's Warbler, both Sandgrouse, Moustached Warbler and Savi's Warbler. There's a couple others I can't recall but have written down somewhere.

Any help would be appreciated! (I'm also potentially interested in tagging along with any birders for the occasional day out if possible)

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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 20:43   #818
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In brief:-
European Roller - quite possible anywhere on migration (e.g. La Janda) but the nearest breeding sit is the Osuna area (Seville Province) which is c2hr 20 mins from Sotogrande.
Great Bustard - another species found around Osuna
Little Bustard - once again the best area is probably Osuna but they can be easily seen near Benalup in spring,
Eagle Owl - get out now and listen for them as they should be calling - always a matter of luck unless you have a stake out ..
Little Swift - try the mouth of the Guadalquivit at Chipiona
White-rumped Swift - another tricky one just keep looking at likely area (e.g. Embalse de Barbate
Western Bonelli's Warbler - very common in pine/cork oak woodland in the Acornocales
Black-bellied Sandgrouse -nearest site is again the Osuna area (worth a stop over!)
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse - I find this a very elusive species - try the Trebujena marshes.
Moustached Warbler - a rarity this far west nearest regular site in winter is Motoril, (Charca de Suarez)
Savi's Warbler - very scarce - I've heard them at Laguna de Medina but the nearest regular site is probably Brazo del Este (Seville).

If you want more detail than it's feasible to give here then PM me with your email address and I'll send you my detailed site guide which gives more precise details/location,
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 09:17   #819
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In brief:-
European Roller - quite possible anywhere on migration (e.g. La Janda) but the nearest breeding sit is the Osuna area (Seville Province) which is c2hr 20 mins from Sotogrande.
Great Bustard - another species found around Osuna
Little Bustard - once again the best area is probably Osuna but they can be easily seen near Benalup in spring,
Eagle Owl - get out now and listen for them as they should be calling - always a matter of luck unless you have a stake out ..
Little Swift - try the mouth of the Guadalquivit at Chipiona
White-rumped Swift - another tricky one just keep looking at likely area (e.g. Embalse de Barbate
Western Bonelli's Warbler - very common in pine/cork oak woodland in the Acornocales
Black-bellied Sandgrouse -nearest site is again the Osuna area (worth a stop over!)
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse - I find this a very elusive species - try the Trebujena marshes.
Moustached Warbler - a rarity this far west nearest regular site in winter is Motoril, (Charca de Suarez)
Savi's Warbler - very scarce - I've heard them at Laguna de Medina but the nearest regular site is probably Brazo del Este (Seville).

If you want more detail than it's feasible to give here then PM me with your email address and I'll send you my detailed site guide which gives more precise details/location,
Thank you very much for you help John! I recently discovered Ebird and had Osuna down as a potential location for the Sandgrouse and Bustards but that's great to have it confirmed. I'll make a trip up there in a few weeks time or so. The other info is great too! I'll send you a PM.
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