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Marian's 2009 bird-list - Birds from Spain (1 Viewer)

madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
And here starts the third part of my August holiday. It was a short visit to my BF buddy Scottishdude in Alicante, where he was spending his holiday with his family. But we still had time for birdwatching, even if it was a social/family holiday… there is time for everything, when things are well organized. ;)

The first obvious thing to do there was to visit the famous Santa Pola salt pans to look for Flamingos and Kentish Plover, two of my most desired birds to find in the area. It had plenty of Flamingos (an adult and a juvie flapping wings in pic a) but surprisingly no traces of the Plovers. Still there were Little Terns, Black-winged Stilts and Gulls of several kinds.

And a drive by the surroundings of the salt pans provided me with close views of another couple of beauties that made me very happy: the Roller (pic b) and the Pratincole (pic c). I rarely see these birds because the areas where they are found are quite far away from my Northern home in Spain (it's a quite big country, you know, ;)). So, a big thank you to the Dude from here to help me to photograph these two birds in a fashion I had never done it before!!! o:)

22 August 2009: Santa Pola and surroundings, near Alicante, SE Spain

205. Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
206. Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
207. European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
208. Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)

More images in my gallery.

The story will continue soon. ;)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
After the Santa Pola excitement, we visited another salt pans by the beach of El Pinet. Wow, what a place! o:) There I picked up the Slender-billed Gull (pic a) for the list and had the chance to photograph at short distance a good number of species, most of them not yet shown in this thread, so here you have them to illustrate the birds present in this hot spot: Black-winged Stilt (a very close juvie in pic b), a feeding Avocet (pic c), one of the Black-tailed Godwits feeding and with 99% of the time spent with the head under the water (happy I managed this image with one standing tall, in pic d) and my best result with the Little Tern (pic e, these little demons are really hard to get properly, :storm:)

22 August 2009: El Pinet salt pans, Alicante Province, SE Spain

209. Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
But the surprises around Santa Pola didn't finish yet. In the late afternoon we went with Scottishdude's family to the beach, and there a beautiful Audouin's Gull gave us a super photographic session at short distance, wow! o:)

22 August 2009: near Santa Pola, Alicante Province, SE Spain

210. Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii)

In the following days I couldn't find new birds for the list, but enjoyed viewing and snapping whatever we found in the surroundings of Santa Pola: Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Northern Shrike, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Spectacled Warbler,… are some of the goodies found. Right in the last day of my stage in the area, we visited a very well known reserve close to Santa Pola, El Hondo. Sadly, we had too little time to spend there due to the family duties and with an added handicap for not doing better: the birds were too far away because of the low level of the water. Still, I could see something new:

26 August 2009: El Hondo, Alicante Province, SE Spain

211. Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
212. White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)

but the pictures I took of these two were shameful and I'm not adding them. So I'm only showing our beautiful posing Audouin's Gull in this post.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Last day in Alicante and I still had not found the supposedly common and widespread Kentish Plover! :eek!: In a last desperate attempt, we visited another part of the El Pinet salt pans and… Eureka! We got it! |=)| A bit far away but very kindly Scottishdude lent me his 50D+600mm lens and I managed the first pic attached! o:) (Loads of thanks for that, buddy! ;)) Common Terns (pic b, and new for the list) and Mediterranean Gulls were around too.

26 August 2009: El Pinet salt pans, Alicante Province, SE Spain

213. Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
214. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Just noticed I reached my aim of 150 birds photographed so far this year!!! o:) But I'm not going to change it now to 200 because I don't want to feel disappointed in Christmas time, LOL! :-O

Well, this is what my next outing provided me with. After coming back from Alicante, a quick visit to the estuary of Villaviciosa looking for waders yielded the Shelduck for the year list and the chance to photograph a few more different birds:
a) Green Sandpiper, very far away, I'm surprised it's well recognized in this pic.
b) Sedge Warbler, as hard to get in its restless activity among the vegetation as ever :)storm:)
c) Peregrine Falcon, again very far away but as it is recognizable here and my chances to photograph Peregrines are usually close to "zero", I'm adding it to my thread in this post.
d) Greenshank, common and regular in the area at this time of the year.

30 August 2009: Villaviciosa, Asturias, N Spain

215. Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Another visit to the stuary of Villaviciosa during the following weekend was extremely fortunate, I had an experience I never had before: watching at least three Bluethoats and relatively close, WOW!!! o:) Only my third encounter with this bird (last year was my second and I was over the Moon) so imagine the happy dance I did when I even managed to get a picture of it!!! :bounce: (pic a) At the very same spot the Yellow Wagtails of our Iberian race perched too (pic b). That rail looked like a very popular perch, I photographed Willow warbler and Fan-tailed Warbler too (but those are already added to this thread and I don't want to bore you too much with pictures, ;)).

6 September 2009: Villaviciosa, Asturias, N Spain

216. Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
September the 8th is a holiday in Asturias, so as I was free of work duties I joined a friend of mine who was going to do a census of migrating Passerines, something I was very interested in knowing how to be done properly.

Nice weather and company and varied birds moving around made a delightful morning. o:) Remarkable species where the Whitethroats, Tree Pipits, one Grey Shrike, one Red-backed Shrike and several Whinchats (finally I could take a picture this year, pic a). But the best of the day was the show of a Sparrowhawk fighting with a Kestrel (pic b is a moment of the attack, not the kind of image I wanted for this thread but I thought it might be interesting to share) and even better was the appearance of an unexpected Black-shouldered Kite, wow!!! o:) (pic c) As far as I know, it's only the fifth record of this bird in Asturias… no doubt they are invading more Northern areas of Spain!

And to make the thing complete, a female Pheasant flew away from our feet, and that made a new bird for the year-list! |=)| Really a fantastic day!!!

8 September 2009: outskirts of Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

217. Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
I had no opportunities for birding in a few days, but in a family trip to the coast I took my binoculars and my camera just in case I had a chance to catch up with the seabirds migrating along the coast. The weather was not precisely nice, low light and quite windy but in a short check at the see I saw:

12 September 2009: Luanco, Asturias, N Spain

218. Gannet (Morus bassanus)
219. Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)

I did an effort to photograph the Gannets (at least they are big and stand out of the dark waters) and so to have a pic to illustrate this post… |=)|
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Very hard 3 weeks in September, with no chances to do proper birding… and knowing from my friends that the migration was being very slow and disappointing, maybe due to the high temperatures and Southern winds that lasted almost all month.

Finally, the first weekend of October I managed to do something successful: I joined some friends on Saturday to do a census of seabirds migrating along the coast. The weather was great and the views of the birds gorgeous… just a pity they were too far away for my camera. The only birds I could snap was a Great Black-backed Gull (pic a) and a Yellow-legged Gull (our most common gull along the coast of Asturias, pic b)

3 October 2009: Faro Vidío, Asturias, N Spain

220. Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)
221. Pomarine Jagger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
222. Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)
223. Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra)

And during the night I did something I had never done before: the called Moonwatching, a census of birds migrating during the night and counted looking at the Moon with a scope when they pass though it. WOW!!! That was thrilling!!! o:) An the icing on the cake was a visit a Barn Owl paid us at the end of the session.

3 October 2009: Outskirts of Oviedo, Asturias, N Spain

224. Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

And next day, on Sunday, another visit to Villaviciosa yielded:

4 October 2009: Villaviciosa, Asturias , N Spain

225. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

But as I told before, the presence of migrant birds was quite poor even here. :-C Still, I don't complain, I consider this a very exciting and successful weekend.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
In my next chance for birding I wasn't really expecting much because of the unsuitable conditions for migration and possibilities of new birds. I decided just enjoy what was around and unexpectedly something exciting (for this Southern area, I know in England for example is a pest, ;)) turned out:

11 Octuber 2009: Avilés stuary, Asturias, N Spain

226. Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

Fortunately, I managed a record shot to confirm I didn't dream and a real adult Hurring Gull appeared in my area! o:)

And next day, with better winds coming from North, I went to the coast and was super to see little birds arriving finally in hordes to my area from the sea: Pipits, Skylarks, Chiffchaffs… A Spoonbill flying with a flock of Yellow-legged Gulls was a surprise as it was a single Golden Plover that passed in a rush in front of me:

12 October 2009: near Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

227. Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Hope more of these arrive soon in good numbers and I manage a picture of one for this thread.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Almost two weeks without birding :)-C) so the last weekend of October decided to go to Madrid area to make up for the inactivity, in the search for some local goodies. A fantastic day, almost 50 different species reported at Rivas, and with one new bird for the list:

30 October 2009: Rivas Vaciamadrid, Madris outskirts, C Spain

228. Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)

The best of the day was the show of 3 Blue Rock Thrushes in war with 3 Black Wheatears (managed to get one of the Weathears in flight, pic a) and the high numbers of many of the birds seen, specially the Cattle Egrets, up to 3000 when flying to their roosting places at sunset (that was another show, o:)).

I'm adding a pic of two Jackdraws in flight (pic b, quite common in the area but never close enough for pictures) and a Great Crested Grebe with "an edible trophy" freshly captured (|=)|) (pic c).

On Sunday I tried to go out too but it's already hunting season and birds were unnoticeable, silent and concealed!!! :storm: Poor wildlife!!! :-C
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Sadly, I'm suffering some "technical problems". I've done a Trip to Faro (S Portugal) at the beginning of November but I don't have available the pictures taken for the moment. :-C As I don't want to keep being stuck :)stuck:) I'll continue with the report of my findings and I'll leave the Faro adventure for later… I still hope to recover my pictures! o:)

While I was in Faro, I knew it was dreadful stormy weather in my area, so next weekend went to have a look if the goodies arrived (Northern Diver, Razorbill, Black-necked Grebe, Artic Tern…) were still around. It was quite dark by the time I got free of my duties and I could reach the area, but still managed to spot the Razorbill. And a new unexpected visitor appeared:

15 Noviembre 2009: Zeluán, Asturias, N Spain

229. Razorbill (Alca torda)
230. Mew Gull (Larus canus)

I had not seen a Mew gull in 5 years! o:) Sadly, the light was dreadful for pictures. I struggled to digiscope a pair of Curlews not that far away, because I still had not a picture of one this year. They were constantly preening… imagine what I could do with a shutter speed of 1/2 s! :eek!: At the end, at almost sunset, they decided to sleep… well, better this than nothing! ;)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Finally I recovered my pics from the Faro adventure!!! Yipeeee!!! o:)

I joined some BF members for a photographic trip in the Algarve, in S Portugal. The encounter was in Faro, for a long weekend. The first place visited was the very well known Ria Formosa, wide space with plenty of stuff to look for. Here I found one of the birds I tried hard to find this year but failed miserably so far:

6 November 2009: Ria Formosa, near Faro, S Portugal

231. Purple Swamp-hen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

An important event for me was to have the chance to use a 50D + 50-500mm, and that helped me to catch up with many birds I still had not photographed this year. So, to illustrate the birds of Ria Formosa, here you have:

a) Two Wigeons from a bunch having a nap.
b) A couple of Gadwalls, showing nicely.
c) The Purple Swamp-hen, seen far away crossing the lagoon.
d) A Common Sandpiper, minding its own business and giving close views from a hide.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
This is the second part of the record of the first day in Faro area.

After leaving Ria Formosa, we visited an area of salt pans and a beach close to it, both habitats were full of waders of many kinds, along with Gulls (Mediterranean, Slender-billed and the other classics), Herons, Spoonbill, Flamingo… During the day I recorded more than 60 species of birds. In Summary: this area was Paradise!!! |=)|

6 November 2009: near Tavira, S Portugal

232. Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
233. Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

The pictures are:
a) Very happy to have caught up with the lovely Little Stint, I was unable to spot one in my area during migration but fortunately they winter here in good numbers.
b) Curlew Sandpiper, I had seen it in Spring but no chances for a pic… better late than never though. |=)|
c) One of the hits of this weekend: my first Caspian Tern in Europe, wow!!! o:) And I had not seen this since I went to Florida en 2002.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
The main aim is this trip to Faro was to look for the Bluethroat. Sadly it was very windy all time and little birds didn't show up well. So, we decided to change the plan and visit the area of Castro Verde, to look for the Bustards for the British, as those would be lifers for them.

I think we were extremely lucky, because the Little Bustards showed up relatively soon. We spotted them in the distance… but quite an adventure to get closer to them! o:D Great fun, anyway. Great Bustards were much more difficult but patience paid off. At the end all of us were chuffed! :bounce:

I only got a bird for my year list, but it was one I was dying to see again after many years:

7 Noviembre 2009: Castro Verde area, S Portugal

234. Little Bustard (Otis tetrax)

And during the trip from Faro to Castro Verde, I had the chance to photograph plenty of varied birds. I'm adding here some not uploaded before to this thread, and that would give you a taste of the stuff of this area.

a) Snipes were hiding in many places, but we spotted them, anyway! ;)
b) My very desired Little Bustard, and my first pic of one ever! o:)
c) Carpets of Lapwings in several areas… curiously, I still had not a pic taken this year! :eek!:
d) It was nice to spot several Red-legged Partridges, quite wary but not as much as the Spanish ones, apparently!
e) The glorious Great Bustard… no words! :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
No more new birds from the Faro adventure, so I catch up now with my findings during the windy November month we had.

In my next chance for birding, I tried to find more of the goodies I knew the strong winds had taken into the stuaries, particularly Dives. No luck, but instead somebody else was stealing the show in one of my patches:

22 November 2009: Zeluan, by Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

235. Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini)

Wow, great unexpected visitor!!! o:) Several people had the pleasure of enjoying its beauty (pic a, the only one I managed of it in flight showing its unmistakable pattern). This is only the third time this bird appears in this spot.

And in the next weekend, as it was still windy, I had another try for the Diver but no luck again. Fortunately, this other guy appeared and gave super views (pic b):

29 November: Zeluan, by Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

236. Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

More (and better, ;)) pictures of both beauties in my gallery.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
December started terribly cold even here in Spain. But in spite of the horrible (at least for me, ;)) temperatures close to 0ºC, I visited again the steppes of Palencia during the first weekend of this month.

The amount of wintering Geese was amazing (around 7.000 in La Nava, even if it is not a big lagoon), it was thrilling to see them calling while flying over my head when they headed to their feeding spots (got pic a, Greylag Goose, during those moments). The big surprise was to see 5 White-fronted Geese feeding among the Greylags, wow, only my second encounter with this beauty!!! o:) (pic b, digiscoped in very low light)

But still another surprise: two Grey Phalaropes in one of the other small lagoons around La Nava!!! Another “wow”, first time I see these inland!!! Had to take a dreadful digiscoped pic, just to prove myself I wasn't dreaming, the light was so poor by then in the evening! Some wintering Ruffs were there too feeding with Lapwings and Dunlins (but I'm not showing the dreadful pic taken, that would be to go too far, lol, :-O)

5 December 2009: Laguna de La Nava and surroundings, Palencia Province, N Spain

237. White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
238. Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius)
239. Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Still cold weather in middle December. I realized I still had not taken pictures of some wintering wildfowl this year, so went to Gijón, as in the big lagoon of the local Park winter variety of species. Thus, I had a great time trying to capture nicely some of them, and here you have Shelduck (pic a), Tufted Duck (b) and Red-crested Pochard (c).

And later, went to have another try to find a wintering Great Northern Diver… and finally got it!!! :bounce: Mega-chuffed with the encounter, I even had it quite close, a pity the light was awful at that time of the morning… But I don't complain!

13 December 2009: Gijón, Asturias, N Spain

240. Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer)

By the way... MERRY CHRISTMAS everybody!!! o:) B :)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
For family reasons I couldn't move around during the second part of December, only did outings in Avilés area but I must say the scarce time out has been very productive! o:) A week ago I enjoyed something unexpected that I should consider like a lifer (pic a, digiscoped)

20 December 2009: Avilés estuary, Asturias, N Spain

241. Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans) :cool:

Apparently, this has been definitively split from the Yellow-legged Gull. I must admit a friend of mine gave me lessons "in situ" on how to tell it appart, I had no idea... but now I'm an expert, LOL! o:D And later in the day, I finally managed to photograph one of the several Razorbills wintering in the stuary! o:) (pic b)

And today, another outing around Aviles was cracking, wow, several super birds around: a male Merganser appeared in the area and two other star birds paid a visit to this interesting place:

28 December 2009: area of Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

242. Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) (pic c, digiscoped)
243. Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) (pic d, another digiscoping)
244. Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)

Really chuffed with my “harvest” in these last days of the year!!! :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Just realized I had uploaded 197 different birds to this thread... so I decided to add three more new birds photographed this year to catch up with a round number, 200! o:D (a Dunnock from January in the cold weather, a well camouflaged Crested Tit, and a Linnet from the August holiday). In summary, it has been 244 birds seen and 200 photographed show in this thread... chuffed with this result!!! o:)

Well, that was just an excuse to add another post to thank you for the attention paid to this thread (a real pleasure and fun to build) and to wish everybody a

(o)< VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :loveme:

and hope 2010 arrives to you all packed with joy and happiness... and wonderful birds to watch!!! o:) Cheers!!! B :)
 

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