Here we are, November 1st. After lunch I decided to stroll up to my local before the rain started, at least I’d have a good excuse to stay for a bit. Walking over the Puente de Piedra across the River Ebro I stopped to take in the view as the sun started to set. A Common Swift flew by, the latest to date in twelve and a half years. Scores of White and Pied Wagtails were on the gravel islands in the middle of the river, scattering in all direstions as a Grey Heron circled and landed. A Kingfisher crossing from one bank to the other, calling loudly as four Yellow-legged Gulls passed over heading upstream. A single Little Egret, ahead no doubt of the usual roost flight of the twenty or so that pass every evening along with one or two Great White Egrets that are so much more common now. A flurry of feral pigeons as a Peregrine Falcon was spotted, diving into the melee looking for its evening meal. Twenty or so Great Cormorants in formation heading toward the north and still no sign of the Common Cranes returning this year……
There were about 20 Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus, Camachuelo Trompetero) present at La Laguna de Janubio, some on the ground and some up on the rocks. This one held still long enough to get its photo taken.
Bucanetes githagineus, Trumpeter Finch Camachuelo Trompetero (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)
Returning to the car park at La Laguna de Janubio after a great afternoons birding we took one last look around and I just had time to get this shot of a Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides, Halcón de Berbería) coming in off the sea. I didn’t have time to get more than one quick photo, just swung the camera up, pressed the shutter release and hoped something would come out!
Falco pelegrinoides, Barbary Falcon, Halcón de Berbería (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)
This site has never let me down for Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus, Alcaraván Común) and this time proved no exception. Fifteen or more birds were present in a field just outside the village, some running around, others bearing out the hot sun just by sitting on the ground motionless. Again the heat haze makes photography really difficult but patient waiting in the car paid off.
Burhinus oedicnemus, Stone-curlew, Alcaraván Común (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)
An early morning drive across the island was rewarded with several Houbara Bustards (Chlamydotis undulata, Hubara canaria) at Soo, Lanzarote. This is probably the best area to see this curious bird although one was seen at Playa Blanca close to the pumping station and another at P.N. de Timanfaya. The birds have a tendancy to run off in front of the vehicle so getting a side shot is really difficult.
Chlamydotis undulata, Houbara Bustard, Hubara canaria (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)
We found several Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor, Corredor) at Soo, Lanzarote. The birds were quite a way off and the heat haze made photography very difficult but this bird was obliging enough to fly a bit closer.
Cursorius cursor, Cream-coloured Courser, Corredor (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)
Our recent wildlife tour and birding trip to the island of Tenerife in the Canaries proved to be a wonderful experience. A day was spent with my good friends Manolo and Juan Pedro on board the Nashira Uno based in Puerto Santiago below the spectacular Los Gigantes cliffs. Setting off towards the island of La Gomera we soon came across a group of Short-finned Pilot Whales getting some great views right under the bow. Leaving them in peace we then headed north to look for dolphins and were accompanied by another good friend of mine Jose Manuel in the Gladiator also based in Puerto Santiago. It didn’t take long to locate a large group and this youngster took a particular interest in the boat.
Tursiops truncatus, Bottle-nosed dolphin, Delfín Mular (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)
All along the riverbanks of the Ebro here in Zaragoza, Siskins (Carduelis spinus, Lúgano) are in full voice as Spring arrives.
Yet again the pair of Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus cachinnans, Gaviota Patiamarilla) look to be set to bring up another brood this year. The site is right in the middle of the city on an island in the Parque de Agua and the birds can be seen flying up and down the Ebro from any of the bridges during the day.