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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Sunny Spain

Spent last week on a sunshine holiday to Salou in Spain again with the Mrs, much the same around the resort as last year, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings with the occasional sightings of Monk Parakeets and Hoopoes, a couple of trips down the coast to Cambrils added Sandwich Tern and Audouin’s Gull around the Harbour plus a Sparrowhawk over and once again there was a steady southerly passage of mainly Swallows throughout the week. I had my half day out birding mid-week and managed to find the little Nature Reserve in the middle of the Port Aventura Golf Course I’d failed to find last year so I saw a better selection of birds this year although I would imagine it’s far better in Spring, first up was a viewing platform at the perimeter where a Zitting Cisticola popped up and posed for a short while (not long enough for the camera) and several Great Reed Warblers crashed around the reeds but it was largely restricted viewing so I followed a track further in, quite a few Spotted and Pied Flycatchers were flitting around as well as Redstarts, Hoopoes and Sardinian Warblers, a few large pools on the edge of the Golf Course hosted a good selection of Waterfowl with several Little Egrets and Squacco Herons patrolling around the edges plus masses of Dragonflies most notably Lesser Emperor,  Red Veined, Yellow Winged and Scarlet Darters plus Violet Dropwing. In the middle of the main reedbed I found a Hide overlooking a small pool where a Kingfisher was fishing and a Western Swamphen stalked through the reeds, a male Little Bittern flew across the back and a while later while tracking a Turtle Dove flying across I picked up a Raptor getting up over the back, I initially thought it would be a Marsh Harrier but it soon became apparent it was much bigger than that, a superb Short Toed Eagle, quite a surprise to say it was in a small Nature Reserve in the middle of a Golf Course in the middle of a large coastal conurbation, a bit later the more expected Marsh Harrier came over hunting, also of note was a brief Southern Grey Shrike and a distant flock of Bee-eaters, a few Butterflies around as well included Long Tailed and Common Blues, Clouded Yellows and a Pale Clouded Yellow, all in all a very enjoyable afternoon. 
Audouin's Gull in Cambril Harbour

plus White Wagtail

and Pied Flycatcher nearby

Great Reed Warbler near the viewing platform

and Turtle Dove on a construction site

some large pools bordering the Golf Course

hosted mainly Coots and Pochard

from the hide a Kingfisher took a high vantage point

plus a swimming Swamphen

big surprise was this Short Toed Eagle

also the more expected Marsh Harrier over

another of the pools with Port Aventura in the background

Great Crested Grebe still with young

Little Egret over

also Squacco Herons

three Hoopoes in a tree

one flew off as I got closer

a good selection of Dragonflies included Violet Dropwing

Red Veined Darter

and Scarlet Darter

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