Thursday, 23 September 2010


We enjoyed excellent birding yesterday morning at Ludo recording more than 70 species during only quite a short walk.

For June, the woodpecker fan, it was a particular red-letter day as we saw all four of the locally available members of the family Picidae. We began by watching a Great Spotted Woodpecker and an Iberian Green Woodpecker on neighbouring telegraph poles, both of them being mildly harassed by Spotless Starlings. Soon after that, we found a Wryneck (people seeing this species for the first time always seem surprised by its small size) and later, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, for us the least-often seen of the quartet.

We watched an elegant Black-winged Kite hunting and twice saw it bring a small prey item to a favourite plucking post. Nearby, two Booted Eagles were sitting only a couple of metres apart, engaged in a prolonged session of feather maintenance. A fly-by Marsh Harrier and a Common Kestrel completed the raptors.

The saltpans held the usual good selection of waders, more than a dozen species that included Avocet, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Curlew Sandpiper, plus a fair number of Greater Flamingos amongst which we again found one that had been ringed in France.

Spotted Redshank

A Water Rail squealed loudly from just two or three metres from us but refused to show itself; a couple of times we saw Little Bitterns in flight before they disappeared into reedbeds; thankfully, a Purple Heron was much more obliging as it landed in a tree and remained in full view.

Passage migrants were represented by Pied Flycatcher, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Subalpine Warbler and Whinchat. Newly arrived, probably to spend the winter here, were our first of season Wigeon and European Robin.

Pied Flycatcher

Amongst other notables for our visitors from England were Red-rumped Swallow, Hoopoe, Turtle Dove (still quite common here), Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Zitting Cisticola and Azure-winged Magpie, while for us, perversely, it was the single Common Magpie that was of interest as it was further west along the coast than we have previously seen this species!

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