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Monday, 12 September 2016

Very Hot Ibiza Birding!

From 2nd to 9th September, Jenny & I stayed at Cala Longha in the south of the Balearic island of Ibiza. Throughout the week, there was plenty of glorious sunshine, with the only clouds seen on the last day of out trip. Temperatures were very hot indeed, being in the high 30's and even touching 40 degrees celsius at times making birding very difficult, as most non- aquatic birds tended to hide in the heat. It was noticeable more passerines were seen on the last cloudier day. Also bear in mind hand luggage weight restriction (the bane of my life!) meant I couldn't take a telescope (I was taking 2 cameras and a Sigma 50-500mm lens, a Sigma 150mm macro lens and Canon 18-55mm lens plus Canon 7D and Canon 700D cameras) so couldn't ID a lot of smaller sized distant birds on the Salinas or the sea, plus my second pair of bins Zeiss Dialyt 10X42 developed a fault on the 1st day they could only focus long distance! On Friday 2nd a male Sardinian Warbler seen behind the room plus a female Blue Rock Thrush flew out of the bay. A look down the path leading inland by a wall revealed up to 24 Iberian Wall Lizards plus a Spotted Flycatcher which stayed faithful to a single bush. A female Blue- tailed Skimmer dragonfly also perched on the top of a wire fence. Up to 4 adult Audouin's Gulls seen around the beach. 4 were seen on the roof of a nearby supermarket and the birds flew onto the beach around 7pm as people started leaving the beach. On Saturday 3rd September, a trip to the Salinas, by far the best birding spot on the island, revealed in the first lagoon, with a hide now constructed at the far end, 38 Greater Flamingos with 5 of their number being brown juvenile birds. Counting all along the salt pans/ salinas area an incredible total of 600+ Greater Flamingos seen plus 20 Black necked Grebes seen afloat on the water. As I walked down the track to the hide, a Hoopoe flew right over the track and 3 Stonechat seen near the hide. Another male Stonechat was on overhead wire in an adjacent field. A Thekla Lark flew over calling. By the foreshore by the hide 5 immature brown Blue- headed Wagtails seen plus a female Kentish Plover and 5 Black- winged Stilt. Down the track past the salt works past, the salt mountain, in the long dyke running parallel to the track, obliging feeding immature Black- winged Stilt and Greenshank seen. By the scrub behind the restaurant no birds seen, where I have previously seen Balearic warbler, but the temp was around 40C, all I saw were 3 Iberian Wall Lizards. On Sunday 4th September, early on I heard a Peregrine calling from the hotel room but alas the bird could not be seen (because of the restricted view). Just before a Kestrel perched on wires. At Santiago del Rio, the only river area, wildlife here was sadly very elusive. At the park, an Iberian Wall Lizard scuttled past the path and showed well for a minute before disappearing. Along the river by a tree near the bridge, aa flurry of activity included a Serin heard in sub song, Spotted Flycatcher and a female Sardinian Warbler, Linnet and Greenfinch seen too. A Cetti's Warbler was hear by the river and that was it. On Monday 5th September, walking down at 7am, to town pics, 2 Serin fed by the weeds on the beach. On a boat trip to Ibiza town, a Grey Heron seen on the rocks, about 12 Iberian Wall Lizards seen around the fort included half being green ones. Jenny spotted a brief view of a Hummingbird Hawk Moth pointed out to me and I watched it for all of 30 seconds. On the return trip around 430 Yellow- legged Herring gulls seen on the sea plus on the rocks an Iberian Shag seen too. On Tuesday 6th September, near Ibiza Town and long straight road past some olive groves and my first Woodchat Shrike of the trip was seen also nowhere to stop. At Tallasia, reached by tuning off on a sharp left up a dusty track travelling around 4 miles to the peak by the radar station, a Firecrest showed well in trees as we parked. c6 Balearic Crossbills seen in total, the first one in a tree by the station, other flew overhead and 1 perched near the top of the tower briefly. Opposite the path, I first saw 3 Wall Browns plus a male Red-veined Darter perched on a bush. 3 Great Tits seen plus 3 Iberian wall Lizards including 1 green one and a real surprise was a daytime Moorish Gecko (initially thought to be an Agama but photos proved otherwise!) scrambled around the wall of the radar station. A Wasp Spider also seen in the middle of its web on the edge of a bush. Definitely the second best wildlife spot on the island. On Wednesday 7th September, on a return trip to Las Salinas, 56 Greater Flamingo seen by the first lagoon with 9 immature birds. On the foreshore by the hide, 3 Yellow immature Wagtails seen and 2 Kentish Polvers. 5 Black- winged Stilts seen. I counted 400+ Greater Flamingos seen. At the restaurant area by the beach, an Iberian Wall Lizard seen by the wall by the cafe, 2 Lesser Emperor Dragonflies seen as always constantly seen flying hunting for insects. By the bushes, a Spotted Flycatcher seen and a mysterious Warbler seen deep into a bush either sardinian or maybe Balearic but it disappeared and I will never know. On a trip to Es Canar, one then 2 Turtle Doves seen in flight plus one Turtle Dove flew out from a pine wood and perched on a telegraph line, again nowhere to stop, sadly. A Blackbird and Kestrel seen too. On Wednesday night whilst on a walk, 1 Moorish Gecko a erasable sized animal seen on a wall near a bush not far from the hotel. When I retrieved my camera it had gone but I found a smaller Moorish Gecko on a the corner of a wall near a phone box and that showed well albeit in a dark corner. A Cockroach also seen on another wall.On Thursday 8th I headed for the north- east part of the island, heading for the more northerly Cap de negro (inexplicably 2 are named within a few miles of each other just north of the clubbing capital san Antonio. I don't know if I reached the Cap or not, but it didn't matter as I stopped at a cliff top restaurant with striking steep drop and stunning views over the headland, the restaurant was signed Puertos de Los Ceilo and I parked by the Pines and immediately saw 3 Firecrest, a Sardinian warbler, this time a male and my main focus of the trip, a stunning Eleonora's Falcon first seen flying low and right over the sea. Later, this or another Eleonora's Falcon flew over the cliff top, a male Blue Rock Thrush also flew away. Driving the loop around to the K18 road passing through Olive groves, 4 separate Woodchat Shrikes seem flying up to a wire and then across the road, one perched a tree, one perched prominently on powerless near a cable pole near the road and 1 flew briefly down from an olive tree. A walk around the field revealed 2 Spotted Flycatchers, and an immature Ortolan Bunting flew up from a field verge and perched in an olive tree later flying down to the same area. Several 2 Thekla Larks flew over. 2 Chiff- Chaffs seen around the vegetation. a female Sardinian Warbler seen and showed well in a tree. Thursday night another Moorish Gecko seen on the wall near the entrance to another Hotel in the resort. My taking several pictures aroused interest from tourists and locals alike and I was able to explain about my lucky find, their habits, food preferences and the importance of conserving these and all wildlife.

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