Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Birding Site of the Month:The Santoña Marshes

One of the most important places of the North coast of Spain, marsh of 3,500 ha. of extension, declared Natural Reserve, ZEPA and RAMSAR place, is in the union of estuary of Limpias, Rada, Escalante and Argoños.
There are spacious surfaces of muds, sandy grounds and marshes.
There are two factors that regulate the presence and distribution of the birds, first is the stations of the year, being the winter when the greater number of birds is reached as much, as of species, more than 20,000 birds and 121 species.
The other factor that affects to the distribution of the birds by the marsh is the tidal regime, that regulates the areas where the birds feed or rest.
The best moment to observe birds is between two hours before and after the high water.
The Santoña Marshes count have their importance in the wintertime and the migratory step for numerous species of Ducks, Herons, Gulls and Waders . Although at reproductive time and as it happens in the rest of the Cantabrian coast does not host important contingents of reproductive birds, two species they do of this singular place: the Purple Heron and the Little Bittern.
The winter is the best time for birdwatching; from November to March they are possible to be found near 57 species that they emphasize by his number the Widgeon (2,500 birds) and the Dunlin (5-6,000 birds), but without a doubt what attracts the majority it is to be able to contemplate those species of the north of Europe than all winters to arrive to Santoña Marshes: Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Eider

Black-tailed Godwit

Main summer species , present mostly in breeding period, spring and summer.

Little Grebe
Purple Heron
Little Bittern
Water Rail
Common Coot
Peregrine Falcon
Little Ringed Plover
Sardinian Warbler

Black-headed Gull

Main winter species, present only between autumn and spring.

Great Northern Diver
Black-necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Common Scoter
Brent Goose
Greylag Goose
Red-breasted Merganser
Grey Plover
Ringed Plover
Black-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit
Sándwich Tern
Yellow-ledged Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Black-headed Gull

More information about the Santoña marshes: Here

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Sound of Summer

There are two birds that when I listen to them, I think that definitively the summer has arrived, one of them, it is easy to listen in cities, towns, and villages, is the Common Swift, impressive its flights between the buildings, their persecutions and mainly the high-pitched voice incessantly emitted.
The other species is the Golden Oriole, bird that finishes arriving from Africa and that mainly in the borders of the rivers with trees is possible to listen to the wonderful song of the male and the shrill answer of the female.
The two species are present in the environs of the Mill of Canto Inn, and easily it is possible to be enjoyed the flights of the Common Swift, not that easy is to be able to see it movements of the Golden Oriole, its green and yellow plumages they are camouflaged perfectly between the trees.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I and the Bird #24 by Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

I and the Bird #24

2 h. & 30 km.

A pretty day, although has been only driving direction of Sedano, but passing on valleys and arable land, as they are lived by a great number of species of birds, some finish arriving from Africa.
This is a simple list of birds observed in 30 km of route that separate the Molino del Canto Inn and the village of Sedano.
As it is possible to be verified, there are no special species, but if we can see as the number of observed species is high, if we consider that a great part of the way through a zone from moor to 1100m.

Blackbird (2)
Song Thrush (1)
Common Cuckoo (4)
Common Swift (+-10)
Common Wood Pigeon (1)
Green Finch (4)
Spotless Starling (3)
Common Raven (1)
Carrion Crow(1)
Eurasian Jay (2)
Magpie (3)
Montagu´s Harrier (2)
Common Buzzard (1)
Griffon Vulture (+10)
Linnet (4)
Yellowhammer (2)
Cirl Bunting (1)
Corn Bunting (4)
Great Tit (1)
Western Bonelli´s Warbler (3)
Iberian Chiffchaff (2)
Red-backed Shrike (2)
Common Coot (3)
Common Quail (2)
Barn Swallow (3)
Wood Lark (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Sky Lark (+-5)
Hoopoe (1)
Common Stonechat (2)
Northern Wheatear (2)
Pied Wagtail (2)
Tree Pipit (2)
Robin (3)
Black Redstart (3)
Melodius Warbler (1)
Woodchat Shrike (1)
Crested Lark (2)

38 different species, I think that is a good number for 2 h and 30 km.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Worst Weather

Probably the worse days for the Birdwatching, are the days with wind, much worse than the rain days and even the snow days.
Diverse situations prevent the observation of the birds, these move less and the movement of the trees prevents correct observations us.
Also the birds sing less or practically they do not sing, and our hearing diminishes considerably.
Even so, today, a day with strong winds, they have been let see the Griffon Vultures, demonstrating its great power of control of the flight, being able to move by the air in any direction, even against the wind.
At the few moments that the wind lessens, the birds return to sing, being able to listen with greater assiduity the Blackbird, the Mistle Thrush, and the Western Bonelli´s Warbler, and less, birds like the Cetti´s Warbler, Wren or Serin.
But the rest of the most common birds, Tits, Finches...., have not been seen nor listened in all the day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Birds in Ullivarri-Gamboa Reservoir

This week I have been able to enjoy the present birds in a natural space, created by the man, the reservoir of Ullivarri-Gamboa.
This reservoir is quite great and I was observing birds in one of its edge, near the of Mendixur Ornithological Park.
When being the closed park, and the inaccesssible observatories, I went directly to the village of Mendixur, that when high being, the observation of this zone of the reservoir is good.
When I arrived a bird from medium size cross flying the willows next to the water, the binoculars went quickly to the eyes to observe Great Spotted Cuckoo, bird that long time that it did not observe.
Birds, of slow flight, fly over to low height the surface of the water, the identification confirms, two Black Tern and two Whiskered Tern, with very similar behavior.
There are several abundant species, between the aquatic birds, the Coot and the Great Crested Grebe, of this are possible to be observed several pairs making the nuptial shutdowns, locating the one before other and making a series of symmetrical movements.
Other very abundant species, the Barn Swallow and the House Martin.
Five Purple Herons fly over the zone and two White Storks settle in trunks, one of them with rings, but I was not able to read the ring.
Another one of the observed showy species has been the Black-necked Grebe (4) and the Golden Oriole (1).

List of other observed species

Eurasian Jackdaw
Spotless Starling
Green Finch
House Sparrow
Black Kite
Reed Warbler

Common Swift
Carrion Crow
Great Reed Warbler
Melodious Warbler
Northern Shoveler (2)
Common Pochard (4)
Pied Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Corn Bunting

31 species !!!, this is a very recommendable zone for the observation of birds.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The NOCTUA Program

This week I have finalized the second visit, to the established route, of the
NOCTUA program.
This program, like SACRE, is included within the activities of pursuit of
birds of the Spanish Society of Ornithology .
In the case of the program NOCTUA, the birds that are pursuit object are
nocturnal, Owls and the Nightjars ones.
In the first visit (31/01/06), the detected birds were the nocturnal birds that they do
not make the migration, although of them only detected to Eagle Owl
and the Tawny Owl .
In this second visit already has been stated the arrival of some species that
emigrate, like Little Owl and mainly European Nightjar ,
located in the five listening posts.
It is not only easy to listen to his characteristic song, but also to see, mainly put
in roads and gravel road, in fact one of the names that receive in Spanish this
type of birds is “atajacaminos”, literally translated like “interceptroads”.
Like the SACRE program, this type of works helps to less know the situation the studied populations of birds, and in few years, the result of these visits, will give rise, to knowing if, eg., the population of Little Owl is lowering, raising or it stays, and thus with the rest of the species.
Unlike the SACRE program, the participation of ornithologists in this program is smaller, had mainly to the difficulty to make these listening at night.
Although it continues being necessary to begin at night, the methodology used now to changed, and substantially diminishes the effort that there is to make.
I animate to the ornithologists that they to carry out a programs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Yearbook

This it is the best project than referring to the birds of the province of Burgos. With him one is able to make a pursuit of the birds that frequent this province, at reproduction season, wintering or migratory pass.
Now it will leave published the number 0, which updates the records from the publication of the Atlas of the Birds of Province of Burgos (published 1996).
All the records, gathered by a group of ornithologists, are being updated every so often time in the Web page,, we were here with the different species from observed birds, according to criteria previously established, or to reproduction, concentrations or interest records.
Also the last news of showy records stand out .
In the last report of 2005 , there are records of 176 different species!!!, between which it is possible to emphasize, the records on Waders, having itself detected to 25 different species!!!, but the province of Burgos haven’t a great number of humid ground.

Congratulations to the coordinators and the birders!!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Oilfields

A small trip in one of the highest zones of the province Burgos, Las Lora moor area, located between 1000 and 1200 m.
To be between Sargentes de la Lora, Valdeajos and the province of Santander limit, exactly where the only located olilfields inland the Iberian Peninsula exist.

With temperatures below 12º C., sun and clouds, with some rain, the birds that have been observed more Sky Lark and Northern Wheatear, this last one has been observed almost in each pile of stones.
In a arable land some groups of Wood Lark and some unit of Tawny Pipit have seen themselves .
Among the bushes, Common Stonechat, Linnet and Yellowhammer.
Common Chiffchaff in the zones of pine forest.
Flying over the zone in search of food, Short-toed Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Common Buzzard, and pair Montagu´s Harrier.
Crows like Carrion Crow, Magpie and Jay.
Also it has been observed Fox and Roe Deer.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The birds from the Garden II

The list of birds today.

Cetti’s Warbler near of the river.

Griffon Vulture (15 at 11:38 h) in mountains.

Dipper singing in the mill and with food for the chickes.

In the garden :
Robin .
various birds singing in the garden..
Iberian Chiffchaff .
Blackcap .
Greater Tit .
Common Chaffinch

In the forest :
Common Wood Pigeon
Western Bonelli´s Warbler .

The list till 11:47 h .

This afternoon .

A nest of Mistle Thrush on a greenoak, abandoned, with two eggs, the one broken and other intact but totally cold, surely depredated by its bad location, when being located in a very accessible bracket .

Friday, May 05, 2006

The birds from the Garden I

Every so often I will be putting the birds that during day are seeing themselves from the Inn, in their garden , feeders and the environs, the river, the mountains and the forest.
Today we have start with the songs of Blackbird , Cetti’s Warbler and Robin. Throughout the day they have been gotten up other species, the omnipresent Griffon Vulture (53 at 17:30 h.)in mountains, the fleeting step of Dipper it by the river and the acrobatics movements of the Firecrest in the trees.
Other species today:
Greater Tit
Common Chaffinch

Iberian Chiffchaff
Short-toed Treecreeper

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The White Raven

The rubbish dumps have become an inexhaustible food source for the birds, are many the species that take advantage of this type of resource.
By this, this type of places, so disagreeable many aspects, has become places where it is possible to be observed a number of species, not very elevated but abundant of unit.
Yesterday approximately about 50 Common Raven in the zone of the rubbish dump of Villarcayo, accompanied by 20 White Stork, five Egyptian Vultures and a number also elevated of Black Kite, only two Eurasian Jackdaw , groups of Red-billed Chough.
Most showy, the presence of an albino Common Raven, very showy the white plumage, only black the tip of bill and the first primaries, but of totally normal behavior. In flight, very showy.

In another near zone of territories of culture a group of about 30 Sand Martin, Whinchat,
Northern Wheatear, Corn Bunting.