Friday, 7 March 2008

Alcala in February

OK, so it's the driest winter in Spain since nobody knows when and we manage to go out for a week in February when it rained every day! Even so it was good to get out from England for a week.

Amongst the wintering species was a small balbo of Crane on La Janda and a penduline Tit at Laguna de Medina. The latter site also had a 100+ White-headed Duck, a few dozen Black-necked Grebe, a single Flamingo and a pair of Garganey. Although it was only mid-month, there were still a good few migrants arriving although it's a moot point how many were migrants and how many had overintered. Amongst the migrants were groups of Black Kite - flocks of up to 30-40 - drifting in from Africa. Arguably the odd Booted Eagle may have wintered, but a brace of Short-toed Eagles and a single Egyptian Vulture at Bolonia were certainly migrants judging by the way they were heading north. At least some of Swallows must have wintered and maybe the single Red-rumped Swallow did so, but the flocks of House Martins that appeared at the end of the week looked to be newly arrived. As always, the highlight were the Lesser Kestrels over the house. It's hard to be sure, but there were at least 30 over the terrace and, by my rough rule of thumb, that means 60 odd over the village. It doesn't matter how many times I see them, the Lesser Kestrels are a source of endless fascination. They were also remarkably tame. Hopefully both the birds and the weather will be better when we go out again in April.