Sunday, 25 July 2010

Day 7 – Thursday 3rdJune – Playa de los Lances – Barbate saltpans – Trafalgar – Los Navarros-Cantarranas Area - Embalse de Barbate

With JC promising to behave, we decided on another trip to Playa de los Lances partly in hope of a Audouin’s Gull and partly in hope of a rare tern. Fortunately, being there earlier in the day and on a weekday too meant there was minimal disturbance. As hoped, three Audouin’s Gull were quickly spotted amongst the 30+ Sandwich Tern, but the only other tern species present were a couple of Common Tern. However, we did add a new species to the list – a rather dark Lesser Black-backed Gull (although a ‘probable’ Great Black-backed Gull was also seen it was decided not to add it to the official tally). Having seen, very distantly, a flock of dark birds (possibly ibis) over the Sierra Retin on Sunday, we decided to search the coast road south of Barbate for Bald Ibis. Unfortunately, none were present (nor were they on the nearby golf course when we checked it). With the water quite high, Barbate marsh proved another disappointment although excellent views were had of a group of three Spoonbill and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers.

With only a single poorly seen Cory’s Shearwater on our list, our next objective was to obtain better views of this handsome seabird. Accordingly, we headed further along the coast to Cabo de Trafalgar. Here a seawatch was pleasingly productive - 68 Cory’s Shearwater, 11 Balearic Shearwaters and 160+ Gannet. Unfortunately, only JC got on to a whale whose huge tail briefly showed above the waves before plunging vertically downwards – research suggests that it was probably a Sperm Whale!

The drive across country to the farmlands near Cantarranas (via the Conil-Los Naveros track) proved fairly uneventful – although a couple Magpies caused unwarranted excitement! Corvids aside, we also had a few Calandra Lark, a Short-toed Eagle, Montagu’s and Marsh Harriers. It was then time to try a further visit to the back of the Embalse de Barbate in the faint hope of picking up the last of the main target birds – Spanish Imperial Eagle (not to mention Cormorant which TL had missed earlier). However, raptors were again few in number so we had to be content with a fine Woodchat Shrike and a Tawny Pipit.

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