Thursday, May 25, 2006


Finally got into dashboard and proper posting!!
But will have to wait til Friday to finish!! Out all day tomorrow.

Here we are.....
Well after yesterdays long but fab day..we went to El Hondo Information Centre (to see what was about but also to book to go onto the Reserve on another day)(New Birds)
Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Fantailed Warbler(everywhere!!), Collared Pratincoles,lovely Whiskered Terns,Shelduck, Reed Warbler,Stonechat,Short Toed Lark,Purple Heron,Grey Heron,House Martin,(Great Reed Warblers everwhere!!!)
Now I've got confused...I'll have to consult Bob...cant remember where we saw.....
Audouin's Gull
I know we then went to see if we could see Rollers, as Rose was with us for the day. We did and quite stunning views too!! A pair who they thought had probably just arrived from Africa.
Even I managed a record shot or two!!
Montague's Harrier put in an appearance which I saw!! As ever though I wanted better views!!

Went back to the apartment and we ate in tonight and watched TV!!
Chatted and were really shattered...from Wednesday....had a few drinks too.
We had arranged to meet Bob, Geoff decided to have a chilling day. I decided I wanted to go out later and as Rose was meeting Bob for a late Breakfast near to his local patch, Clot de Galvany it was agreed that Rose would pick me up about 11am and we'd meet Bob for an all day breakfast!!
We had noticed a lot of local police activity the day before...they seemed to be stopping Spanish cars and letting the hired cars through road blocks in the Gran Alicant area.
Rose has a little car there all the time...and yes we were stopped...checking Insurance!!
After a bit of a delay...boy you should see the paper work they want you to have with you...makes our system brill!!
Finally we met up with Bob fortunately he had no idea of the time as he had lost himself in the birding!!
After a real English Breakfast fullworks for Bob and Scrambled Eggs and Bacon for Rose and I ...Then we went to the coast road to see if we could find Rusus Bush Chat for Rose....and yes indeed still there!! But when we first arrived I heard this most extraordinary noise....and walked in its direction...afterwards I thought perhapsif I'd thought about it I would have run away...the most eerie and strange noise I'd ever heard!! Up flew this huge bird in the mid distance....a Stone Curlew making a collection of really loud noises!!Bob was behind me ever the gentleman helping Rose over very tricky tracks pits and holes...and he rushed up , but missed!!
That was it Stone Curlew top of agenda!! After giving up finally altho we heard its more usual cries and calls!! We returned to find Rose had seen her own Rufous Bush we saw some more!!It was a really lovely day...sun shining bright and Butterflies flying!!
Also seen Pied Wagtail and Linnet (as well as Sartdinian Warbler....) other birds too but I didn't write down everything seen today...mainly the new ones!!
Then Bob and I went birding!! I think Rose went to do some gardening?
To find Waders....Salinas and Playa-de-Pinet....very little about on Salinas...some Marbled Ducks..The usual Flamingoes...Yellow Legs ....Avocets and BW Stilts.. and a Yellow Wagtail and Cormorants. a small pond.....Curlew Sandpiper (some in full stunning breeding colours and boy did they shine!!), Little Stints and Sanderlings. Then a walk by the beach...Avocets, Common and Little Terns, Slender billed Gulls ( gull for me on this trip so far!!) BWS, lots of Kentish Plovers,back past Salinas and Redshank and Greenshank and Dunlin spotted along with more Marbled Ducks!!
and a Gull Billed tern!!!!We also looked at a salt museum area with a large reserve...over 40 Little Egrets!! and a recovering Greater Flamingo....apparently this is where they are rehabilitated after trauma, injury or illness.
more later....
I also had chance to see

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Espana Day 2

Wednesday 10th May

With thanks to Jules I'm posting his version here and then amending some bits.
Wednesday 10th May :- Today I was guiding Corinna, Bob, & Geoff who were staying around Gran Alicant on the outskirts of Santa Pola. John had asked if he could come along so we met the others at 9am and headed off with a specific 'targets' list to a nearby dwarf pine plantation. Almost immediately from getting out of the vehicle did I hear our first target and minutes later we were enjoying good views of a Rufous Bushchat.Lifer for me to be shown as (L). Over the next 30 minutes we logged 6 or 7 singing birds, hopefully a good sign for this scarce breeder. Next we called into the 'Clot de Galvany' and ended up staying there longer than expected due to the excellent birding. First we checked the lagoon finding Little Stints, Kentish & Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Black winged Stilts, Avocets, Whiskered Terns, Black headed & Yellow legged Gulls, Red Crested & Common Pochards, Shelducks, Coot, Great Reed Warblers, Little Owls, Southern Grey Shrikes, Crested Larks, Turtle Doves, Hoopoes, and Sardinian Warblers. The walk to the 'Charco de Contacto' produced a female Common Redstart, and on the pool there were a pair of (displaying) Marbled Ducks, 6 male & 2 female White headed Ducks, 2 Purple Gallinules, Shoveler, Little Grebes, 2 Carrion Crows(very unusual for this part of Spain- Geoff missed them but saw them later in the week) and 2 Red rumped Swallows. Our next destination was the vulture re-introduction scheme in the hills above Alcoy, and en-route we h times during the late night at the Finca.) Finally we left after an excellent meal to our final destination of Elche in the hope of finding our final target species. As dusk was falling we saw 2 Black Wheatears, and heard a Green Woodpecker, but then I picked up an adult Eagle Owl as flew out of it' roost and landed in full view. We watched it for about 10 minutes and while doing so heard Red necked Nightjar calling then the nightjar flew out and showed above the horizon in the falling light.(You guessed I missed this!) As we left the canyon we saw a second Red necked Nightjar fly up from the road in the vehicles headlights.(my first - a Lifer!!)


Friday, May 19, 2006

Birding Tales 1


Well after the incredibly busy last few months I really needed a holiday. The original plan had been shelved,but Bob a fellow Cllr and birder and his other half Rose have an apartment in Gran Alicante. Bob suggested that his birding buddy Geoff and I share a rented apartment near to where they are. Within a short space of time it was all arranged.
On Tuesday 9th May we met at Heatjrow and flew to Alicante.
Once there the adventure began.Over a glass of white wine I was seranaded by a beautiful male Serin,who landed on a wire over their garden! Spotless Starlings , H.Sparrows and Common and Pallid Swifts flew over. On our way to the lighthouse the first of many Southern Grey Shrikes were seen. On route we saw Collared Dove ,Woodpigeon and Hoopoe.Red rumped Swallows, a pair were dashing over the cliff edge as Thekla Larks caught our eyes.
Up the hill from our apartments is a lighthouse surrounded by scrub land and trees and is good for birding. Over the cliffs flew Yellow Legged Gulls and in the distance on the shoreline we spotted Little Egrets. Goldfinch and Greenfinches were evident as too were the sounds of Dartford Warbler.The latter proved elusive to me!Sardinian Warblers were first heard and then seen. I became quite blase about these by the end of our week having seen them everywhere!! A pair of Black Wheatears were seen on our return down the hillside, a good spot. As were Pied Wagtails and Spotted Flycatchers.
I did take my camera with me on most of the trips so will post some pix (once I know how to post them!!) after I have downloaded them.
So the first day.

Just been listening to Bruce Springsteen's latest album and watching the DVD. "We shall overcome" a tribute to Pete Seeger.
Took me back to College days and folk music...I really enjoyed some of the arrrangements....and I loved the fact that it was recorded live so they were making music. No rehearsals. Pure enjoyment from the musicians.I am in a good mood, great cos I'm off out to visit friends!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Another try!!

Just to see if this works or not!!

Election Blues!!!

Election blues!!!

Well, like many hard working Labour Cllrs up and down this country I have suffered an election loss. Wiped out!! Due to our Prime Minister who should have gone ages ago, and the government, plus ministers who ought to have resigned last week or been sacked. I ask you what good is it doing this today...after our hammering in the polls. Our voters were not unhappy at our performance, or the Council's performance they were just registering a protest to our govt. That's what they said to colleagues who went "knocking up".
The Leader of Crawley Council was interviewed at lunchtime on the radio.....very sensible...up and down this country are 254 (more now) hardworking and talented cllrs who through no fault of their own have lost their seats due to our government and the Blair factor (bad) plus the ministers who have let us down by their words, actions or lack of competence.
Iraq was bad....I reluctantly remained within the party as Blair refused to listen...I was with Robin Cooke and not just opposed the war but marched and argued against us starting the War without the backing of the UN, I felt lied to over "weapons of mass disappearance"because I was an elected Cllr.(having been a member since I was 16 some 35+ years ago (and long to see principles and practice of socialism within the party again.)....the non listening PM and his merry men in No 10 continue...the rarified bubble that is Westminster seems to pervade all that they do...get real...and down and dirty with the rest of us in the country....
yes a lot has been achieved by Labour in government and in our Councils....and there is a lot still to do but why shoot ourselves in the feet when there is so much more we could achieve.
Is it too late?
Why did Gordon not seek to take over before....will I forgive him his reluctance to stand up and be counted?
Will the shuffle be in vain...
in the name of God Blair go..GO!! will blow apart all the good your govt has achieved. I may not like your political colour but you could go down as the only Labour Leader to lead us to 3 victories in GE.not one that lead us to chaos and disaster...there will not be much left at this rate for Gordon or any other leader to lead!!
(Rant over!!)

Several things
...most people say I will now have more time to bird!!
I've been advised to move to Norfolk..(can I afford too?)
well I will see, lots of thinking to be done.
I need a part-time job.
I go to Espana on Tuesday with a fellow ex-Cllr who also got wiped out in another ward on our Council plus his better half and his birding pal of over 25 years....I think I'll be learning more about the finer points of Spanish/European birds!!
I think a week away is just what the Dr. ordered!!
I have a feeling that the painting and decorating that my lovely house requires will now be done by me.All those jobs that must be attended to will be listed rather than ignored and the garden will be sorted again....weeding a bit today!!

(Yesterday in a garden of our committee room we saw a Willow unusal guest along with the house sparrows...the RN parakeets flying over and seranaded by Robins, Blue and Great Tits and Blackbirds!!)
Tomorrow the play-offs....come on you Eagles!!!!