The continuing mild weather here is good news for resident birds and winter visitors.

The continuing mild weather here is good news for resident birds and winter visitors. See weather report.
Highlights this month include 150 Balearic Shearwaters, five Stone Curlews, 110 Mediterannean Gulls, a Razorbill and 38 Siskins.
For the first time in 15 years study no Southern Grey Shrike, Blue Rock Thush or Rock Buntings are wintering. No doubt staying on their breeding grounds.
Most of the wintering birds are in reduced numbers, with a few exceptions.
A summary of the months birds follows:-
150 Balearic Shearwaters flew south on the 23rd January.
One to three Northern Gannets were seen throughout the month.
101 Great Cormorants were seen this month, most flying past.
Herons and Egrets.
Only two Grey Herons were seen this month.
One to three Little Egrets were seen, either along the coast or at Torre pond.
Up to 12 Cattle Egrets were seen inland, either following sheep/goats or tractors.
Birds of Prey.
Only three species of bird of prey were seen this month.
There were two wintering Common Buzzards.
Single Northern Sparrowhawks were seen.
Up to five Common Kestrels were wintering, male and female´s holding separate

Wading Birds.
The two normal wintering wading birds were seen. Up to six Northern Lapwing and five Stone Curlew.
Gulls and Terns.
Of the five species of Gull seen this month, Mediterranean Gull was the most numereous with a max. of 110 seen on the 16th January.


The max. for the other species were 2 Black-headed Gulls, 24 Audoiun´s Gulls, 25 Yellow-legged Gulls and only 2 Lesser-black Back Gulls.
The only tern seen in winter here is the Sandwich Tern, maximum of 16 noted.
Razorbills and Auks.
The first Razorbill since the 6th December 2006 was seen on the 23rd January.
Pigeons and Doves.
Both Wood Pigeons (126 max.) and Collared Doves (70 max.) are surviving through winter in good numbers.
The only resident owl here is Little Owl, and it continues to struggle.
Only single birds seen or heard this month.
There were three records of Common Kingfisher this month. Two along the coast and one at the Torre pond.
Two species of Lark seen. Resident Crested Larks (max. 6 birds ) out numbered by wintering Skylarks (max. 58 birds).
Martins and Swallows.
The only wintering member of this group are Crag Martins, normally can reach over a hundred birds, this January max. 28 birds.
Although there are two Cetti´s Warbler wintering they were only heard twice.
One at the sewage pond and one at Capycorp lagoon.
Wintering Common Chiffchaff´s are well down in numbers with only a max. of 10 birds seen.
Resident Zitting Cisticola´s were surviving in good numbers with a max. of 7 seen.

Wintering Blackcap´s were also well down in numbers with a max. of 8 birds noted.
Single wintering Dartford Warblers were seen along the coastal scrubland.
Resident Sardinian Warbler´s were surviving in good numbers, max. 16 birds.
Robins and Chats.
Wintering Robin numbers were well down at 9 max. Last years max. was 22 birds.

Black Redstart numbers were near average at 22 birds max.
Common Stonechat winter numbers were also a bit down on previous years at 12 birds max. last two years 18/19 birds.
Wintering Song Thrush numbers were half of usual at 12 birds max.
Wagtails and Pipits.
Wintering Grey Wagtails, max. 2 birds were outnumbered by resident White Wagtails with 30 birds max.

Wintering Meadow Pipit numbers at 44 birds were average numbers.
Three species of Bunting were seen, none in big numbers. 6 Corn Buntings, 3 Cirl Buntings and 4 Reed Bunting, all well below normal numbers.



Six species of Finch were seen in January.
Wintering Common Chaffinch (max.47 birds), Siskin (max.38 birds) and Linnet (max.60 birds) were surviving in good numbers.
Resident Greenfinch (max.12 birds), Goldfinch (max.62 birds) and Linnet (max.20 birds) numbers were not being swelled by immigrant birds, and were lower.

siskin and serin
Both House and Tree Sparrows could be seen in flocks of up to a hundred birds in the rural farmlands.

Alcossebre Weather for January 2016.

January had above average temperatures and very little rain.

The first week in January saw more cloud than sunshine, but it was very mild with light/gentle winds.
The second week in January was mixed, with three fine/sunny days and four days with sunny/cloudy spells. A strong northerly wind blew for two days.
The third week in Janauary had mainly fine/sunny conditions.although a moderate/strong wind for the first two days dropped temperatures down.
The fourth week in January fell into a pattern of cloudy/misty mornings, clearing to fine and sunny afternoons. the winds were light throughout.
The last three days had more sunshine than cloud, with little or no wind.

The average day temperature was 17C (62F).
The average night temperature was 9C (48F).
The warmest day was 21c (70F) on the 7th and 31st.
The warmest night was 16C (60F) on the 11th.
The coldest day was 12C (53F) on the 17th.
The coldest night was 5C (41F) on the 6th.
The total rainfall was trace over four days.
Average rainfall for January is 3.8 inches.

Continuing mild weather means that winter birds stay on their home patch.

A number of wintering birds to Alcossebre are missing this winter due to the continuing mild weather e.g. Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Bunting.
That said there were 59 species seen this month.
There were first year records for Dunnock and Siskin.

Balearic Shearwaters were passing through at their highest numbers this year.

A list of the more note worthy species follows.
Balearic Shearwaters. A total of 3363 birds passed through this month.
With over a thousand birds on the 12th and 13th December, quite a sight!
One to three Northern Gannets were seen during the month.
A total of 434 Great Cormorants passed through, with with 83 birds on the 4th.
Up to eight birds could be seen daily on the local Moor´s rock.
There were 11 sightings of Grey Heron this month, with one bird frequenting Torre estate pond from the 15th to the 21st December.
There were the usual one or two Little Egrets seen along the coast this month.
Catlle Egrets peaked at 17 birds on the 3rd December in the local farmlands, most usually following the tractors as they ploughed the fields.
Only four species of bird of prey were seen this month.
Three Marsh Harriers passed through on the 2nd December, Ebro delta bound.
Single Northern Sparrowhawks were seen, mainly chasing the finch flocks.
Two Eurasian Buzzards were holding winter territories, most often seen on the electric pylons.

The commonest bird of prey were Common Kestrels, with up to five birds seen daily.

Northern Lapwing was the only species of wader seen, still in low numbers, with nine birds maximum.
Meditteranean Gulls (20 max.) outnumbered Black-headed Gulls (15 max) this month.

Both Audoiun´s Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls were in low numbers, mainly because they were not being able to roost on the beaches, with the mild weather encouraging people onto the same.
The same comment applies to the Sandwich Tern. With only 30 birds max. counted, normally December numbers are up to 200.
One Arctic Skua was seen chasing Sandwich Terns on the 3rd December.
Both Common Woodpigeon (max.87 birds) and Collared Doves (max.107 birds) were in above average numbers.
A single record of Little Owl was the poorest count in 15 years!

A single Common Kingfisher was seen at Torre pond on the 15th December,
was good, not normally seen in December.
Hoopoe´s were in good numbers, with up to nine birds seen daily.

A single Southern Grey Shrike was seen on the 21st December, low numbers for December.
27 Common Magpies were counted going into the juvenile camp roost site on the 13th December.
Resident Crested Larks (7 birds max.) were well outnumbered by wintering Common Skylark at a maximum of 155 birds the best total since 2007!
Crag Martins on the other hand were way below usual December numbers, with only 12 birds maximum seen.
Only there were two Cetti´s Warbler´s wintering they were keeping very quiet, usually their explosive call is heard regularly.
Wintering Common Chiffchaff (10 birds) and Blackcap (11 birds) numbers were well down on average December numbers.

Resident Zitting Cisticola´s (9 birds) and Sardinian Warbler (21 birds) numbers were good.
Only single wintering Dartford Warbler´s were seen in the coastal scrubland.
Although wintering Robin numbers were low – 9 birds, Black Redstart 21 birds, and Common Stonechat numbers 13, were average for December.
Apart from an influx of 22 birds on the 8th December, Song Thrush numbers were low, with an average of three birds seen daily.
The first Dunnock of the year appeared on the 10th December, and was still at the same place on the 26th.
The Wren that appeared at the sewage pond last month, has not been seen since.
The easiest place to see wintering Grey Wagtail was in my garden, with a regular bird chasing off the Sparrows!
Resident White Wagtails peaked at 19 birds on the 30th December.
Up to 40 Meadow Pipits were wintering in the rural farmlands.

As mentioned earlier, as yet there were no wintering Rock Buntings.
There were three Cirl Buntings, two Reed Buntings and up to eight Corn Buntings wintering, all low numbers

IMG_8670Finch numbers were on the increase with up to 60 Common Chaffinches, 16 Greenfinches, 120 Goldfinches, 50 Linnets and 40 Serin´s

Best of all was a wintering party of 30 Siskins, the best total since 2007!
Alcossebre Weather in December 2015.

A very dry month with mainly fine and sunny days.
On 10 days it started off with some cloud and mist, but it usually cleared away.
Only four and a half days were overcast.
We a little rain on three days, but well below the December average.

The average day temperature was 17C (62F).
The average night temperature was 10C (50F).
The highest day temperature was 21C (70F) on the 5th December.
The highest night temperature was 14C (57F) on the 20th December.
The coolest day temperature was 16C (60F) on the 12th/22nd/23rd and 25th.
The coolest night temperature was 7C (44F) on the 3rd December.

Total rainfall was 0.2 inches (8mm) over three days.
Winds were light to gentle throughout the month.

The Birdman of Alcossebre – November Bird News.

The mild weather continues so less winter birds..

64 species seen in the Alcossebre area in November.

Three species were first of the year records. Common Greenshank, Southern Grey Shrike and Woodlark.


Their were three first autumn records for Balearic Shearwaters, Hen Harrier and Reed Bunting.

Their were last records for Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler.

The list of species seen with comments follows:-
Balearic Shearwater. 72 flying south on the 21st, were the first this autumn.
Northern Gannet. Apart from the odd single bird seen, nine birds flying south on the 21st, were notable.
Great Cormorants were seen daily, up to six birds drying their wings on Moor´s Rock. The biggest flock seen flying south were 178 on the 6th November.
Grey Heron. Only a single bird seen this month, one flying east on the 17th.
In contrast, both Cattle Egrets and Little Egrets seen almost daily.
Three Little Egrets at the Torre pond on the 27th was the most seen this month.

A maximum of 57 Cattle Egrets were seen in the Rural farmland on the 17th .
Six birds of prey were seen this month.
A female Marsh Harrier flew south on the 9th November.
A Male Hen Harrier on the 3rd November, was the first this autumn.
Up to two Common Buzzards were wintering, then on the 17th three late birds passed through in company with two Booted Eagles!
Two Booted Eagles passed through on the 17th November in company with three Common Buzzards.
Single wintering Northern Sparrowhawks were seen throughout the month.
Up to four Common Kestrels were holding onto their winter territories.

The only place that Common Moorhens were to be seen was the Torre estate pond where a maximum of 10 were wintering.
One or two Stone Curlews were seen this month.
There were two sightings of Northern Lapwing seen this month, Two on the 4th, and 3 birds on the 30th.
A Common Greenshank at Capy Corp lagoon on the 4th November, was unexpected and turned out to be the first record this year!
Gull and Tern numbers continue to be on the low side. Mainly due to the mild weather disturbing the birds off the beaches and roosting places.
Maximum numbers were:- 27 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Audouin´s Gulls, 15 Yellow-legged Gulls, one Lesser Black-back Gull, and 22 Sandwich Terns.
Wood Pigeons were dodging the hunter´s bullets with up to 98 birds maximum.
Collared Dove numbers were also quite high with a max. of 83 birds seen.
Only single Little Owls were seen (or heard) this month.

There were two sightings of Common Kingfisher, one at the coast – Capycorb beach, and one at Torre estate pond.
Up to 12 Hoopoe´s were seen on a daily basis – good numbers for November.
The first Southern Grey Shrike of the year was seen in the Rural farmland on the 15th November.
A maximum of 11 resident Crested Larks were out numbered by wintering Common Skylark´s – max. 67 birds.
Five Woodlark´s on the 5th November were the first seen this year, they were gone by the next day.
Up to 20 wintering Crag Martin´s were seen in the rural farmlands, although up to 200 were seen coming into roost in apartments in Alcossebre town centre.
The last Barn Swallows passed through on the 5th November.
There were three or four wintering Cetti´s Warblers. one at Capycorp lagoon, one at Torre estate and up to two at the sewage pond.
The only Winter Wren was seen at at the sewage pond.
The last passage Willow Warbler was seen on the 9th November.
Meantime wintering Common Chiffchaffs were peaking at 31 birds on the 17th.
Up to seven resident Zitting Cisticolas were noted daily.

Wintering Blackcap numbers were still very low – max. 10 birds – mild weather?
One or two Dartford Warblers were wintering in the coastal scubland.
Resident Sardinian Warblers were surviving in good numbers – max. 18 birds.

Sardinian Warbler 1
Wintering Robins, Black Redstart and Stonechat peaked at 22, 27 and 12 birds.

Compare that with only two resident Common Blackbirds seen.
Wintering Song Thrush numbers were low, max. 8 birds, will colder weather bring in more?
One or two wintering Grey Wagtails were seen.
White Wagtails outnumbered them by a maximum 18 birds.
Wintering Meadow Pipits peaked at 29 birds on the 11th November.
Single Cirl Buntings were seen, and the first of winter Reed Bunting was seen on the 15th November.
Only two Corn Buntings was low numbers for November.
Finch numbers were also low for November. Common Chaffinch – 36 birds, Greenfinch – 8 birds, Goldfinch 50 birds, Linnet – 43 birds, Serin – 34 birds.
Alcossebre Weather in November, 2015.

After getting the months rainfall on the first two days, the rest of November was dry and sunny, with above average temperatures by day and night.

The average day temperature was 21C (70F).
The average night temperature was 13C (55F)
Highest day temperature was on the 20th at 27C (80F).
Highest night temperature was on the 2nd and 21st at 20C (68F)
The coldest day was 13C (55F) on the 23rd.
The coldest night was 8C (46F) on the 30th.

Total rainfall for the month was 3.3 inches (84 mm).
Over three days.
Heaviest rain fell on the 2nd with 2.5 inches (64 mm).

Goodbye summer birds, hello winter birds.

70 species were seen in the Alcossebre area this month.
No new species were added to the list.

Two species were new for the year, Peregrine Falcon and Wren.

14 species were the first seen this autumn. Eurasian Hobby, Black-crowned Night Heron, Stone Curlew, Skylark, Crag Martin, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Grey Wagtail and Chaffinch.


Species notes follow.
One or two Northern Gannets were seen off shore.
A total of 618 Great Cormorants passed through this month, with 250 birds flying south on the 20th October.
16 Grey Herons passed through this month, mainly single birds.
15 Little Egrets flew east over the sea on the 18th October, no doubt heading for the Ebro Delta.
Cattle Egrets were seen daily in the rural farmlands, with a peak of 76 birds on the 22nd October.

Five Black-crowned Night Herons flew out of the Torre estate on the 11th October, having probably roosted there overnight.
Six birds of prey were seen this month.
A Marsh Harrier flew east on the 8th October.
Single Northern Sparrowhawks were seen throughout the month.
One Common Buzzard had taken up a winter territory.

Up to four Common Kestrels were seen daily.
A Peregrine Falcon flying east on the 20th October was the first this year.
A Eurasian Hobby flew south on the 6th October.
Up to 12 Common Moorhens were seen at the Torre estate pond, the only place they are frequenting.
The first Stone Curlew was seen on the 22nd October in the rural farmland.
A single Northern Lapwing was seen on the 10th, and three birds on the 21st October, in the rural farmlands.
Only four Gull species seen this month, and all in low numbers. Maximum of 12 Black-headed Gulls, 18 Audouin´s Gulls, 24 Yellow-legged Gulls and single Lesser Black-back Gulls.
The only Tern species seen was Sandwich Tern – maximum of 30 birds seen
Two Stock Doves on the 6th October were only the second record this month.
Wood Pigeons peaked at 105 birds and Collared Doves peaked at 115 birds.

The last Turtle Dove was seen on the 2nd October.
One or two Little Owls were noted this month, still very low numbers.
Single Common Kingfisher´s were seen throughout the month, either at the Torre estate pond or at the coast.
Up to eight Hoopoe´s were seen daily.
A maximum of 23 Common Magpie´s were seen daily.
The first Skylark arrived on the 12th October and built up to 106 birds by the month, easily out numbering the resident Crested Larks at 14 birds maximum.
Five Crag Martin´s on the 11th were the first this autumn, and by the month end there were up to 120 birds roosting in Alcossebre town apartments.
A total of 688 Barn Swallow´s flew south up to the last on the 28th October.
Eight House Martin´s on the 4th October, were the last seen.
The last Sand Martin´s were three birds on the 10th October.
There were two Cetti´s Warbler holding winter territorie´s, one at Capycorp lagoon and one the sewage pond.
A Wren on the 18th October at the sewage pond was the first seen this year.
One to two passage Willow Warbler´s were seen up to the 29th October.
The first wintering Common Chiffchaff´s arrived on the 8th, and by the month end had peaked at eight birds.
Two passage Reed Warbler´s were seen at the sewage pond, on the 4th October.
Up to five resident Zitting Cisticola´s were seen daily.

A maximum of 10 wintering Blackcap´s were seen.
The first winter Dartford Warbler arrived on the 23rd October, joined by another on the 29th, both in the coastal scrubland.
The last passage Subalpine Warbler was seen on the 8th October.
Up to 12 resident Sardinian Warbler´s were seen daily.
The last passage Spotted Flycatcher was seen on the 7th October, and the last Pied Flycatcher on the 8th October.

The first wintering Robin was seen on the 9th October, and by the month end there were 17 birds.

The first wintering Black Redstart arrived on the 10th October, and by the month there were 20 birds.
The last passage Common Redstart was seen on the 10th October.
The last passage Northern Wheatear was seen on the 16th October.
The first wintering Common Stonechat was seen on the 2nd October, and by the month end there were 11 birds.

The first wintering Song Thrush arrived on the 8th October, numbers were low with only a maximum of 6 birds seen, very low numbers.
The last passage Blue-headed Wagtail was seen on the 6th October, the same date that the first wintering Grey Wagtail arrived.
The resident White Wagtail´s number´s were added to by passage birds with a peak of 14 birds on the 29th October.
Wintering Meadow Pipit´s peaked at 27 birds on the 26th October.
Corn Bunting numbers were low with only two birds seen in the rural farmland.
The first wintering Common Chaffinch arrived on the 13th October, but numbers were slow to build up, with only 13 birds noted.

Alcossebre Weather for October 2015.

October was a mixed and mild month.

There were only nine days with fine and sunny weather.
11 days were overcast, eight of them with rain.
The other 11 days were cloudy with sunny spells.

The average day temperature was 23C (73F).
The average night temperature was 16C (60F).
The warmest day was the 5th at 32C (89F).
The coldest day´s were the 13th,14th,20th and 26th at 20C (68F).
The warmest night was the 6th at 22C (73F).
The coldest night was the 16th at 10C (50F).

Total rainfall for the month was 2.4 inches (61mm), over 8 days.
The heaviest rain fell on the 14th with 1.4 inches (36mm).

A trickle of migrants, with some exceptions.

66 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in September 2015.
No new species were added to the list, which remains at 226 species.

I had the company of Gordon Cox from Middlesex on the 19th September and Derek and Barbara Plummer from Northampton on the 20th September.

There were first of the year records for Shag, Northern Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Arctic Skua, Wryneck and Greater Whitethroat.


There were first autumn records for Purple Heron, Osprey, Black Kite, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Buzzard, Sand Martin, Cetti´s Warbler, Blackcap, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Blue-headed Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

A list of species with comments follows:-
Great Cormorant. With the tourist season ending, one to four Cormorants were roosting on the Moor´s Rock again. Apart from that a total of 51 birds passed through.
A Shag fishing off Capycorp lagoon on the 9th September, was the first seen this year.
Herons and Egrets. One to two Grey Herons passed through this month, and one Purple Heron.
Apart from the odd Little Egret fishing at Torre de Capycorp pond there were two passage flocks, on the 6th and 16th, total of 16 birds.
Cattle Egret numbers in the Rural farmland were at the highest in 14 years, with a maximum of 63 birds seen on the 26th September.

Birds of Prey. It was a disappointing month in terms of numbers for passage birds of prey.
A single Osprey flew along the coast on the 12th September.
A single Black Kite flew south on the 13th.
There was only one record of Short-toed Eagle , normally there are half a dozen records in September.
There were first autumn records for Eurasian Marsh Harrier and Eurasian Buzzard on the 27th September.
A Hobby seen on the 20th September was the first record this year.
At least the resident Eurasian Kestrel was in good numbers with up to six birds seen daily.


The only species of wader seen this month was Northern Lapwing, with one bird seen on the 26th and four birds on the 29th September.
Sandwich Tern numbers were at there lowest in September since 2005. With only a maximum of 14 birds seen.
An Arctic Skua chasing Sandwich Terns on the 3rd September was the first this year.
Wood Pigeon (90 Birds) and Collared Dove´s (85 birds) numbers were continuing at a high level .
After a successful breeding season European Turtle Dove´s were seen in their highest September numbers, with up to 13 birds counted.

Little Owl numbers were still very low with only one to two birds seen.
The last Common Swift´s were seen flying south on the 17th, and the last Pallid Swift´s on the 25th September.
Single Common Kingfisher´s were seen at Torre de Capycorp pond and Capycorp lagoon.
There were four passage flocks of Eurasian Bee eaters totalling 134 birds, the last on the 20th September.
A maximum of five resident Hoopoe´s were seen this month.

A Wryneck seen briefly in the Rural farmlands on the 27th September, was the first since 19th February, 2009!
The last juvenile Woodchat Shrike was seen on the 11th September.
The last Golden Oriole was seen on the 10th September.
September is the peak month for passage Swallows and Martins here.
The month totals were 63 Sand Martins, 1020 House Martins, 3900 Barn Swallows and 85 Red-rumped Swallows. This was the highest number of the latter recorded to date.

The first Cetti´s Warbler of autumn arrived at Capycorp lagoon on the 16th September.
It was the best September for Willow Warbler passage since 2010, with up to 11 birds seen daily.
The last summering Melodious Warbler was seen on the 21st September.
Up tp seven resident Zitting Cisticola´s were counted.
The first Blackcap of autumn was seen on the 14th September.

A Greater Whitethroat on the 1st September, was the first record this year.
There was a good passage of Subalpine Warbler´s, with up to five birds daily. Mainly juvenile or female birds.
The last summering Common Nightingale was seen at the sewage pond on the 10th September.
16 Spotted Flycatcher´s and 36 Pied Flycatcher´s passed through this month
The first Common Redstart and Whinchat of autumn turned up on the 17th September.

Only five Northern Wheatear´s passed through this month, quite low numbers.
The first passage Blue-headed Wagtails appeared in the rural farmland on the 28th September – seven birds.

A Meadow Pipit on the 21st , was only the second September record.


Alcossebre Weather in September 2015.
September is usually a mixed month for weather here, and this year was no exception.
The first two weeks were a mixture of sunshine and showers, with some heavy rain thrown in.
There was a dry spell from the 13th to the 26th September.
We had several days of thunderstroms with torrential rain from the 27th to the end of the month.
The average day temperature was 27C (80F).
The average night temperature was 19C (66F).
The highest day temperature was 33C (91F) on the 16th September.
The lowest day temperature was 20C (68F) on the 29th September.
The highest night temperature was 23C (73F) on the 4th and 17th September.
The lowest night temperature was 15C (59F) on the 25th and 29th September.
Total rainfall for the month was 5 inches (128mm) over 10 days.
Heavist rainfall was on the 28th with over 2 inches of rain.
Winds were mainly from the north east in the morning and east or south east in the afternoon. Wind strengths were mainly light or gentle over 20 days, and moderate to strong over 10 days.

More autumn migrants arrive.

55 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in August 2015.
The star bird of the month was a Grey Plover on the 19th August, only the second record here in 15 years!

There were first of the year records for Red-backed Shrike and Black-eared Wheatear.

juv red backed shrike
There were first of the autumn records for Willow Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear and Common Starling.

The months list of birds were as follows :-

Three sightings of Greater Flamingos. eight flew east on the 12th, one flew east on the 24th , unsually inland, 18 birds flew south- west on the 29th.
Very few Great Cormorants seen – one on the 13th and three south-west on the 21st.
There were two flocks of Grey Herons through, 14 birds south west on the 15th,
and 18 birds south west on the 24th August.
Three species of Egret seen this month.
One Great Egret flew east over the sea on the 2nd August.
One or two Little Egrets were seen at Torre pond on and off all month, and four flew east on the 19th August.
Cattle Egrets were seen most days in the rural farmlands – max. 26 birds.
34 birds flew south west over the sea on the 24th August.
A Squacco Heron was at Torre pond from the 5th to the 9th August.

squacco heron 0408064#001
One or two Short-toed Eagles were seen on electric pylons during the month.
Up to three local Common Kestrels noted. No migrants yet.
One to two Common Moorhens seen at Torre pond.
The bird of the month was a Grey Plover that arrived in the rural farmlands on the 19th August – only the second record here in 15 years!
The only other wader was a Little Ringed Plover on the 9th August at Capycorb
Gull numbers were very low this month, which isn´t surprising given the number of people on the beaches/coast, so no place to rest and preen.
Most Black-headed Gulls were passage birds. A total of 42 birds passed through this month.
The most Audouin´s Gulls seen were 13 birds on the 3rd August.
The only other gull seen this month was Yellow-legged Gull with a max. of five birds on the 30th August.
Sandwich Tern numbers were well down for the same reasons as the gulls.
A maximum of seven birds seen on the 5th August.
If ever there was an illustration of the impact of hunting/shooting on birds it´s the data for Wood Pigeon this month. The shooting season begins on the 14th August. Up to then Wood Pigeon numbers were averaging 30 birds per day,
since then the daily average is two birds!

It´s strange, but they don´t seem to target Collared Doves to the same extent.
Up to 54 birds were seen throughout the month.
Up to three Turtle Doves were seen throughout the month low numbers for this species. Another species shot here.
Only one species of owl seen, the resident Little Owl, one or two seen sporadically.
The last big Swift movement was seen on the 9th August, when 480 birds, a mix of Pallid and Common Swifts, flew north west ahead of thunderstorm.
A Common Kingfisher at Torre pond on the 30th and 31st August, was the first since the 12th January !
After the local bred Bee eaters had moved on there was an almost daily passage of other birds. By the end of the month a total 224 birds had past through.
Hoopoe´s peaked at 16 birds on the 27th August, the best total since 2007.

A juvenile Red-backed Shrike on the 21st August was the first record this year.
In contrast up to three juvenile Woodchat Shrikes were seen throughout the month.

Golden Orioles continue to exceed expections, up to 12 birds seen this month.
Photo opportunities still very difficult.
Barn Swallow numbers continue to build up with local birds added in numbers by passage birds. maximum count was 80 birds on the 30th.
Red-rumped Swallows joined the Barn Swallows form time to time with a mximum of six birds noted.
Like the Barn Swallows House Martin numbers increased throughout the month, peaking at 56 birds on the 31st August.
The first Willow Warbler of autumn turned up on the 23rd August.
Single Melodious Warblers were seen throughout the month.
The first Subalpine Warbler arrived on the 21st August.
Up to five Spotted Flycatchers were seen during the month, good numbers.

The first Pied Flycatcher of autumn arrived on the 27th August.
Single Common Nightingales were seen throughout the month.
The first Northern Wheatear of autumn arrived on the 26th August.
A Black-eared Wheatear was the first this year on the 24th August.

Finch numbers were low this month. 23 Greenfinches, 8 Goldfinch, 5 Linnets and 10 Serin.
Alcossebre weather for August 2015.

The August weather in Alcossebre was normal day and night temperatures, but some thunderstorms at the beginning and end of the month gave us higher than usual rainfall.

Average day temperature was 30C (86F).
Average night temperature was 22C (72F).
Highest day temperature was 35C (95F) on the 23rd.
Lowest day temperature was 26C (78F) on the 18th.
Highest night temperature was 27C (80F) on the 8th.
Lowest night temperature was 18C (64F) on the 16th.

Total rainfall was 4.7 inches (13mm) over days.
Heaviest rainfall was on the 1st with 4 inches (102 mm)
Average rainfall for August is 2.3 inches.

Winds were mainly light and gentle. With moderate to strong winds on 11 days.

A new breeding species and autumn migration begins.

52 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in July 2015.
No new species were added to the list.
Highlight of the month was a new breeding record – a pair of Little Ringed Plovers were seen with a chick at Capycorp lagoon.

little ringed plovers 100408

There were first of the year records for Glossy Ibis, Whimbrel and Dunlin, and first July record for Whiskered Terns.

I had the company of Barbara and Derek Plummer from Northampton on the
3rd and 7th July.

There was only one record each of Northern Gannet and Great Cormorant.
A total of 15 Grey Herons passed through this month, maximum five birds of the 30th July.
Only single Little Egrets were seen, and one record of Cattle Egret – 4 birds on the 1st.

The first Glossy Ibis of the year flew east inland on the 12th July, thereafter flocks of 24, 40, 20 and 5 birds passed through.
The most recorded in one month here.
There was only two records of Short-toed Eagle this month a single on the 15th, and a pair seen by Paul Harvey on the 13th July.
Common Kestrels after their successful breeding season were showing in good numbers with up to seven birds seen daily.
A juvenile Eleonora´s Falcon turned up on a local pylon, no doubt from the Columbrettes Islands, the nearest breeding place. It stayed long enough for me to photograph it.

The big news of the month was the Little Ringed Plovers breeding at Capycorp lagoon, a first for Alcossebre. Unfortunately because of the disturbance by holidaymakers neither the adults of chick were seen after the 14th July.
Single Common Sandpipers were seen on the 7th and 27th July, the first this autumn.
A Whimbrel on the 7th July was the first this year, followed by another on the 24th July.
Five Dunlin disturbed from Capycorp lagoon on the 31st July, were the first this year, and only my second record here.
Gull numbers were very low due to disturbance by tourists up and down the beaches. Most Black-headed Gulls seen were passage birds – a total of 71 birds for the month.
There were only two records of Mediterranean Gulls, one east on the 11th, and one at Capycorp lagoon 17th July.
10 Audouin´s Gulls were the most seen this month.
12 Yellow-legged Gulls seen on the 3rd July was the peak number this month.
Three Whiskered Terns flying east inland on the 2nd July were a first record for July.
Although Sandwich Terns were seen daily the most seen were 23 birds on the 15th July.
A family part of two adults and three juveniles Turtle Doves on the 22nd July confirmed breeding this year.
The last juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo was seen on the 5th July, and by now most of the species will be on their way to central Africa.

great spotted cuckoo 040308
Little Owl numbers continue to be very low, with only one or two birds seen intermittently throughout the month.

Single Red-necked Nightjars were seen at dusk most nights, harder to detect now that they have stopped churring.
Common and Pallid Swifts peaked in numbers during the thunderstorms we had at the end of the month. Hundreds flying to avoid the torrential rain.
Six Bee eaters were the maximum seen up to 17th July – local breeding birds. Thereafter small flocks passed the through. The biggest flock I saw was 25 birds, but an e mail from Paul Harvey recounts that he saw a flock in excess of 150 birds soaring above Marcolina!
After their successful breeding season Hoopoes obviously dispersed elsewhere because the most I saw was four birds.

hoopoe 070606
The first juvenile Woodchat Shrike showed up on the 17th July, with an adult seen on the 24th July.

woodchat shrike juv 040807 copy
July is one of the best months to see Golden Oriole here, why? well the young males gather together to perfect their whistles. So if you don’t hear them you need a hearing aid!
Common Magpies continue to thrive, with up to 18 birds seen daily.
Crested Larks numbers are well down in numbers with five birds the most seen.
Barn Swallows and House Martin numbers are building up, with local birds being supplemented by birds from elsewhere.
Red-rumped Swallows bred somewhere in the area, as I saw a family party of two adults and five juveniles on the 13th July, and daily thereafter.

Only three species of warbler was seen this month, the resident Zitting Cisticola and Sardinian Warbler, and the summer visitor Melodious Warbler.

Two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers showed off their young this month.
A pair seen with young Tropicana camp site and Torre De Capycorp estate.

Alcossebre Weather in July 2015

After a hot and dry month with temperatures above the average by day and night ,we were heading for record low rainfall.
That was until the last two days of the month when we were struck by three successive thunderstorms, which ended up giving us record high rainfall!
A total of 11.2 inches fell over the two days.
The July average rainfall here is only 0.9 inches!

The average day temperature was 32C (89F).
The highest day temperature was 36C (96F) on the 7th and the 24th.
The lowest day temperature was 29C (84F) on the 30th.
The average night temperature was 24C (75F).
The highest night temperature was 27C (80F) on the 30th.
The lowest night temperature was 22C (72F) on the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 10th.
Total rainfall was 11.2 inches ( 284 mm) over two days.
Last Julys total was 0.4 inches (13mm)!

With migration all but finished time to look at the breeding birds.

53 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in June 2015.

No new species were added to the Alcossebre list this month.

There were some interesting arrivals and passage birds, mainly post breeding movements.

Three Common Shelduck flew east over the sea on the 11th June, only my second June record here. Six juvenile Northern Gannets were seen fishing offshore on the 14th June, a good number for June. Two Black-crowned Night Herons flew east over the sea on the 16th June. The only sighting this month of Short-toed Eagle was one bird on a distant pylon on the 26th June. There was also only one sighting of Eleonora´s Falcon this month, a bird flew in from the sea and headed north on the 19th June. Only two species of wading bird was seen the month. Three Kentish Plovers on the 24th June, and two Little Ringed Plovers on the 4th June, both seen at Capycorp lagoon. Seven Whiskered Terns flew east inland on the 11th June. A late passage Reed Warbler was seen at Capycorp lagoon on the 16th June.

The list of breeding birds in Alcossebre is small (29 species) but an interesting mixture.

Common Kestrels have had their best breeding season in 14 years. four pairs held territory, and two pairs had four young – one brood at the Capycorp apartments.


With the sewage pond dried up there was only one place that Common Moorhens bred this year Torre estate pond. Only one pair bred.

Common Woodpigeon had a good season with at least 12 pairs breeding.


Collared Dove numbers continue to increase with a minimum of 20 pairs breeding.

It’s always more difficult to estimate Turtle Dove numbers, but two pairs remained after the spring passage.

Common Magpie’s raised three Great Spotted Cuckoo’s this year, a good year for that species. As usual the adult Cuckoo’s have left already, leaving the young Cuckoos to find their own way to Africa!

Little Owl breeding numbers continue to decline, from a peak of ten pairs in 2005, to only one or two pairs now.


One pair of Scops Owl held territory – at the sewage works, but so far no sign of any young.

Red-necked Nightjar numbers seem to be normal, with two or three male birds calling in different places. Another hard species to monitor.

Two pairs of Bee eater are nesting in different dry river beds. Like the Nightjars normal breeding numbers, but a lot easier to monitor.

Hoopoe breeding numbers have declined by about a third. This year about six to eight pairs are holding territory.


Woodchat Shrikes do not breed every year, but one pair have stayed on after the spring migration – no sign of young yet.


Golden Oriole breeding numbers have remained steady for the last eight years with seven to nine pairs nesting.

Common Magpie numbers have dropped this year, manly due to some hunters and farmers trapping them. So instead of 10 to 15 pairs breeding there are only six to eight pairs.



Crested Lark breeding numbers have also fallen, from a peak of 22 pairs in 2007 to only five or six pairs this year. A change in farming practice with different crops seem to be to blame. I.E. Artichoke fields are their favoured breeding area, but there are less field being planted now.

After a very poor spring passage I thought that Barn Swallows would be struggling to keep up breeding numbers, but they seem to be at normal breeding levels. With some 20 plus pairs nesting. A good number have fledged already.

Only one pair of Red-rumped Swallows seem to nesting, down from three pairs last year. However that is still good considering that they only started nesting here in 2011.



House Martin breeding numbers are at there lowest for 14 years with only three pairs nesting. After a boom in breeding numbers (five to seven pairs) from 2008 to 2012, Great Tit numbers have returned to pre 2008 I.E. three or four pairs.

Melodious Warbler numbers are at their lowest in 14 years with only one pair nesting. This compares to seven to nine pairs from 2007 to 2011!



Zitting Cisticola´s numbers have fallen year by year, this year three or four pairs, compared to a peak of nine pairs in 2008. The cause of the decline is more apparent than the Melodious Warbler. The Cisticlola.s preferred nesting areas – grassland, are gradually being returned to farmland.

Sardinian Warbler breeding numbers are near normal, with some seven to nine pairs nesting. They nest in a wider variety of habitat from the other more specialised birds.


Two pairs of Spotted Flycatcher are nesting, again like the sardinian warblers, normal breeding numbers.

Another species struggling in breeding numbers this year is the Common Nightingale. Only two pairs holding territory. There have been up to seven pairs nesting in previous years.

Common Blackbird breeding numbers are normal – for here – with three or four pairs nesting.


The only Bunting nesting this year is Corn Bunting with one or two pairs in the rural farmlands. A normal level.

Both House and Tree Sparrows continue to nest in good numbers. For the second year in a row I still have two pairs of Tree Sparrows nesting in the metal pipes on my conservatory!


Alcossebre Weather in June 2015.

A hotter than usual June which triggered a few thunderstorms, bringing much more rain than normal. Average day temperature was 29C 84F. Average night temperature was 19C 66F Highest day temperature was 34C 93F on the 26th and 30th June. Highest night temperature was 24C 75F on the 11th June. Lowest day temperature was 25C 77F on the 16th and 17th June. Lowest night temperature was 15C 59F on the 5th June. Total rainfall was 5.6 inches 140mm over four days . The heaviest rainfall was on the 15th June with 4 inches (102mm) of rain. Average rainfall for June here is 1.8 inches.

Migration slows down to a trickle, but still some interesting birds.

62 species were seen in the Alcossebre in May 2015. No new species were added to the Alcossebre list. There were first spring records for the following species.:- European Honey Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon, Whiskered Tern, Melodious Warbler, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, Bird of the month was Red-footed Falcon with two birds turning up within days of each other. Previous to this there was only two records in 14 years. IMG_6376 Turtle Doves reached a record high in numbers with 51 birds counted on the 1st May. IMG_7776 Also on the 1st May a female Common Redstart, and three Blue-headed Wagtails were new arrivals. IMG_4624 The only migrant on the 2nd May was a Northern Wheatear. IMG_4345   On the 3rd May two Red-rumped Swallows flew east along the coast, and the first Melodious Warbler of spring arrived. IMG_6228   The 5th May provided three overnight arrivals, one Woodchat Shrike, a new Melodious Warbler and two Pied Flycatchers. A singing Cirl Bunting on the 7th May was the first since the 9th March, it remains to be seen if it stays to breed? IMG_7918   A bit more activity on the 8th May. Two Cattle Egrets flew east over the sea. Overnight arrivals included one Common Sandpiper, one Woodchat Shrike, two Whinchats and one Melodious Warbler. IMG_5599   Two new arrivals on the 9th May, two Pied Flycatchers and 14 Blue-headed Wagtails.



The only migrant on the 11th May was a new Melodious Warbler. I had the company of Robin Saxby on my walk this morning, when two Great Spotted Cuckoo’s provided some excellent photo opportunities A Spotted Flycatcher on the 13th May was a first record this spring.



Some movements on the 16th May. Single Marsh Harrier and Booted Eagle flew east. Two new Spotted Flycatchers arrived.

Three Spotted Flycatchers and one Whinchat were new arrivals on the 17th May. The only new bird on the 18th May was one Northern Wheatear.

A good bit of activity on the 20th May. Only the third record of Red-footed Falcon – one flew in off the sea. A big feeding movement of Pallid and Common Swifts with at least 3000 birds counted!

Overnight arrivals included two Woodchat Shrikes, two Spotted Flycatchers, one Reed Warbler and one Whinchat.



The 21st May saw the first Honey Buzzard of spring, also on the move was two Little Egrets and a Marsh Harrier. Overnight arrivals included one Common Sandpiper and two Woodchat Shrikes.



The 22nd May saw yet another Red-footed Falcon arrive – this one flew NE along the coast. Overnight arrivals included the first Garden Warbler of spring, and two more Spotted Flycatchers.

Two late Barn Swallows and two Sand Martins flew NE on the 23rd May, new arrivals were two Melodious Warblers and four Spotted Flycatchers.

12 Greater Flamingo´s flew east over the sea on the 25th May.

Things were quiet until the 30th May. A Great Egret and the first Whiskered Tern of spring flew east . A late Pied Flycatcher was a new arrival.



The first Northern Gannet of the month, and a new Woodchat Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher appeared on the 31st May.

Alcossebre weather in May 2015.

May was a dry and sunny month.

The average rainfall for May is 3.5 inches, this year we had one inch of rain. Average day and night temperatures were 3C above the day and 1C above the night.

The average day temperature was 27C (80F).

Highest day temperature was 30C (86F) on the 8th, 14th and 27th.

Lowest day temperature was 21C (70F) on the 19th.

The average night temperature was 16C (60F).

Highest night temperature was 20C (68F) on the 4th.

Lowest night temperature was 13C (55F) on the 20th.

Total rainfall was 1 inch 25mm. Over two days.











A strange spring, with some birds in record low numbers and some birds in record high numbers!

This has been a strange spring with some birds in record high numbers and some in record low numbers – for example, Barn Swallow and House Martin are at a record low, while Turtle Doves and Alpine Swifts are at a record high!

78 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in April 2015, and although no new species were added to the list, there were plenty of interesting birds to be seen.

There were firsts of the year for :- Greater Flamingo, Spoonbill, Kentish Plover, Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper.

and firsts of spring for :- Common Quail, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Short-toed Eagle, Black-winged Stilt, Caspian Tern, Turtle Dove, Red-necked Nightjar, Scops Owl, Common Swift, Bee eater, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Red-rumped Swallow, Wood Warbler, Reed Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear and Whinchat.

Nearly every day in April brought something of interest.
1st April. First Scops Owl of spring. Five Marsh Harriers east and three Stock Doves north west ( only the second record here).

2nd April. One Grey Heron and seven Barn Swallows east and a new Subalpine Warbler.

3rd April. First Common Quail and Northern Wheatear of spring. One Purple Heron and one Marsh Harrier east.

4th April. 20 Black-winged Stilts and three Caspian Terns east were first for spring. One Common Redstart was new.

5th April. Male Pied Flycatcher was a first for spring. Other overnight arrivals were 13 Willow Warblers, three Subalpine Warblers and four Blue-headed Wagtails. Passage birds- one Purple Heron, one Marsh Harrier, three Pallid Swifts and 16 Barn Swallows.

6th April. First Woodchat Shrike of spring. 14 Great Cormorants and two Sand Martins east.

7th April. Two Red-rumped Swallows were the first this spring. One Marsh Harrier and 10 Pallid Swifts flew east. Overnight arrivals – two Northern Wheatears and two Sublalpine Warblers.

9th April. 15 Great Egrets east over the sea, and the first Whinchat of spring.

10th April. Six Cattle Egrets, two Marsh Harriers, 44 Barn Swallows and nine House Martins all east.

11th April. 18 Greater Flamingos east were the first this year. Four Marsh Harriers and 15 Barn Swallows east. Overnight arrivals – one Green Sandpiper (also a year first), three Northern Wheatears, one Whinchat, one Nightingale and four Willow Warblers.

12th April. One Spoonbill east over the sea was a first of the year. One Short-toed Eagle was a first of spring. One Marsh Harrier, 20 Barn Swallows, eight House Martins and two Sand Martins all east.

13th April. Five Common Swifts were a first of spring. Other passage birds – 11 Great Cormorants and four House Martins. Overnight arrivals – two Woodchat Shrikes and one Whinchat.

14th April. One Bee eater east and one Black-crowned Night Heron were the first this spring. One new Nightingale arrived.

15th April. 28 Great Cormorants east was the only passage.

16th April. Three Bee eaters, 13 Barn Swallows and seven House Martins east. Overnight arrivals of two Woodchat Shrikes and two Northern Wheatears.

17th April. A Common Sandpiper was a first this year, one Turtle Dove was a first this spring. Other passage birds – three Squacco Herons, one Red-rumped Swallow, one Northern Wheatear, one Whinchat and one Pied Flycatcher.

18th April. A Wood Warbler was a spring first. Passage birds – seven Turtle Doves, three Bee eaters, and 30 Common Swifts,

19th April. Passage birds – three Northern Gannets, 42 Pallid Swifts, 4 Common Swifts, 42 Barn Swallows, one Red-rumped Swallow, 6 Sand Martins, two House Martins. Overnight arrivals – one Northern Wheatear and two Willow Warblers.

21st April. One Little Egret east.

22nd April. Five Black-headed Gulls south west. Overnight arrivals – three Red-rumped Swallows, one Woodchat Shrike, one Pied Flycatcher and one Willow Warbler.

23rd April. 26 Greater Flamingos, eight Great Cormorants, and one Marsh Harrier east. Overnight arrivals one Woodchat Shrike and 12 Northern Wheatears.

24th April. A Kentish Plover was a first this year. Two Golden Orioles were a first this spring. Three Black-winged Stilts flew east.

25th April. One Squacco Heron and one Red-rumped Swallow flew east.

26th April. The first Red-necked Nightjar of spring. Overnight arrivals of eight Turtle Doves, one Nightingale and one Common Redstart.

29th April. The first of spring Reed Warbler at the sewage pond.
Turtle Dove numbers had increased to 27 birds.

30th April. Turtle Dove numbers inceased to a 13 year high of 44 birds!

Alcossebre Weather in April 2014.
This was the driest April in 20 years here.
The total rainfall for the month was 0.1 inch – the average for April is 4.2 inches.

The average day temperature was 23C (76F) – 2 C above the average.
The average night temperature was 12C (53F) – 1 C above the average.

The highest day temperature was 28C (82F) on the 27th April.
The coldest day temperature was 17C (62F) on the 11th April.

The highest night temperature was 18C (64F) on the 26th April.
The coldest night temperature was 9C (48F) on the 2nd,3rd,7th and 9th April.