At last Peregrine Falcon makes it on the Alcossebre list.

61 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in November 2014.

Peregrine Falcon finally made it on to the Alcossebre list – a fine male flying along the coast on the 29th November.
That gives a total of 226 species seen here in the 13 years of study.

Of the 61 species seen this month 12 species show an increase in numbers compared to the 13 year average.
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Sandwich Tern, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Black Redstart, Common Stonechat, Cetti´s warbler, Common Magpie, Goldfinch and Corn Bunting.
On the downside 29 species show a marked decrease.
Little Egret, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Northern Lapwing, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Hoopoe, Skylark, Crag Martin, White wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Common Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Serin, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting and Reed Bunting.
One of the main factors influencing this decrease is the continuing mild weather, with less species forced away from their breeding areas. It will be interesting to see if December brings an influx of birds, driven here by colder weather?
Balearic Shearwaters appeared for the first time since January, on the 15th November, and built up to a maximum of 110 birds.
A total of 596 Great Cormorants passed through this month.
Cattle Egrets peaked at 50 birds this month.
As well as the Peregrine Falcon mentioned above, four other birds of prey were seen. Single Northern Sparrowhawks, Booted Eagle and Common Buzzard. Up to four Common Kestrels held winter territories.


Only two species of wader were seen. Two Northern Lapwing on the 11th, and a single Whimbrel frequenting the rocky coastline from the 22nd to the 27th.
Five species of gull were seen this month. Three species already mentioned are well down in numbers – Mediterranean Gulls (3 birds), Black-headed Gulls (8 birds) and Lesser Black-back Gulls (5 birds). Again the milder weather affects these birds. More people walking along the coast, disturbing the gulls from their coastal roosts.
Both Audouin´s Gulls (80 birds) and Yellow-legged Gulls (70 birds) seem to cope better with this type of disturbance.
The only winter tern species we have here is the Sandwich Tern, which is in above average numbers with up to 60 birds seen daily.
Wood Pigeon numbers are at a 13 year high – 105 birds max. – despite the attention of the hunters.
Collared Dove numbers are down – 40 birds max. – even though the hunters do not shoot them.


Little Owl numbers are at a 13 year low, with only a single bird seen all month.
Hoopoe numbers are low, with only a maximum of four birds seen.


Two Ravens flew over the bowls club on the 2nd November, only my 6th record here.
The two lark species seen this month provide a contrast.
The resident Crested Lark is in above average numbers with a maximum of 18 birds seen.
Wintering Common Skylark numbers are way below average numbers with a maximum of 47 birds counted.
Up to 10 wintering Crag Martins were seen – more easily seen in centre of Alcossebre than in the rural farmland.
Two late Barn Swallows flew south, on the 3rd and 17th November.
Six species of warbler were seen, most struggling to reach decent numbers.
The only warbler out of the six to be in good numbers (for here) was the Cetti´s Warbler with three birds holding a winter territory.
The rest, Common Chiffchaff (12 birds), Zitting Cisticola (5 birds), Blackcap (7 birds), Dartford Warbler (1 bird) and Sardinian Warbler (12 birds) were all below the 13 year average.
Passage Eurasian Robins peaked at 21 birds on the 1st November. Thereafter a maximum of eight wintering birds were seen daily.


Wintering Black Redstart numbers were at a 13 year high with a maximum of 29 birds counted.
A maximum of 14 Common Stonechats was also well above average numbers.
The same could not be said for wintering Song Thrush numbers, with only a maximum of 12 birds counted.
Resident Common Blackbird numbers don’t seem to be increased by winter birds, only two pairs noted.


While only single wintering Grey Wagtails were seen, up to 30 White Wagtails were seen. Resident birds swelled by winter birds.


Meadow Pipits, like the Black Redstarts, were at a 13 year high in numbers, with up to a 100 birds counted.


Of the four species of bunting seen in November, only Corn Bunting were in above average numbers – max. of 20 birds. Only single Cirl Bunting and Rock Buntings were noted.
The first wintering Reed Buntings arrived on the 3rd November, thereafter one or two birds seen.
Five species of finch were seen this month.
Only Common Chaffinch (40 birds) and Goldfinch (80 birds) were in good numbers.
The other three species were well below in numbers Greenfinch (9 birds), Linnet (9 birds) and Serin (12 birds).

Alcossebre weather in November 2014.

A mixed month for weather, with some weeks feeling like summer, and some feeling like winter!
The first week was mainly fine and sunny. There was a blip on the 4th November, with some rain and moderate/strong winds through the night.

The second week was mixed, with only two days fine and sunny. Five days had variable amounts of cloud. There were two days with light showers of rain, with some heavier rain on the 11th November.
The third week was the best of the month. With six days of fine and sunny weather. Even on the 21st November, with an overcast start that cleared to sunny spells. Winds were in a settled mode too, with gentle NE winds in the morning and gentle SE in the afternoon.
The fourth week was more like winter, with six days of overcast and dull conditions. We had three days of light rain.
The last two days of the month gave us more rain than the rest of the month put together. There was moderate to strong NE winds on the 30th.

Average day temperature was 20C (68F).
Average night temperature was 12C (53F).
Highest day temperature was 24C (75F) on the 1st, 2nd and 7th.
Lowest day temperature was 12C (53F) on the 11th.
Highest night temperature was 18C (64F) on the 2nd and 24th.
Lowest night temperature was 8C (F) on the 18th and 19th.
Total rainfall was 4.7 inches (120mm) over nine days.

A good variety of birds in October.

73 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in October 2014.
Although there were no new species added to the list there were three new species for the year. Common Shelduck, Woodlark and Long-tailed Tit.
There were nine species seen for the first time this autumn. Northern Lapwing, Skylark, Crag Martin, Common Chiffchaff, Dartford Warbler, European Robin, Meadow Pipit, Rock Bunting and Common Chaffinch.

There was an almost daily passage of birds.

Highlights were as follows:- Two Common Shelduck flying east over the sea on the 27th were the first this year. Also on the 27th, 20 Greater Flamingo’s flew east.

A total of 1174 Great Cormorants flew south this month, with 267 birds through on the 27th.

10 Great Egrets flew south on the 17th October, and 11 Little Egrets on the 1st.

Resident Cattle Egrets peaked at 50 birds on the 24th October.

The only Black-crowned Night Heron was seen on the 8th, at Torre de Capycorp pond.

A high count of 120 Glossy Ibis flew south over the sea on the 26th October.

An Osprey was seen being mobbed by Magpie’s, in the rural farmland on the 13th October.

A Black Kite flew south along the coast on the 5th.

Two Short-toed Eagles were soaring together on the 16th October.

Single Northern Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard were seen sporadically throughout the month.

A Booted Eagle flew south over the bowling club on the 16th October.

Single Hobbie’s were seen on the 2nd and 16th, both inland.

Up to three Common Kestrel were seen throughtout the month.

The only wading bird seen was Northern Lapwing, one to four birds in the rural farmland from the 17th to 26th October.

Gull numbers were very low with a maximum of 48 Black-headed Gulls, 40 Audouin’s Gulls, 21 Yellow-legged Gulls and only one LesserBlack-back Gull seen.

The only species of tern seen – Sandwich Tern – peaked at 48 birds on the 28th October.

Numbers of both Wood Pigeon (130 birds), and Collared Dove (70 birds), continue to rise.

Little Owl numbers are very low, with only one or two birds seen daily.

A maximum of six Hoopoe’s were seen – average numbers.

The first Skylarks of the autumn arrived on the 17th  - 15 birds seen.

Three Woodlarks seen in the rural farmland were the first this year. 

Resident Crested Larks peaked at 20 birds on the on the 8th October.

The last Sand Martin was seen flying south on the 8th, the same day that the wintering Crag Martins arrived. 

A minimum of 914 Barn Swallows flew south, with a peak of 230 birds per hour on the 2nd October.

Unusually no House Martins were seen this month.

Four Long-tailed Tit’s seen on the 18th October, were the first this year.

Resident Great Tit’s peaked at eight birds.

So far three Cetti’s Warbler are holding winter territories.

Only single passage Willow Warbler’s were seen, up to the 17th October. 

The first of the wintering Common Chiffchaff’s were seen on the 16th, with a peak of 13 birds on the 25th.

Up to six Zitting Cisticola’s were seen, very low numbers.

 

Wintering Blackcap numbers peaked at 10 birds on the 25th October.

The last Spectacled Warbler – a female – was seen on the 1st October.

The first Dartford Warbler of winter arrived on the 23rd October, at the coast.

The last passage Subalpine Warbler were seen on the 2nd – a pair.

The last Spotted Flycatcher was seen on the 7th, and the last Pied Flycatcher on the 17th October.

The first winter European Robin arrived on the 17th, peaking at 18 birds on the 31st.

Wintering Black Redstarts are in very good numbers with a maximum of 33 birds counted. Females as usual outnumbering males by seven birds to one.

The last passage Common Redstart was seen on the 17th October.

Up to three Northern Wheatears were seen throughout the month.

Wintering Stonechats peaked at 13 birds.

In stark contrast, only one Common Blackbird was seen.

Passage/wintering Song Thrush peaked at 23 birds on the 24th October.

The last passage Blue-headed Wagtails were seen on the 21st October.

Only single wintering Grey Wagtails were seen.

Passage/wintering White Wagtails peaked at 42 birds, and Meadow Pipits at 51 birds.

The first wintering Rock Bunting was seen at the coast on the 16th October.

Resident Corn Buntings peaked at 16 birds on the 25th.

The first of the wintering Common Chaffinches arrived on the 17th, and peaked at 25 birds on the26th October.

Alcossebre Weather in October 2014.

The first three weeks saw above average temperatures – 36C (96F) on the 16th October e.g. and it was very dry.

The last week returned to more normal temperatures.

The average day temperature was 27C (80F)

The average night temperature was 16C (60F)

Highest day temperature was 36C (96F) on the 16th October.

Highest night temperature was 21C (70F) on the 27th october.

Coldest day temperature was 24C (75F) on five days.

Coldest night temperature was 12C (53F) on the 23rd October.

Total rainfall for the month was 0.5 inches (13mm), the avearge for October is 5.7 inches!

 

A good month for birds including bird of the year.

The Birdman of Alcossebre – September 2014 Bird News.
A good month for migrants, and the bird of the year turns up.

72 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in September 2014.
Two new species were added to the Alcossebre list - Dotterel and Little Stint.

Male Dotterel

There were first year records for Common Teal, Black Kite, Hobby, Green Sandpiper, Caspian Tern and Western Bonelli´s Warbler.

There were first autumn records for Osprey, Common Buzzard,Curlew, Cetti´s Warbler, Blackcap, Spectacled Warbler, Black Redstart, Stonechat and Tawny Pipit.

I had the company of Paul Harvey from Cumbria on the day the Dotterel turned up, and the company of Barbara and Derek Plummer from Wellingborough when Derek spotted an Eleonora´s Falcon.

Highlights of the month.
A Little Grebe was present throughout the month on Torre de Capycorp pond.
A total of 98 Grey Herons passed through this month.
Three species of Egret were seen.
Eight Great Egrets passed through on the 3rd and one on the 6th.
Only two Little Egrets were seen, on the 13th.
Resident Cattle Egrets were seen throughout – maximum 15 birds.
Eight species of birds of prey were seen.
An Osprey on the 18th was the first this autumn.


Two Black Kites were seen on the 14th and the 24th.
One or two Short-toed Eagles were seen up to the 7th.
Single passage Northern Sparrowhawks were seen on the 10th,14th,25th & 30th.
The first Common Buzzard of autumn was seen on the 30th Sepember.
One Booted Eagle was seen on the 10th.
One to four Common Kestrels were seen throughout the month.
A Hobby on the 24th was the first this year.
Single Eleonora´s Falcons were seen on the 7th and 16th.
The fine male Dotterel turned up in the magic field on the 5th September.
Why is it called the magic field? Because for what ever reason it keeps turning up rare birds! This was a first record for Alcossebre, and indeed the first I had seen in Spain.
One to three Common Sandpipers were seen through out the month.
A Green Sandpiper on the 6th, was the first record this year.
A Common Curlew was the first this autumn on the 18th.

A Little Stint on the 26th at Capycorp lagoon was my first record here.


Only four species of gull were seen this month. Black-headed Gulls peaked at 110 birds on the 24th, flying in one flock catching flying ants!
Numbers of both Audouin´s Gulls (max. 7 birds) and Yellow-legged Gulls (max. 13 birds) were on the low side for this time of the year.
Two Caspian Terns flying south on the 3rd were the first seen this year.
Sandwich Terns were seen through out, with a maximum of seven birds, very low numbers.
Wood Pigeon ( 70 birds max.) and Collared Doves (26 birds max.) were seen daily, but there was only two Turtle Dove seen, on the 11th and 30th.
Up to three Little Owls were seen daily.
A Pallid Swift on the 5th was the only swift species seen this month.
Single Kingfishers were seen on Torre pond on three occasions.
Up to 30 Bee-eaters were seen up to the last on 7th September.
Up to nine Hoopoe´s were seen on a daily basis, good numbers for this month.
A juvenile Woodchat Shrike was seen up to the 13th September.
The last Golden Oriole was seen on the 8th September.
Common Magpies peaked at 18 birds on the 18th.
Resident Crested Larks peaked at 19 birds on the 23rd.
A total of 42 Sand Martins passed through this month, in contrast to 1,524 Barn Swallows, they peaked at 295 birds per hour south on the 18th September.
Small numbers of Red-rumped Swallows passed through – 23 birds, with a peak of eight birds on the 1st.
A total of 220 House Martins passed through, with a peak of 54 on the 3rd.
Eight species of warbler were seen this month.
The first Cetti´s Warbler announced it´s precence at Capycorp lagoon on the
16th September.
Passage Willow Warbler numbers have been low this month, total of 13 birds. With a peak of three birds on the 8th September.
A Western Bonellí´s Warbler on the 13th, was the first this year.
Resident Zitting Cisticola´s peaked at four birds on the 11th.
The first autumn Blackcaps arrived on the 24th September, with three birds seen.
A female Spectacled Warbler on the 26th was the first this autumn, joined by a second female on the 30th.
It has been a good autumn for numbers of passage Subalpine Warblers, with a total of 23 birds seen.
Resident Sardinian Warblers peaked at nine birds on the 16th.
A total of 17 Spotted Flycatchers passed through this month, in contrast to only 10 Pied Flycatchers – normally Pied out number Spotted in the autumn.
The first Black Redstart of autumn arrived on the 21st September.
Only two passage Common Redstarts were seen.
A total of 40 Northern Wheatears passed through, with a peak of eight birds on the 25th September.
In contrast, only four Whinchats were seen.
The first Stonechat of autumn arrived on the 26th September.
There was a small passage of Blue-headed Wagtails from the 19th to the end of the month, total of 12 birds.
A total of 39 White Wagtails passed through, with a peak of five birds on the 21st.
The magic field had two Tawny Pipits on the 10th and 11th September. The first this autumn.

Alcossebre Weather in September 2014.

The first 20 days in September were mainly fine sunny and dry, with above average temperatures.
The last 10 days in September were very mixed with four thunderstorms and torrential rain. We had more rain in the four days than we have had all year!

Average day temperature was 29C (84F).
Average night temperature was 21C (70F).
Highest day temperature was 34C (93F) on the 11th.
Lowest day temperature was 24C (75F) on the 22nd,23rd and 28th.
Highest night temperature was 26C (78F) on the 3rd.
Lowest night temperature was 16C (60F) on the 26th.

Total rainfall was 11.8 inches (302 mm) over eight days.
The wettest day was the 22nd, with 3.8 inches of rain.
The average rainfall for September is 5.7 inches, so double the average.
It was 2C above the average daytime temperature and 3C above the avearge nightime temperature.

After a slow start migrants come through on a daily basis.

58 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in August 2014.
No new species were added to the Alcossebre list this month.

Movements/passage in August
Eight Black-headed Gulls and nine Sandwich Terns flew south west on the 1st.
No passage on the 2nd or the 3rd.
The first Sand Martins of autumn came through on the 4th.
No passage birds on the 5th, 6th or 7th.
One Grey Heron south west over the sea on the 8th.
One Cormorant east and five Grey Herons south west on the 9th.
One Cormorant east over the sea and a light phase Eleonora´s Falcon soaring above my Casa! On the 10th,the only record this month.


Eight Audoiun´s Gulls south west over the sea on the 11th.
One Cormorant east, one Greater Flamingo and nine Grey Herons south west over the sea, on the 12th.
No passage birds on the 13th.
A Common Kingfisher appeared in the garden today - the 14th – the first since the 12th February.
There were no passage birds on the 15th or 16th.
The first Little Grebe of the year, in an unexpected place Torre de Capycorp pond – stayed to the end of the month. First Subalpine Warblers and Common Starlings arrived. All on the 17th.


Three Little Egrets south west over the sea on the 18th.


One Grey Heron east inland, two new Subalpine Warblers, and an increase in Barn Swallows and House Martin numbers. All on the 19th.

No passage birds on the 20th, but Golden Orioles peaked at nine birds today.
One new Subalpine Warbler on the 21st, and the last Red-necked Nightjar was seen.
First Northern Wheatear of autumn on the 22nd.


A juvenile Woodchat Shrike, a female Northern Wheatear and two Subalpine Warblers new arrivals on the 23rd.

Nine Greater Flamingos south west, three Greater Flamingos south west, as were two Cormorants, one Grey Heron and 19 Black-headed Gulls. All on the 24th.
Overnight arrivals on the 25th of two Northern Wheatears, two Whinchats and one Common Redstart. A Turtle Dove was the first since the 23rd June, and Red-rumped Swallows peaked at nine birds.


The first Common Sandpiper and Pied Flycatcher of autumn, and a Kingfisher on Torre de Capycorp pond. All on the 26th.


Two Spotted Flycatchers were new arrivals on the 27th, and Bee eaters peaked at 27 birds.
Eight Black-crowned Night Herons east and the first Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat of autumn on the 28th.
One Grey Heron and nine Black-headed Gulls south west over the sea on the 29th, and a passage Common Nightingale was in sub song at the sewage pond. There was also an unusual sighting of a Little Owl catching and eating a Common Blackbird! The rest of the Blackbirds family mobbed the Owl – two adults and four juveniles.
A female Northern Sparrowhawk and two Blue-headed Wagtails were the first this autumn, plus two new Spotted Flycatchers, on the 30th.


Four Grey Herons south west inland, finished off the months passage birds on the 31st.

Alcossebre Weather for August 2014.

The weather in August this year was unusual in three respects.
One there was a lot more cloud than usual – 19 days were either overcast or sunny with cloudy spells.
Two there were moderate winds on 12 of the 31 days.
Three there were moderate seas running on 13 days.

Average day temperature was 32C (89F).
Average night temperature was 23C (73F).
Highest day temperature was 38C (100F) on the 26th.
Lowest day temperature was 29C (84F) on the 3rd.
Highest night temperature was 25C (77F) on the 29th.
Lowest night temperature was 21C (70F) on the 17th,19th and 23rd.
Total rainfall was 3.7 inches (94 mm) over seven days.
Monthly average is 2.1 inches.
Heaviest rain was on the 15th with 1.3 inches (33 mm).
It was 2C warmer by day and night, compared to the monthly average.

Still some passage birds, but time to take stock on the breeding birds.

46 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in July 2014.
No new species were added to the Alcoseebre list which stands at 223 species.
Movements/passage in July.

Three Mallard east over the sea on the 1st were the first this year!
One Great Cormorant east on the 5th.
10 Black-headed Gulls south west on the 8th.
39 Black-headed Gulls south west on the 9th, also 280 Common and Pallid Swifts per hour north west, with one Alpine Swift.
The first Woodchat Shrike since the first of June, on the 12th.
32 Glossy Ibis south west on the 15th.
Two Grey Herons east on the 18th.
One juvenile Northern Gannet and three Black-headed Gulls south west on the 19th.
10 Black-headed Gulls and 18 Sandwich Terns south west , and 300 Common and Pallid Swifts per hour north west, again with one Alpine Swift. All on the 20th.
372 Common and Pallid Swifts per hour north west on the 21st.
A dark phase Eleonora´s Falcon arrived on the 22nd.
One Great Cormorant and Grey Heron east. Three Cattle Egrets were the first this month, and the first juvenile Woodchat Shrike was seen. All on the 23rd.


Five Grey Herons south west over the sea on the 27th, and the first young Red-rumped Swallows seen.


One Curlew south west inland was the first this year on the 28th.
24 Sandwich Terns south west on the 31st.

Breeding Birds.
As in every year some breeding birds have a good year and others had a poor year. Some species still give cause for concern.
We added one species to the breeding list this year - Scops Owl.
Three species did not breed this year, Turtle Dove, Reed Warbler and Linnet.
A total of 33 species bred or attempted to breed.
The full list with comments follows :-
Short-toed Eagle. One pair held territory this year, so far no sign of young birds.
Eurasian Kestrel. They have had a good season with four pairs holding territory.

Common Moorhen. Normally this species has three places where they breed.
This year two of the places have undergone changes. Torre estate pond was drained and given a good clean out. by the time it was refilled it was too late for the Moorhens to breed. The sewage pond was also lost, because the sewage works was de commissioned, and the pond dried out.
The only place left was Capycorp lagoon which also nearly dried out.
So as a result, for the first time in 13 years, no breeding Moorhens.
Common Woodpigeon. Considering there were no breeding pairs of Wood Pigeon 13 years ago, the species has increased dramatically.
At least 18 pairs bred or attempted to breed this year.
Eurasian Collared Dove. This is another species that has had a good breeding season. With some 16 pairs bred or attempted to breed.
Great Spotted Cuckoo. Although there was only one pair of this species this spring, they managed to lay their eggs in at least three Magpie nests.
Three Great Spotted Cuckoo young hatched out. One succumbed, after wandering into another Magpies territory, and got severely attacked.


Little Owl. This species had a better breeding season that I thought, after poor winter numbers. Five pairs held territory.


Scops Owl. This species is a new addition to the breeding list of Alcossebre.
No less than three pairs were holding territory.
Unfortunately one pairs breeding area – a large suburban garden – got bulldozed, as the owners were putting the property up for sale.
I don’t know if the other two pairs were successful.
Red-necked Nightjar. This is another species that is difficult to assess their their breeding results, being nocturnal. Three displaying males were noted.
European Bee eater. this species is much easier to monitor! Two pairs nested in the dry river beds. One pair fledged two young, but the other pair failed.
Eurasian Hoopoe. This species usually does well here, and this year was no exception, with at least 11 pairs holding territory.
Woodchat Shrike. This is a species that is in decline here. This year one pair raised one young. In past years there have been three or four pairs.
Eurasian Golden Oriole. This species is on the increase here. Nine pairs held territory this year, with a good number of juvenile birds seen.


Eurasian Magpie. Apart from the three pairs that raised Great Spotted Cuckoo young, a further seven pairs raised normal young.
Crested Lark. This is the only breeding lark here. Seven or eight pairs nested in their favoured Artichoke fields.
Barn Swallow. Some 28 pairs of this species nested, an average year. The first birds to fledge were seen on the 28th May.
Red-rumped Swallow. This species first nested here in 2010. This year two pairs nested. A pair were seen mud gathering for their nest on the 26th May. By the 27th July they had fledged four young. The other pair failed to rear any.


House Martin. This species are more successful when they build their nests on public buildings. If they build on private property they are likely to get their nests knocked down, because of their droppings.
About pairs nested successfully.
Great Tit. this is the only species of tit that breed here. This year nine pairs bred. The first young were seen on the 28th May.
Common Nightingale. Some nine pairs of Nightingale were seen to hold territories, below average numbers. The first birds were heard on the 14th April.
Melodious Warbler. This species had their poorest breeding season in 13 years study. The first bird was heard on the 29th April. Out of seven pairs holding territory, Only two pairs were heard alarm calling, a sure sign they have fledged young.


Zitting Cisticola. One of the species giving cause for concern. Only seven pairs holding territory. In 2008 there were 18 pairs holding territory.
A reduction in their main breeding habitat – grassland with low growing shrubs -
due to more farmland coming under cultivation, may well be the cause.


Sardinian Warbler. As this species is less specialised in habitat preference – a frequent garden nester – it is more successful.
This year at least 15 pairs held territory.

Spotted Flycatcher. This species had an average breeding season, with three pairs nesting. Like the Sardinian Warbler a frequent garden nester.


Eurasian Blackbird. This species is not a common nesting bird here, being more frequent in the main part of Alcossebre, rather than the rural parts.
This year three pairs held territory, an average breeding year.


White Wagtail. The only species of wagtail that breeds in this area, and even at that not common. One pair bred, and brought their two young to my garden to feed.


Spotless Starling. This species breeds here in good numbers, most farms and large houses have a breeding pair. i estimated about 30 breeding pairs this year.
Corn Bunting. This species breeds some years and not in others. This year was one of the non breeding years, with just one adult seen.
European Greenfinch. About nine pairs nested this year, like all the breeding finches, this a poor total.


European Goldfinch. About 14 pairs bred this year, another poor total.


European Serin. The commonest breeding finch here, but with only 18 pairs breeding, it represents another poor total.


If the finches were in poor breeding numbers, the two breeding Sparrows – House and Tree – were in much better numbers. The two pairs of Tree Sparrows breeding in my garden had time to raise two broods each.

Alcossebre Weather in July 2014.

July was the usual hot and mainly dry month, with higher than average day temperatures.
Average day temperature was 33C (91F).
Average night temperature was 22C (72F).
Highest day temperature was 36C (96F) on the 16th.

Lowest day temperature was 27C (80F) on the 3rd.
Highest night temperature was 25C (77F) on the 20th.
Lowest night temperature was 18C (64F) on the 4th.
Total rainfall was 0.5 inches (13mm) over five days.
It was 3C higher by day and 1C higher by night than the average for July.
Rainfall was just under the average for July.
Winds were mainly light and gentle. With moderate to strong winds on 10 days.

A quiet month, but still some passage birds.

53 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in June 2014.
No new species were added to the list this month.
A Great Egret on the 6th June was a first this year.
Single Marsh Harriers on the 12th and 23rd were a first June record.
Two Common Terns on the 9th June were a first this year.
Movements/passage.

One Grey Heron south west on the 1st June.
A late Sand Martin east on the 2nd June.
11 Cattle Egrets south west on the 4th June.


One Black headed Gull east on the 5th June.
A Great Egret east over the sea on the 6th June, was the first this year.
Two Purple Herons south west over the sea, two Common Terns off shore, were a first this year, and two late Sand Martins, all on the 9th June.
Two Squacco Herons south west on the 10th June.
One female Marsh Harrier on the 12th was a first June record.


Two Glossy Ibis and one Grey Heron south west over the sea, and a Black winged Stilt at Capycorp beach, all on the 13th June.


One Black crowned Night Heron, 17 Audouins Gulls and 6 Yellow legged Gulls all east over the sea on the 15th June.
One Great Cormorant and three Grey Herons south west over the sea on the 16th June.
One Little Egret east inland on the 18th June.
A male Montagu’s Harrier inland on the 19th June was a first for the month.
One Grey Heron south west over the sea on the 21st June.
One Great Cormorant east, female Montagu’s Harrier, and the first Turtle Dove of the month, all on the 23rd June.


Two Grey Herons east over the sea, the first Short toed Eagle of the month, and 200 each per hour, Pallid and Common Swifts flying north west into the wind. All on the 25th June.


Two Grey Herons south west, and one Little Egret east on the 26th June.
18 Great Cormorants east over the sea, and two Grey Herons south west on the 27th June.
Five Black headed Gulls south west on the 28th.

Alcossebre Weather in June 2014.

Above average temperatures, windy days, and some thunderstorms.

The first week in June was mainly fine and sunny. However daily winds kept the temperatures down.

The second week started off with three days of overcast and dull conditions, clearing to fine, sunny and hot in the afternoon. The last four days were mainly fine and sunny, with light/gentle south east winds.

The third week in June was really mixed, with only two days of fine and sunny weather. A further two days were mainly cloudy. Three days had thunder storms, bringing the first rain of the month.

The fourth week was similar to the third week. Two days of fine and sunny days. The rest mixed with overcast and thundery conditions. There was torrential rain on the 24th with 1.5 inches . Four days also had moderate to strong winds.

The last two days of June had fine and sunny weather, but still with a moderate wind.

Average day temperature was 30C (86F)
Average night temperature was 20C (68F)
Highest day temperature was 34C (93F) on five days.
Lowest day temperature was 24C (75F) on the 17th.
Highest night temperature was 23C (73F) on the 19th and 29th.
Lowest night temperature was 16C (60F) on the 3rd.
Total rainfall was 1.8 inches (45mm) over five days.

It was 2C above average day and night temperatures for June.

For one day Alcossebre gets above the Ebro Delta in the rare bird stakes!

On the 15th May I got my second record of Red footed Falcon for the Alcossebre area. A fine male. So the bird of the year so far.


There were seven species arriving for the first time this spring.
Four Squacco Herons on the 16th May, Short toed Eagle on the 29th,

Kentish Plover also on the 29th, Whiskered Tern on the 11th May, Red necked Nightjar on the 8th May, European Roller on the 27th May

,Reed Warbler on the 6th May, and two Tawny Pipits on the 3rd May.
72 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in May 2014.
Other highlights were 60 Greater Flamingos on the 5th May, were the first this year.
Eight Glossy Ibis through on the 3rd May.


An Eleonoras Falcon on the 1st May.
There was still up to 28 Turtle Doves up to the 8th May.
the best spring in terms of numbers of this species.


The first fledged Great Spotted Cuckoo was seen on the 26th May.
There was still a calling Scops Owl at the sewage works on the 13th May, looking good for a first ever breeding record.
Common and Pallid Swifts migration peaked at 800 per hour going north on the 3rd May.
They were joined by the only Alpine Swift seen this month.
After a peak of six Woodchat Shrikes on the 4th May, it looks like one pair have remained to breed.


There is at least two pairs of Red rumped Swallows nest building, a species not known here as a breeding bird until three years ago.
The last spring Willow Warbler was seen on the 11th May.
The last Common Whitethroat was seen on the 4th May, they have been far from common this spring. A worrying trend.
The Flycatchers are interesting. The Pied Flycatcher is only a passage migrant here, last seen on the 13th May. While the Spotted Flycatcher occurs in smaller numbers, but is a breeding bird. One or two pairs holding territory.
The last Common Redstart was seen on the 11th May, while the last Northern Wheatear was seen on the 26th May.


The last Whinchats were seen on the 9th May.
A full report on the breeding birds next month.

Alcossebre weather in May 2014.
A cloudier and windier May than usual.
So a less sunshine and cooler temperatures.

The average day temperature was 27C 80F.
The average night temperature was 16C 60F
Hottest day was on the 3rd and 9th at 30C 86F.
The coldest day was on the 6th, 18th and 28th at 22c 72F.
The warmest night was 19C 66F on 5 nights.
The coldest night was on the 5th at 13c 55F.
Total rainfall was 1.4 inches 36 mm, over six days.
Most rain fell on the 20th with 0.6 inches 15 mm.

Migrants come through but not in great numbers

69 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in April 2014.
No new species were added to the list.
There were three April firsts – Little Tern, Scops Owl and Penduline Tit.
The following species were the first this year – Purple Heron and Common Sandpiper.
First spring records were noted for Montagu´s Harrier, Black-winged Stilts, Little Tern, Turtle Dove, European Bee eater, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Melodious Warbler, Greater Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Common Nightingale, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear and Whinchat,
A summary of passage and overnight arrivals follows. (Albeit I missed out the week 7th to 13th April, when I was in Glasgow)
April 1st – no passage birds, but overnight arrivals of two Penduline Tits, one Northern Wheatear, one Common Redstart and seven Blue-headed Wagtails.
April 2nd – 15 Barn Swallow´s and 17 House Martins NE. Blue-headed Wagtails increased to 13 birds. A Woodchat Shrike and seven Common Swifts were the first this spring.


April 5th – Eight Black-winged Stilts at the coast were the first this spring.


April 6th – 150 Great Cormorants and one Grey Heron east over the sea. First spring record of Black-eared Wheatear. Overnight arrivals of one Woodchat Shrike and three Willow Warblers.


April 14th – The first Common Nightingales arrive, and sing out their precence.
April 15th – First Common Whitethroat of spring arrives.
April 16th – Seven Black-winged Stilts flew SW along the coast. One new Northern Wheatear and Common Nightingale arrive.
April 18th – very little passage, 5 Barn Swallows and 3 House Martins flew NE.
April 19th – First Whinchat of spring, two male Pied Flycatchers and one Common Redstart arrive.


April 20th – A Purple Heron flying SW was the first this year. Four Common Swifts, one Barn Swallow and 18 House Martins NE. Overnight arrivals – two Northern Wheatears, one Common Redstart, two Pied Flycatchers and one Willow Warbler.


21st April – First Montagu´s Harrier of spring NE with three Pallid Swifts, 6 Barn Swallows and four Sand Martins. Overnight arrivals – two Woodchat Shrikes, three Northern Wheatears, one Whinchat, one Pied Flycatcher and three Willow Warblers.
22nd April – two Cormorants and 11 Cattle Egrets NE. 12 Black-winged Stilts SW. Overnight arrivals of 40 Pallid Swifts, one Northern Wheatear and one Whinchat. One Turtle Dove and one Bee eater were spring firsts.


23rd April – No passage today. Overnight arrivals included the first Golden Oriole of spring. Two more Bee eaters and two Turtle Doves.


24th April – One Grey Heron and two Barn Swallows NE. Overnight arrivals included two Spotted Flycatchers, the first this spring. Also one Woodchat Shrike and one Common Nightingale.


25th April – 66 Common Swifts, two Bee eaters, 16 Barn Swallows, one sand Martin and one House Martin NE. A Common Sandpiper was the first this year.


26th April – two Black-headed Gulls and three barn Swallow NE. An amazing overnight arrival of 43 Turtle Doves! My biggest count in 13 years.
27th April – One Bee eater, two Pallid Swifts, 14 Barn Swallows, 12 Sand Martins and 4 House Martins NE. Overnight arrival of four Blue-headed Wagtails.
28th April – 10 barn Swallows, 9 Sand Martins and 9 House Martins east.
Overnight arrivals of Common Sandpiper, two Woodchat Shrikes and one Willow Warbler.
29th April – five Cormorants, 9 Barn Swallows and two Sand Martins NE.
Two Little Terns SW along the coast were the first this spring.
Overnight arrivals included the first Melodious Warbler of spring and one Woodchat Shrike, two Golden Orioles, two Nortern Wheatears, one Whinchat, and a male Pied Flycatcher.


30th April – Paul Harvey from Cumbria joined me on my bird count walk today and enjoyed the best day for birds this month!
Three Cattle Egrets, six Barn Swallows, five Sand Martins and seven House Martins NE. Overnight arrivals included one dark phase Eleonora´s Falcon, one Common Sandpiper, six Woodchat Shrike´s, three Northern Wheatear, one Black-eared Wheatear, two Pied Flycatchers and three Willow Warblers.

Alcossebre Weather for April 2014.

A mainly dry sunny month, with cool winds keeping the temperature down.

Average day temperature was 24C ( 75F)
Hottest day temperature was 29C (84F) on the 30th.
Coolest day temperature was 18C ( 64F) on the 2nd and 8th.
Average night temperature was 14C (57F)
Warmest night temperature was 17C (62 F) on the 5th.
Coldest night temperature was 11C ( 51F) on the 6th.

Total rainfall for the month was 1.6 inches (41 mm). Over four days.

The wettest day was on the 3rd with 0.9 inches (23 mm) of rain

The change over month.

71 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in March.

The first Barn Swallow was seen on the 7th March, and the last Cetti´s Warbler, and Reed Bunting.
The first Sand Martin was on the 11th March. The day the wintering male Blue was last seen.
The last Skylark and Crag Martin were seen on the 14th March.
A Little Ringed Plover on the 16th March, was the first this year.
On the 21st March 16 Common Scoter, the first Osprey of spring, and two Red-rumped Swallows arrived.


A very early Eleonora´s Falcon was seen on the 23rd March, the same day as the first Willow Warbler, and the last Common Chiffchaff.
Gordon Cox got a first of the year on the 24th March - a Southern Grey Shrike.
The 25th March produced four Pallid Swifts and 10 Alpine Swifts, both spring firsts. A Common Snipe was the first this year. The last Blackcap was seen.
The last wintering Stonechat was seen on the 26th March.


A very early Honey Buzzard was seen above the Alcossebre bowls club on the 27th March.
16 Glossy Ibis flew east on the 28th March, a first this year.


In the evening the first Scops Owl were heard calling.
Three Black-crowned Night Herons were a spring first on the 30th March, as was a male Common Redstart.


The 31st March saw the first Marsh Harrier and Subalpine Warbler of spring.

Alcossebre Weather in March 2014.

The mild winter continued throughout March, with above average temperature and very little rain.

Average day temperature was 21C (70F).
Highest day temperature was 25C (77F) on the 24th.
Coldest day temperature was 15C (59F) on the 12th.
Average night temperature was 10C ( 50F).
Highest night temperature was 15C ( 59F) on the 30th.
Coldest night temperature was 5C (41F ) on the 10th.
Total rainfall for the month was 0.7 inches (19mm) over three days.
It was 3C above the average day temperature, and 1C above the night
temperature. It was the driest March for 20 years.

A right mix,resident birds getting ready to nest, winter birds still here, and the first spring migrants arrive.

61 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in February 2014.
Some of the highlights were:-
A Common Kingfisher on the 12th was the first this year.
The first spring migrant arrived on the 14th – a Great Spotted Cuckoo.


Two Common Ravens on the 22nd were the first this year.
The first House Martin of spring came through on the 24th.
A fine male Hen Harrier passed through on the 25th.
Two Penduline Tits at Capycorp lagoon were a first this year.
A single Whimbrel continues to winter along the rocky sea coast.

While resident species were displaying and starting to nest birds, many wintering birds were still in good numbers.
It is not a great coast for seabirds, so two Great Created Grebes, and two Northern Gannets were usual numbers for here.
Most days saw a passage of Great Cormorant´s with 104 through on the 7th.
No Shearwaters were seen this month, which was disappointing.
Only two Grey Herons passed through this month.
Little Egrets and Cattle Egrets were seen on a daily basis, but in low numbers.
Four birds of prey were seen this month. The Hen Harrier already mentioned, single Eurasian Sparrowhawks, one ot two Common Buzzards, and the resident Common Kestrels, with up to four birds holding winter territories.


With the sewage pond completly dried up, the only place left to see Common Moorhens is Torre de Capycorp pond with up 6 birds there.
The only species of wading bird was the wintering Whimbrel.
Black-headed Gulls were in very low numbers with a max. of six birds seen.
In contrast, 60 Mediterranan Gulls were seen regularly at the coastal gull roost, opposite the juvenile camp.
Audouin´s Gulls peaked at 94 birds at the gull roost.
61 Yellow-legged Gulls heading north west inland was the peak for them.
Again in contrast, only one Lesser-black back Gull was seen all month.
Sandwich Terns joined the gull roost most days and peaked at 120 birds.
Common Woodpigeon and Collared Dove numbers were down nearer to nesting numbers, with 43 of the former and 32 of the later seen.
Great Spotted Cuckoo´s arrived on the 14th, and thereafter one or two birds were seen daily.
Little Owl numbers are still very low, with only one or two birds heard daily.
The only Common Kingfisher seen was on the 12th.
Up to six pairs of the delightful Hoopoe were seen displaying daily, a sure sign of spring.
The 19 pairs or so of Common Magpie were being pestered by the Great Spotted Cuckoo´s. It will be interesting to see how many Cuckoo´s the Magpies rear this year?
A pair of Common Ravens were seen flying near the Alcossebre Bowls club, and although this was the first sighting this year, they have been seen in this area before.
The resident Crested Larks were displaying and singing quite regulary, with at least 10 pairs in the area.
Wintering Skylarks peaked at 54 birds on the 24th.


Wintering Crag Martins were present thoughout the month, peaking at 26 birds.
House Martins had arrived by the 24th and one or two were seen for the rest of the month. No Swallows seen yet.
The only resident Tit is the Great Tit, with up to six pairs displaying and nest building.
Two passage Penduline Tits were seen at Capycorp lagoon on the 27th, but had moved on by the next day.
Except for Sardinian Warblers with a max. of 19 birds, most of the rest are in very low numbers. One or two Cetti´s Warblers, a max. of 10 Common Chiffchaffs, single Zitting Cisticolas,

max. of six Blackcaps, and single Dartford Warblers.
Wintering Robins are still well down in numbers with a max. of 5 birds.
Black Redstarts are doing much better with a max. of 17 birds.

Likewise up to 12 Common Stonechats is good numbers.


The single male Blue Rock Thrush continues to defend it´s stone farm building from all other birds, including the resident Spotless Starlings.
strangely the Common Blackbird is anything but common here, with only four pairs holding territory, and all well apart.
Wintering Song Thrush numbers continue to be very low, max. of 13 birds.
A single Grey Wagtail continues to frequent the garden pond, usually chased by the White Wagtails. White Wagtails peaked at 38 birds on the 22nd.

Another species with low winter numbers is the Meadow Pipit with a max. of 13 birds seen.
The first male Cirl Bunting heard in song was on the 17th, and so far he is the only one.

Up to five Reed Buntings continue to winter in the rural farmlands.
Corn Bunting numbers peaked at 38 birds on the 10th.

While the resident finches are displaying and nest building, the wintering finches are still here, albeit in low numbers. Peak numbers for each species are Chaffinch 57, Greenfinch 46, Goldfinch 50, Linnets 40 and Serin 37.
In contrast the

Alcossebre Weather in February 2014.

This was the mildest and driest February for a number of years.

The only thing that spoiled the month was a number of days (8) with strong winds.

Average day temperature was 17C (72F).

Warmest days were 22C (72F) on the 7th, 13th and 14th.

Coldest day was 12C (53F) on the 11th.

Average night temperature was 8C (46F).

Warmest night was 13C (55F) on the 8th.

Coldest night was 3C (37F) on the 3rd.

The total rainfall for the month was 0.7 inches (18mm) over 8 days, with most days barely wetting the ground.