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.

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.





The Birdman of Alcossebre – January 2014 Bird News.

55 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in January 2014.
Some of the highlights of this month were - 24 Common Scoter flying south west over the sea on the 10th. The first January record and 7th sighting in 12 years.

A Whimbrel seen from the 7th to the 10th January, along the rocky coastline. 96 Mediterranean Gulls seen offshore on the 26th January.

120 Audouin´s Gulls at the coastal roost on the 6th January.
A male Blue Rock Thrush was seen again on the 28th and 29th January, after an absence of 50 days!

The main story of the month was the dramatic decrease in numbers of some wintering birds a total of 20 species.
Great Crested Grebe none this January. 21 birds in 2005.
Balearic Shearwaters 52 birds this January. 1,632 birds in 2007.
Northern Gannet 2 birds this January. 16 birds in 2010.
Common Buzzard 2 birds this January. 8 birds in 2006.

Little Owl 2 birds this January. 6 birds in 2007.
Southern Gray Shrike none this January. 4 birds in 2005, 2006,2007.
Skylark 48 birds this January. 160 in 2007.
Cetti´s Warbler 1 bird this January. 4 birds in 2007.
Common Chiffchaff. 13 birds this January. 56 birds in 2008.
Blackcap 7 birds this January. 54 birds in 2006.

Dartford Warbler 1 bird this January. 8 birds in 2004.
Robin 4 birds this January. 43 birds in 2007.

Song Thrush 11 birds this January. 94 birds in 2004.
White Wagtail 15 birds this January. 90 birds in 2007.
Meadow Pipit 24 birds this January. 70 birds in 2009.
Reed Bunting 4 birds this January. 30 birds in 2009.
Chaffinch 55 birds this January. 225 birds in 2007.
Greenfinch 30 birds this January. 109 birds in 2004.
Linnet 30 birds this January. 148 birds in 2007.
Serin 46 birds this January. 242 birds in 2009.

One of the puzzles regarding this big fall in numbers, is that if you take the Black Redstart. A species that winters in similar places to the Robin i.e. gardens and sheltered farmland area’s . It’s numbers are normal this winter, with up to 25 birds counted this January?
Thankfully the other 32 species are holding on with normal numbers.
An example is the Common Kestrel with four individuals holding winter territories.

Alcossebre weather in January 2014.

It was a mild month with below average rainfall.

Less sunshine than usual for January, only six days being fine and sunny all day. Most days had light or gentle winds. Moderate winds on six days, and strong winds on three days, bringing the temperature down.

Average day temperature was 16C 60F.

Highest day temperature was on the 25th at 21C 70F.

Lowest day temperature was on the 22nd at 12C 53F.

Average night temperature was 9C 48F.

Highest night temperature was 18C 64F on the 25th.

Lowest night temperature was on the 14th and 17th at 5C 41F.

Total rainfall for the month was 1.3 inches (33mm) over five days.

It was 1C above the average day temperature and 2C above the average night temperature.

A good month for birds.

69 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in December.

There were year firsts for Merlin, Common Kingfisher, Wren and Firecrest.

There were winter firsts for Great Crested Grebe, Balearic Shearwaters, Hen Harrier, Stone Curlew, Whimbrel, Arctic Skua, Dunnock and Rock Bunting.

The month got off to a good start on the 2nd with a flock of 150 Greater Flamingo’s flying east over the sea. This is biggest flock I have seen in 12 years! Five Northern Lapwings also flew east inland, and there was a late Common Sandpiper at the coast.

On the 3rd a fine male Hen Harrier was hunting over the rural farmlands, it put up two Northern Lapwings, but ignored them. A total of 69 Crag Martins flew east along the coast. A Whimbrel was at the coast, the first this winter.
On the 7th the first Stone Curlew’s (2 birds) of the winter were seen in the rural farmlands. An increase in Black Redstart (22 birds) and Stonechat (13 birds) numbers were noted.

The 8th saw an arrival of 25 Mediterranean Gulls. The first Dunnock of winter was seen at the sewage pond. Increases in numbers of Song Thrush, Skylark, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Serin.

On the 9th the first Rock Bunting of winter appeared at the coast, and a new Blue Rock Thrush appeared on a local stone tower.

The only birds passing through on the 10th were Great Cormorants.
An increase in Sardinian Warbler’s (25 birds), Robin (8 birds), and Greenfinch (41 birds).

No passage birds on the 13th but increases in Cattle Egrets (12 birds),
Chaffinch (61 birds) and Greenfinch (65 birds).

There was a small passage of birds on the 14th. 26 and 12 Great Cormorants flew SW. One female Marsh Harrier flew east over the rural farmland.
Four Red-legged Partridges were the first the 30th August. Further increases in Sardinian Warblers (24 birds) and Goldfinches (95 birds).
One Grey Heron flying south-west over the sea, on the 15th was the first this month. 40 Great Cormorants also flew south-west, and eight Black-headed Gulls flew east.
The male Hen Harrier was seen again on the 16th, over the rural farmlands.
Five Balearic Shearwater’s offshore on the 17th were the first this winter!
The first Common Kingfisher appeared at Torre de Capycorp pond on the 18th.
The 21st saw some passage with 146 Balearic Shearwaters and 15 Great Cormorants flying south west. the first Merlin of the year flew over the rural farmlands. A Common Sandpiper and Common Kingfisher was seen at Capycorp lagoon.There were increases in Chiffchaff (12 birds), Song Thrush (10 birds) and Corn Bunting (20 birds) numbers.
An Arctic Skua flying east over the sea on the 23rd, was the first this winter, it was followed by a Common Buzzard. Two Raven’s soaring over the Alcossebre Bowls club was a first December record. The first Wren of winter was seen in the rural farmlands.
An small increase in Song Thrush (11 birds) and a bigger increase in White Wagtail (20 birds) numbers noted on the 29th.

An increase in Linnet (50 birds) numbers noted on the 31st.

December weather in Alcossebre.
The mild winter weather continued into December with above average temperatures and very little rain.
We had a few days with moderate to strong Northerly winds, but they did not last long.
Most days were fine and sunny.
Average day temperature was 16C ( 60F)
Hottest day temperature was 20C (68F) on the 27th.
Coolest day temperature was 12C (58F) on the 19th.
Average night temperature was 7C (44F)
Warmest night temperature was 14C (57F) on the 20th.
Coldest night temperature was 3C (37F) on the 30th.

Total rainfall for the month was 1inch (25 mm). Over two days.
The wettest day was on the 19th December with 0.9 inches (23 mm) of rain

A month of two halves.

The Birdman of Alcossebre – November 2013 Bird News.

There were 53 species seen in the Alcossebre area in November 2013.
There was an addition to the Alcossebre list. Two Sanderlings seen at Capycorp lagoon on the 28th November. The list now stands at 223 species.

 A Black Stork seen on the 21st November was only the fourth record here.
With mild weather continuing into the first two weeks of November, wintering bird numbers were slow to build up. However by the end of the month most species were getting to normal numbers.
Two species are at their lowest winter numbers for 12 years, Robin and Song Thrush.
A summary of birds seen follows.
Single Northern Gannets were seen offshore throughout the month.
There was a fly past of Great Cormorants most days, with 54 birds maximum.
One or two Little Egrets were seen along the coast most days, and up to seven Cattle Egrets were seen in the rural farmlands.

 A Black Stork flying south west over Alcossebre on the 21st November was only the fourth record here.
Single Northern Sparrowhawks and Common Buzzards were seen during the month.
Up to three Common Kestrels were seen, two female and one male.
A maximum of eight Common Moorhens were seen daily at Torre de Capycorp pond.
Three species of waders were seen this month. 20 Northern Lapwings flew south on the 27th November. A late Common Sandpiper was at the Capycorp lagoon on the 28th and 29th November.
Two Sanderlings kept the Common Sandpiper company on the 28th November, and were the first record for Alcossebre.
Maximum counts of gulls for November were 24 Black-headed Gulls, 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 33 Audouins Gulls, 15 Yellow-legged Gulls and 15 Lesser Black-back Gulls.
The only tern with us all the year round is Sandwich Tern, maximum numbers seen 20 birds.
Both Wood Pigeon (12 birds) and Collared Doves (54) numbers were well down on last months count, due to the hunters attentions.

Only one or two Little Owls were seen this month.

Up to three Hoopoes were seen throughout the month.
A maximum of 20 Common Magpies were average winter numbers.
While the resident Crested Lark (15 birds) numbers were normal, the wintering Skylark numbers were well down – 18 birds.
Up to 24 Crag Martins were seen daily. It has always intrigued me that while Barn Swallows and House Martins are wintering in Africa the Crag Martins can survive the winter here?
The only tit species seen were Great Tits with a maximum of four birds counted.
Six species of Warbler were wintering. Maximum numbers were one Cetti´s Warbler, 26 Common Chiffchaffs, five Zitting Cisticola, 10 Blackcaps, single Dartford Warblers and 20 Sardinian Warblers.

Robin numbers were at a 12 low, with only six maximum seen.

Black Redstart numbers were normal with up to 18 birds seen daily.

 Common Stonechat numbers were low with only a maximum of eight birds seen.
As already mentioned Song Thrush numbers were at a twelve year low, with only four birds maximum counted.
Single Grey Wagtail and up to 14 White Wagtails were wintering.

 Meadow Pipits numbers were well up with a maximum of 58 birds noted.
So far only one Reed Bunting has been seen. Well below normal numbers.
In contrast there was no shortage of Corn Buntings with up to 30 birds seen feeding in the artichoke fields.
Wintering Common Starlings were now in their hundreds, with many mumurations seen daily.
House and Tree Sparrow numbers were good, with flocks of 50 plus of each species seen in the rural farmlands.

Alcossebre Weather in November 2013.

It was a month of two halves regarding weather conditions.
Up to the 14th of the month it was above average temperatures, being 20C plus most days with light or gentle winds. We had the warmest November day in 12 years on the 6th November at 31C!
Thereafter winter arrived with a noticeable drop in temperature and strong cold winds! The 29th November was the coldest November night in 12 years at 1C.
Average day temperature was 20C (68F).
Highest day temperature was 31C (87F) on the 6th November..
Coldest day temperature was 14C (57F) on the 18th and the 30th.
Average night temperature was 11C (51F).
Highest night temperature was 20C (68F) on the 5th November.
Coldest night temperature was 1C (33F) on the 29th November.
Total rainfall for the month was 1.8 inches (45mm).
The heaviest rainfall was on the 16th November at 1.2 inches (30mm).