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).

With the mildest October for years winter birds were slow to arrive and build up numbers.

63 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in October 2013.
A juvenile Red-backed Shrike in the coastal scrubland, was the first this year.
It arrived on the 11th and stayed until the 20th October.

A female Blue Rock Thrush on the 29th October was also the first this year.

There were first autumn records for :- Eurasian Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Lapwing, Arctic Skua, Skylark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Cetti´s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap, European Robin, Black Redstart, Song Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, and Common Chaffinch.

A short species summary follows :- One or two Northern Gannets were seen throughout the month. A total of 222 Great Cormorants passed through, with a peak of 50 birds on the 24th.
A total of 24 Grey Herons and two Purple Herons passed through.
Eight Little Egrets flew south on the 13th, and up to nine Cattle Egrets frequented the rural farmlands.
A single female Marsh Harrier flew east on the 18th.
A female Eurasian Sparrowhawk on the 11th was the first this autumn, followed by another female on the 15th.
A single Eurasian Buzzard arrived to winter on the 1st.
Up to four Common Kestrels were holding winter territories.
Three Northern Lapwings flying south on the 23rd were the first this autumn.
Two Oystercatchers at Capycorp beach on the 5th was only the the second record this year.
Gull numbers were relatively low due to disturbance on the beaches due to the warm weather. 16 Black-headed Gulls, 12 Audouin Gulls, 17 Yellow-legged Gulls and four Lesser Black-backed Gulls were maximum numbers.
In contrast, up to 28 Sandwich Terns were noted.
An Arctic Skua flying south on the 30th was the first this autumn.
With an average daily count of 25 Wood Pigeons seen, a flock of 150 birds on the 15th was most unusual, they were gone by the following day.
Collared Dove numbers have risen to a twelve year high with up to 156 birds counted.
A late Turtle Dove passed through on the 5th October.
Resident Little Owl numbers were low with only one or two seen daily.
Up to six Hoopoes were seen daily.
A total of 24 Common Magpies were counted going to roost in pine trees.
The resident Crested Larks peaked at 17 birds, while wintering Skylarks arrived from the 17th, with so far only 16 birds maximum.
The first of the wintering Crag Martins arrived on the 19th and built up to 48 birds by the month end.
Barn Swallows continued to head south up to the 27th, with a peak of 260 birds on the 9th.
This has been the best autumn for passage Red-rumped Swallows with a total of 12 birds through, the last on the 19th October.
A total of 62 House Martins passed through, with last on the 13th October.
The first wintering Cetti´s Warbler arrived on the 9th at Capycorp lagoon, so far that’s the only one.
The last passage Willow Warbler was seen on the 1st October.
While wintering Common Chiffchaffs were slow to arrive (13th October) and build up numbers – two birds maximum.
The first wintering Blackcaps arrived on the 11th, and by month end peaked at eight birds.
Resident Sardinian Warblers were in good numbers, with up to 18 birds maximum.
In contrast not one wintering Dartford Warbler has appeared yet?
A late female Pied Flycatcher was at the Torre estate on the 5th October.

The first wintering Robin turned up on the 7th October, and by month end had only reached a maximum of five birds.

Wintering Black Redstarts arrived on the 11th October and had reached 11 birds by the month end.
A single female Common Redstart passed through on the 7th October.
Single Northern Wheatears passed through up to the 25th October.
Wintering Common Stonechat numbers built up to eight birds by the month end.
The first wintering Song Thrushes arrived on the 6th October and peaked at 13 birds on the 14th.
The last passage Blue-headed Wagtail was seen on the 7th October.
Wintering White Wagtails were slow to build up numbers – peak of 8 birds.
The first wintering Grey Wagtail was seen on the 18th October, with one or two thereafter.

Meadow Pipits arrived to winter on the 18th October, and built up to 32 birds by the month end.
The only Bunting seen so far has been Corn Bunting, with up to 12 birds seen.
The very mild weather has affected Finch numbers with very few arriving to winter.
The first Chaffinches arrived on the 21st October, and by the month end had built up to 48 birds.
Resident finch numbers were low with only a maximum of 25 Greenfinch, 70 Goldfinch, single Linnets and 19 Serins.

Big Flocks of both House and Tree Sparrows were noted in the rural farmlands.
Up to four Cockatiels added a bit colour to the rural farmlands.

Alcossebre Weather in October 2013.

This October turned out to be the warmest for 25 years!
The day and night temperatures were four degrees above the average for this time of the year. Add to that very little rain.

Average daytime temperature was 28C (82F).
Highest day temperature was 34C (93F) on the 1st October.
Lowest day temperature was 23C (73F) on the 22nd and 29th.
Average nightime temperature was 19C (66F).
Highest night temperature was 25C (77F) on the 4th October.
Lowest night temperature was 14C (57F) on the 30th October.
Total rainfall was .25 inches(8 mm) over two days.

A quieter month than normal for birds, but missing 10 days did not help.

A total of 56 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in September.
One new species was added to the list a Gadwall – rather surprising due to the lack of water around!
There were first autumn records for Marsh Harrier,Sand Martin, Western Bonelli´s Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Common Redstart, and Common Stonechat,
Some daily highlights follow.
On the 1st there was a south west passage of Black-headed Gulls (22) and Sandwich Terns (57). Overnight arrivals were one Willow Warbler and two each of Pied and Spotted Flycatchers.

On the 3rd. Six Greater Flamingo´s flew east, and 11 Grey Herons and a Little Egret flew south. All over the sea. Five Red-rumped Swallows flew south inland. Three Sand Martins (a first this autumn) with bigger number of Barn Swallows also flew south. Overnight arrivals included one Turtle Dove and one new Spotted Flycatcher.

On the 4th the first Common Redstart of autumn was seen. One new Red-rumped Swallow and Spotted Flycatcher arrived.

On the 6th two Greater Flamingo´s flew east, two Great Cormorants flew south. Overnight arrivals were one Red-rumped Swallow and three Willow Warblers.
On the 7th there was south west movement of Yellow-legged Gulls (99 birds) and an increase in Crested Larks (18 birds). 20 Pallid Swift´s flew south.
On the 8th passage over the sea included seven then five Grey Heron´s followed by a Purple Heron. New arrivals included one Red-rumped Swallow, two juvenile Woodchat Shrikes, female Pied Flycatcher and three escaped Cockatiels.

On the 9th one Grey Heron flew south. One Blue-headed Wagtail arrived and there was a big increase in Barn Swallow (170 flew south).
The 10th proved to be one of the best of the month. Overnight arrivals included one Common Redstart, three Northern Wheatears, one Spotted Flycatcher, five Pied Flycatchers, two Willow Warbler´s, one Subalpine Warbler and one Western Bonelli´s Warbler. The latter two were the first this autumn. Two Golden Oriole´s were the last seen this autumn.

I had to go back to Glasgow for the next ten days, so who knows what I missed?
My first day back on the 22nd was quiet. One Grey Heron south and one new Turtle Dove.
On the 23rd eight Little Egret´s flew south over the sea, and new arrivals were one Common Redstart and one Blue-headed Wagtail.
A new species for Alcossebre was added on the 24th – a female Gadwall flew south over inland rural Capycorp. All the more surprising since there is very little water around. 10 Greater Cormorants flew south over the sea. Two Red-rumped Swallow´s flew south in company with Barn Swallow´s.
Overnight arrivals included two Common Redstart´s, two Blue-headed Wagtail´s and one Subalpine Warbler.
The only passage birds on the 25th were Barn Swallow´s (28), House Martin´s (8) and Sand Martin´s (2). There was a big increase in Collared Dove numbers with 119 birds counted. There were now four Cockatiel´s flying around.

On the 26th only Barn Swallow´s (76) and Sand Martin´s (8) were passing through. One Common Redstart was new in.
The 27th saw only one Northern Wheatear and two White Wagtails arrive.

The 28th saw Barn Swallow´s going south at a rate of a couple of hundred an hour on a broad front. So by the end of the day many thousand´s must have passed through. A male Common Stonechat in rural Capycorp was the first this autumn.

In a very quiet month for birds of prey it was nice to see a female Marsh Harrier and then a Short-toed Eagle flying south on the 29th. A late Bee eater and Spotted Flycatcher were new arrivals.
The 30th brought a small passage of birds. One Grey Heron east. 127 Barn Swallow´s, two Red-rumped Swallow´s, 22 House Martin´s and six Sand Martin´s. Two Pied Flycatcher´s were overnight arrivals.

A trickle of autumn migrants and a new species added to the Alcossebre list.

59 species were seen during August in the Alcossebre area.

Pride of place goes to a new specie’s for Alcossebre, a Short-toed Treecreeper. This was seen by Gordon Cox and his grandson George in their garden at Las Fuentas. So well spotted. It is a bird I have looking to add to the list for a long time.
Autumn migration began this month with a trickle of birds rather than a torrent.
Highlights were first autumn sightings for Willow Warbler on the 23rd; Pied Flycatcher on the 30th;

 Northern Wheatear on the 23rd

 and Blue-headed Wagtail on the 19th.
A Little Tern on the 13th was the first this year.

Interesting passage birds included three Greater Flamingo´s east over the sea on the 6th; eight Purple Heron SW over the sea on the 28th August;
12 Glossy Ibis south-west over the sea on the 3rd;
a male Montagu´s Harrier south west over rural farmland on the 2nd;
An Oystercatcher east over the sea on the 2nd.
European Bee eaters have been passing through for most of the month, with up to 60 birds seen at a time, mainly on overhead power lines.
One or two Red-rumped Swallow’s have been passing through with flocks of Barn Swallow’s and House Martins.

Unusually Swift passage was confined to one day the 26th August, when 30 Pallid and Common Swifts headed south.
The last Common Nightingale was seen on the 7th August.
A Scop´s Owl first heard on the 23rd March was heard calling again on the 12th August from the same garden!

I got a report of a large bird of prey lying dead beside a farm road on the 8th August, and when I went to investigate I found an adult Short-toed Eagle.

After an initial examination to see if it had been shot – no signs of that – I put it in my freezer until such time I get some preservative’s to stuff it. Then I can send the body away for analysis’s.

Alcossebre weather in August 2013.

The first week in August was mainly fine, sunny and hot. There was a thunderstorm on the afternoon of the third, but after a few showers of rain it cleared away. Winds were light, gentle and variable.

The second week in August was again mainly fine, sunny and hot. On two days it started off cloudy but soon cleared away. Winds were light,gentle and variable.

The third week in August was mostly fin, sunny and hot. On two days it started off overcast but soon cleared away. Winds againg light,gentle and variable.


The fourth week in August was unsettled with only one day having fine, sunny and hot weather. The heaviest rain of the month fell on the 28th with 1.9 inches (48 mm). There were also some days with moderate winds which meant some moderate sea swells running.

The last three days continued to be unsettled with more light rain showers.


Average day temperature was 30C ( 86F)
Hottest day temperature was 35C (95 F) on the 7th.
Coolest day temperature was 22C (72 F) on the 28th.
Average night temperature was 22C (72F)
Warmest night temperature was 26C (78F) on the 7th.
Coldest night temperature was 18C (64F) on the 29th.

Total rainfall for the month was 2.6 inches (66 mm). Over seven days.

This was just above the monthly average of 2.1 inches.

The wettest day was on the 28th with 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain

June and July quiet month’s for birds.

June and July are normally the quietest month’s for birds, and this year was no exception.
I had the company of Paul Harvey from Cumbria, and Barbara and Derek Plummer from Northampton on my walk, several times in June.

50 species were seen in June, and 46 species in July in the Alcossebre area.

One new species was added to the list – a Barn Owl (Lechuza Común) on the 30th July.
Flew over my garden at dusk, while waiting for Red-necked Nightjar to do the same!

There was a first June record for Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris) , and a first July record for Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra).

A Common Tern (Charrán Común) on the 26th June was the first seen this year.

Passage birds included one Black-winged Stilt (Cigüeñuela Común) flying SW over the sea on the 7th June. 30 Glossy Ibis (Morito Común) flying east over the sea on the 22nd July.

With so little passage birds coming through it was time to turn our attention to the important breeding bird populations.
It has always surprised me that the number of breeding birds here is so low, both in terms of numbers and variety of species.
That said we do have some colourful and iconic species breeding species Hoopoe (Abubilla), Bee eater (Abejaruco Europeo) , Golden Oriole (Oropéndola) and Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo).
This year some 32 species bred.
The total of species that have bred over the 12 years of study here is 41 species.
Ok a summary of their success or otherwise.
Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar) two pairs bred this year – a normal year.

Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común). With the sewage pond dried up the breeding population was effectively halved. Two pairs bred at the Torre estate pond rearing three young each.
Wood Pigeon (Paloma Torcaz) population continues to grow. There were at least eight pairs nesting.
Collared Dove’s (Tórtola Turca) also had a better than average year, with an estimated 25 pairs breeding.
As far as I could see only two Great Spotted Cuckoo´s (Crialo Europeo) were reared by their Common Magpie (Urraca) foster parents. In some years eight birds are reared.
Little Owl’s (Mochuelo Europeo) had an average year with six pairs holding territory.
At least three pair’s of Red-necked Nightjar’s (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo) were holding territory’s. One pair could be seen regularly hunting over the Tropicana camp site at dusk!
Pallid Swift (Vencejo Palido) and Common Swift’s (Vencejo Común) continue to hold their own, mainly nesting under open pan tile roofing in the town house’s.
European Bee eater (Abejaruco Europeo) number’s were disappointing this year, with only one pair rearing four young in the dry river bed up from the Can Roig restaurant.
In some year’s up to six pairs have nested.
Hoopoe (Abubilla), number’s seem to be well above the 12 year average with 10 pairs holding territory.

Crested Lark (Cogujada Común) number’s are near average with six to eight pairs attempting to nest in their favourite nesting area’s – artichoke field’s. Despite continual disturbance from farmer’s picking their crops.
Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común) number’s are lower than normal, with only 21 to 24 pairs pairs nesting.
12 year average is 30 pairs.
House Martin (Avión Común) numbers were also lower than normal with some five pairs nesting, in contrast in Alcossebre town nesting bird’s seem to be in normal numbers.
Common Nightingale (Ruiseñor Común) number’s are well down, with only four pairs holding territory. This is compared to the 12 year average of 9 or 10 pairs.
Common Blackbird (Mirlo Común) numbers are always lower in the rural area’s than in the town itself. So two pair’s holding territory are normal numbers.
Zitting Cisticola´s (Buitrón) numbers are up, after concern about their winter numbers, with 10 pairs nesting. Some are now on second broods.

Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común) numbers are down with only five
pairs holding territory, compared to the 12 year average of eight pairs.

Sardinian Warbler’s (Curruca Cabecinegra) are holding on to good numbers with some 12 to 15 pairs nesting. Like the Zitting Cisticlola´s some are now on second broods.
Three pair of nesting Spotted Flycatcher’s (Papamoscas Gris) are average numbers.
Great Tit (Carbonero Común) are in average numbers with five or six pairs nesting.
After a poor spring passage for Woodchat Shrike’s (Alcaudón Común) I wondered how many pair would stay to breed? I’m glad to report two pair did raising two young each.
Some year’s they nest some they don’t.

Golden Oriole’s (Oropéndola) have had a good breeding season with at least six pairs nesting.
Spotless Starling’s (Estornino Negro) always seem to have a good season, and this year is no exception, judging by the hundred’s pillaging the date palms!
Unlike Britain, both House Sparrow (Gorrión Común) and Tree Sparrow’s (Gorrión Molinero) do very well here in regards to nesting populations. I have still got two pairs of Tree Sparrow’s nesting in my conservatory pipe work.
Greenfinch (Verderón Común), Goldfinch (Jilguero) and Serin (Verdecillo) all have had a good nesting season.

Even Linnet’s (Pardillo Común) which are sporadic nesters had two nesting pairs this year.




On the down side the following species did not nest this yearRed-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja) , Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea) , Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica) – doubly disappointing as they started nesting for the first time three years ago, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca), Reed Warbler (Carricerin Común) – normally nest at the sewage pond, but now dried up, Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteño) and Corn Bunting (Triguero).
The Weather in Alcossebre in June and July 2013.

June and July were contrasting months for weather.
June was three degree’s cooler by day and night than normal, mainly due to predominant northerly winds. July was different by being two degrees warmer by day and one degree warmer at night.
June also had above average rainfall, with July having below average rainfall.
Both months had an abundance of sunshine.

June stats.
Average day temperature was 27C (80F).
Average night temperature was 18C (64F).
Highest day temperature was 33C (91F) on the 16th.
Lowest day temperature was 24C (75F) on the 1st,3rd and 20th.
Highest night temperature was 22C (72F) on the 18th.
Lowest night temperature was 15C (59F) on the 25th.
Total rainfall was 3.4 inches (89mm) over four days.
Heaviest rainfall was on the 21st with 3 inches (76mm).

July stats.
Average day temperature was 32c (89F)
Average night temperature was 22C (72F)
Highest day temperature was 34C (93F) on the 8th, 21st,24th and 31st.
Lowest day temperature was 28C (82F) on the 2nd.
Highest night temperature was 26C (78F) on the 28th.
Lowest night temperature was 19C (66F) on 1st and 2nd.
Total rainfall was 0.3 inches (10mm) over two days.
Heaviest rainfall was on the 18th with 0.3 inches (76mm)

While resident birds fledge their young migrants are still passing through

75 species were seen in the Alcossebre area in May.

One new species was added to the Alcossebre list, a Black-headed Wagtail.
A fine male seen on the 20th May.

There were ten species that were the first this spring. Squacco Heron, White Stork, Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Collared Pratincole, Whiskered Tern, Red-necked Nightjar, Melodious Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Garden Warbler.

A Squacco Heron was seen flying east along the coast on the 3rd May.

Five White Storks were seen by Gordon and Jill Cox flying over El Pinar on the 5th May.
One or two Short-toed Eagle’s were seen on various pylons from the 6th May.
A fine Honey Buzzard soared over the Alcossebre bowling club on the 22nd May, the five flying north east on the 23rd, followed by 2 north east on the 24th.
Two Collared Praticole´s flew up the Rio San Miquel on the 21st May, then a single noted on the 22nd. Four birds were hunting insects at dusk past Chepi´s bar on the 31st!
A single Whiskered Tern was seen on the 13th May flying east over the rural farmland.
A Red-necked Nightjar flew over my garden in Capycorb on the 8th May, thereafter they could be heard calling at dusk most nights.
The first Melodious Warbler was heard, and seen, on the 7th May and built up to a maximum of five singing males by the end of the month.

A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling at Torre de Capycorp estate on the 8th May, the only one this spring – they are very scarce migrants here.
Two Garden Warbler’s were seen and heard on the 10th May, followed by a single singing bird on the 20th May.

Other birds of interest this month were :-
Two Common Quail calling in rural farmland on the 1st and 2nd of May.
One Black Kite flying east on the 3rd May.
The only Marsh Harrier this month flew east past the bowling club on the 24th May.
Six species of waders were seen this month

Six species of waders were seen this month, which is all the more noteworthy considering there is no water in the sewage pond!
Two Northern Lapwing’s flew east past the bowling club on the 24th May.
There were two sightings of Black-winged Stilt this month, two birds east along the coast on the 10th May and a single bird on the 15th at Torre beach.
There were one to five Common Sandpiper’s along the coast from the 1st to the 8th May.
A rarely seen Common Greenshank was seen and heard on the 1st May.
A single Common Redshank was at Capycorp lagoon on the 6th and 7th May.
I had only my second record in 12 years of Ruddy Turnstone at Torre beach on the 10th May.

One to seven Turtle Dove’s were seen throughout the month. The question is will any stay to breed this year?
I was a very happy bunny on the 31st May when I finally after 12 years of trying got photo’s of Common Magpie feeding their foster Great Spotted Cuckoo young.




Three single Alpine Swift’s passed through this month.
Up to seven migrant Bee eater’s passed through up to the 6th May, thereafter one or two nesting bird’s remained.
It has been the best spring for sightings of the Roller. Three more were seen this month on the 3rd, 24th and 25th May. All noted flying east.
Passage Woodchat Shrike’s peaked at six birds on the 7th may, thereafter a pair remained to breed – hopefully?
Golden Oriole were calling through out the month with up to six birds heard.
Gordon and Jill Cox reported seeing two Raven’s fly over El Pinar on the 6th May, a very rare passage bird here.
30 per hour Sand Martin’s on the 3rd May were the last of the spring passage birds – they do not breed in the area.
110 Barn Swallow’s per hour on the 3rd were also the last of the spring passage birds. A good number remained to breed.
One to two passing Red-rumped Swallow’s were seen. One pair are nesting near the bowling club.
Up to 80 House Martin’s per hour also passed through on the 3rd. A good number remain to breed.
Up to seven Willow Warbler’s passed through up to the 9th May, with avery late bird seen on the 27th May.
A very late Common Chiffchaff was heard ¨Chiff-Chaffing¨ at Torre de Capycorb estate on the 26th May.
A single passage Reed Warbler was seen and heard at Capycorb lagoon on the 24th May.
The last passage Subalpine Warbler was seen on the 1st May.
Passage Pied Flycatcher’s peaked at eight bird’s and were last seen on the 9th May.

One to three Spotted Flycatcher’s were seen through out the month. We will have to wait and see how many will remain to breed?

Common Nightingale number’s built up to six pair’s.
One to two Common Redstart’s passed through up to the 8th May.

A maximum of eight Northern Wheatear’s passed though up to the 11th May.
Up to six Whinchat´s passed through up to the 24th May.
The first of the resident Spotless Starling young fledged by the 26th May.
Up to five Blue-headed Wagtail’s were present though out the month and may remain to breed?
The first record of a Black-headed Wagtail was seen in the horse field on the 20th May. This species breeds in eastern Europe, Balkans, Turkey etc.

Bunting’s were very scarce this month with only one Cirl Bunting seen.
Alcossebre weather in May 2013.

This May turned out to be very unseasonable with wind being the dominant feature. This resulted in below average temperature’s – 2C cooler by day and night.
We also had more rain than is usual for May.

The average day temperature was 24C (75F)
The average night temperature was 15C (59F)
Highest day temperature was 28C (82F) on the 7th, 8th and 22nd.
Highest night temperature was 19C (66F) on the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th.
Coldest day was on the 21C (70F) on the 14th and 17th.
Coldest night was on the 11C (51F) on 2nd and 17th.
Total rainfall was 2.3 inches ( 58mm) over eight days.
The wettest day was the 15th with 1.2 inches (30mm)