WELCOME TO THE BLOG OF WINGSPAN BIRD TOURS



ALL NEWS, BIRD SIGHTINGS AND TOUR UPDATES WILL ALSO BE RECORDED ON MY WEB-SITE BLOG PAGES FOUND HERE


http://www.wingspanbirdtours.com/blog




FURTHER DETAILS OF FUTURE TRIPS CAN BE FOUND ON OUR MAIN WEBSITE:-



http://www.wingspanbirdtours.com/






FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT PARTICIPATED IN A WINGSPAN TOUR DURING 2016, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CUSTOM & YOUR COMPANY AND WE WISH YOU HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR 2017.

THE PROGRAMME FOR SPRING 2017 IS NOW ON MY

WEBSITE BUT HERE IS A PREVIEW



Jan 15th - 28th. - Sri Lanka. £1750

Feb 12th -27th - Costa Rica - full

Mar 20th - 30th Morocco - 10 nights. - £1190

April 5th - 12th - Andalucia migration tour. - £750 - 2 places

April 16th - 24th - Coto Donana & Extremadura - £950 - 2 places

April 29th - 6th May. - Lesvos - £875

May 8th - 15th - Portugal - full


May 13th - 21st Bulgaria - £850

May 23rd - 30th - Andalucia birds and butterflies - £750

May 31st - June 8th. - Extremadura and Sierra de Gredos - £950

June 12th - 20th - Pyrenees and Picos de Europa - £1050


FLIGHTS NOT INCLUDED IN THESE PRICES



BOOK NOW TO SECURE YOUR PLACE SEND AN E-MAIL TO:

E-mail: bobbuckler49@hotmail.com





















Red-throated Bee-eater

Red-throated Bee-eater
join us for a fantastic tour of The Gambia this November

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flaming June -Gaucin and surrounds

For the last 20 days we have entertained non-birders but we have managed to get out on several occasions for nice walks in picturesques places.



RUFOUS BUSH ROBIN

We have visited: Rio Genal, Gibraltar, Grazalema, Zahara, Montejaque, Ronda and surrounding areas.



During our local walks we have encountered many of the local breeding species such as: Cirl Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Pallid and Common Swifts, Red-rumped and Barn swallows, Serin, mnay, many, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and fewer Chaffinches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cetti's, Melodiuos & Bonelli's Warblers, Common Nightingale, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Red-billed Chough.......etc

Most seemed to have bred well with many juveniles on show.



JUVENILE WOODCHAT SHRIKE



The weather has been exceptionally hot with highs of 35C on a regular basis, the evenings have been magical with a cool breeze and clear skies.


Here are a sample of recently taken pictures in and around Gaucin:



THE DAM THAT DOESN'T WORK - MONTEJAQUE



GRASSHOPPER



IBERIAN MARBLED WHITE


RED-RUMPED SWALLOW

Sunday, June 12, 2011

JUNE 12TH 2011 - RIO MANILVA

A beautiful sunny morning with a nice breeze found me down at the River Manilva whilst Dawn was at the market in Sabinillas.





Rio Manilva with its lovely turquoise-blue colour

Surprisingly several birds were still singing into late morning: I heard Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Common Nightingale, Turtle Dove, Sardinian Warbler and Golden Oriole.

It was quite busy with traffic (Sunday always is) along the track to the 'Roman Baths', nevertheless there was still plenty to see: Blue Rock Thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Goldfinches, Red-rumped Swallows, Pallid Swifts, Booted Eagles, Griffon Vultures as well as those mentioned above.

I concentrated on photgraphing the many species of Dragonflies along the river, not very sucessful but here are the results.



Epaulet Skimmer (female) Orthetrum chrysostigma


Epaulet Skimmer (male) Orthretrum chrysostigma


Small Pincertail Onychogomphus forcipatus


Copper Demoiselle Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis

Orange-winged Dropwing Trithemis kirbyi



Orange-winged Dropwing Trithemis kirbyi







Later in the afternoon Dawn and I sat on the top terrace reading and just chilling and also watching the hundreds of Pallid and Common Swifts weaving their way across the skyline, we also saw Red-billed Chough and a Booted Eagle making its 'chit', 'chit', 'chit' call, its a bit like a Kestrel and hardly 'man-enough; for an Eagle to utter!!!



Friday, June 10, 2011

DAY TOUR - JUNE 10TH 2011

GRAZALEMA - MONTEJAQUE CORK OAK WOODS - CERRO DE TABNIZA (THE DAM THAT DOESN'T WORK) and ENCIMA DE BORRACHES

I collected Jean hardy from his Hotel in Grazalema at 7:30am, it was a bright clear morning with a light breeze. We headed out of the village towards Ronda and stopped at the roadside after 10 kilometers to view some cork oak woods.

It was fairly quiet but we saw Mistle Thrush, Spectacled Warbler (fleetingly), Bonelli's Warbler and Chaffinch. We then moved into to the Cork Oak Woods that are found a couple of kilometers north of Montejaque. This extensive woodland holds many species and has open glades and a large lake. We found lots of birds flitting around in the trees, many we typical woodland birds that are found in the UK, Eurasian Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Spotted Flycatcher. It got more mediterranean with Golden Oriole, Serin, Red-rumped Swallow, Short-toed Treecreeper, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Warbler, Griffon Vulture, Hawfinch and European Bee-eater.

We then drove the short distance to the 'Dam that doesn't work'. Along the way we noted Cresked Lark and Corn Bunting - my two most favourite species!!!

The habitat was totally different and so were the birds: Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Alpine Swift, Red-billed Chough, Common Raven, Crag Martin, Rock Dove and more Griffon Vultures. We also watched Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Serin, Linnet, Black Redstart and Jay.

Another track found us searching for Rock Sparrow and Rock Bunting, we found the former and almost the latter - it turned out to be a Cirl Bunting.

Several other stops along the Guadiaro Valley found us searching the sky for Bonelli's Eagle and White-rumped Swift, niether of them played ball but Common Kestrel, Common & Pallid Swift and Booted Eagle did.

The superb walk along the Encima de Borraches track always produces good sightings and today was no exception. We started with Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Thekla Lark and Little Owl. We then moved from the open rocky area to the heath where we gained great views of Spectacled Warbler and glimpses of Dartford Warbler. At the edge of the cork oak woodland we tracked down a singing Orphean Warbler and added Woodchat Shrike, Subalpine Warbler and more Bonelli's Warblers to the list.

Our last bird was Rock Bunting, seen from a great distance as it sat on a high ridge with food in its beak, we also got sightings of Spanish Ibex with very impressive horns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DAY TOUR - COTO DONANA 5TH JUNE 2011

MATALASCANAS CLIFFS – COREDOR DE VERDE – DEHESA ABAJO – NORTHERN MARSHES – JOSE VALVERDE CENTRE.


We were taking a few days break by the seaside and the hotel we used just happened to be in the heart of Coto Donana ( I wonder who picked the hotel?). It was also a coincidence that a Canadian Birder required a day tour during our stay there.








JEAN HARDY


It was a bright clear morning, a slight breeze and quite warm. I collected Jean from his hotel at 8am, it happened to be the Parador de Mazagon which is just along the coast from matalascanas where we were staying. We drove to the cliffs at Matalascanas to sea watch for a while, jean needed to see a couple of gulls and shearwaters. Only the Yellow-legged Gull turned up it was very quiet out there, a good number of Northern Gannets (all sub-adults) was diving into the sea for their breakfast.

We drove north passed El Rocio noting Flamingos, Spoonbills and Black-winged Stilts on the Marismas and along the road we saw Common Buzzard, Black Kite, Azure-winged Magpies, Woodchat Shrike, Corn Buntings and lots of White Storks on their nests, the youngsters are now ready to fledge and spend a lot of time exercising their wings.



GLOSSY IBIS AT NEST

We turned east and drove through Villamonrique before turning onto a track that led us to the Rio Guadimar which forms the Corredor de Verde. At a concrete bridge we stopped to look at Red-rumped Swallows, both beautiful and graceful in their delicate flight manoeuvres. Also noted at the bridge were Serin, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Crested Lark and Common Nightingale.


PURPLE HERON CHICKS

We walked along a path that led us into some open woodland where we found one target bird the Golden Oriole, a male seen in flight. A pair of Booted Eagles circled above us as we watched Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Spanish Sparrows and more Serins, all unusual sightings for the Canadian eye to behold.

At Laguna Qema we added Common Coot, Common Pochard, Great crested Grebe, Little Grebe and Moorhen to the tally. We also stopped at the laguna Zorita where Tree Sparrow, Thekla Lark, Common Swift, Yellow Wagtail and Spotless Starling were seen and a Quail was heard calling from the fields behind us.


NIGHT HERON WITH SNAKE

At Dehesa Abajo there was a good numbers of birds in the distance, mainly Spoonbills, Greater Flamingos, Mallard, Common and Red-crested Pochard and lots of Great Crested Grebes. We did see Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler Olivaceous Warbler (briefly), Jackdaw, Common Kestrel, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler and Whiskered Tern. A heavy cloud base had formed behind us and we were in for a thunderstorm, large spots of rain began to fall.

We quickly drove to the ‘gravel pits’ which are found along the road towards Pueblo del Rio. On one of the pools we found 5 adult Red-knobbed Coots (4 of which had white collars to indicate that they were released birds), there were also a number of chicks being fed by the adults, how nice to is to see a rare bird breeding like this. Also on the small pool we found lots of Little Grebes feeding young, Mallard and a couple of Night Herons.

The last area to be visited was the Northern Marshes and the Jose Valverde Centre which meant that we had to drive through the thunderstorms and rain.
It wasn’t as bad as it looked, we stopped the car during the heaviest of the rainfall whch didn’t amount to much. Along the tracks towards the Valverde Centre we noted Lesser Kestrel, Lots of Cattle Egrets, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Black Kites and many Short-toed Larks on the track. We stopped to look at Calandra Larks and search for Lesser Short-toed larks and in doing we also found Purple Heron (flying over) and Skylarks on the ground. As we passed alongside the marshes we saw many, many Great Crested Grebes and Common Coots with chicks, a sign that the wet winter was paying off for some species.

Near the Valverde Centre we tried to track down a calling Purple Swamphen but if failed to show be we did see hundreds and hundreds of birds in the sky of many different species. The breeding colonies of Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, cattle Egret, Little Egret, Night Heron and Squacco heron were all very busy with lots of chicks in the nests. Common Pratincoles filled the air with Whiskered Terns, and Black Kites. The marshes were littered with good numbers of Greater Flamingos. Spoonbills, Egrets, Ibis, Black-winged Stilts and Common Coots.

From the plate glass viewing windows at Velverde we notched our only Little Bitterns and had good close views of most of the breeding colony.

Soon it was time to make the return journey, along drive back to Mazagon, we made several short stops along the way where we added Black-tailed Godwit, Montagu’s Harrier, Griffon Vulture (and a very high Black Vulture that disappeared into the cloud), we also counted 10 lesser Kestrels in one field.

Our day finished at the Parador at 6:30pm and as Jean waved goodbye in the driveway a couple Azure-winged Magpies flew over, good day – good birding!