La Janda Outing
It was a glorious day as we set off towards La Janda a convoy of 4 cars with 12 eager birders and hopeful photographers.
First stop was breakfast at the convenient last stop Apollo X1 Venta before the huge expanse of flooded rice fields and ditches that was our destination.
A great sighting of a Southern Grey Shrike greeted us on electricity wires and the first ditch proved to be stunningly beautiful for the photographers in the morning light and produced an excellent number of species including Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Common Buzzard.
At the dyke we met up with long standing friends / members of GONHS holidaying in the area Ian Thompson & Yvonne Benting, and here with the song of corn buntings all around us we also saw and heard Calandra Larks singing in the air and flocks of Glossy Ibis, Spoonbills, a fast flying Little Ringed Plover, and a many of White Storks, Grey Herons, Little Egrets and Cattle Egrets.
Driving on a little further a large raptor sitting on an irrigation structure turned out to be most birders' bird of the day a beautiful adult Spanish Imperial Eagle, a truly magnificent bird but sadly to distant for our photographers.
In fields towards the main road we saw our first Common Cranes and heard their distinctive honking.
A small flock of Black-tailed Godwits landed close by but saw the cars and were off again too fast for a photo, but Spanish Sparrows, Stonechats, White Wagtails, Meadow Pipits & Marsh Harriers obliged. Further along the track Ian took us to his much loved area where a lone juvenile Flamingo has been for a few weeks feeding amongst huge flocks of Glossy Ibises, White Storks, Grey Herons etc, and also on a opposite bank, the favourite sunning/ drying spot for a group of Cormorants covered in the tell tell sign of guano. Here we also picked up high flying Griffon Vultures and a pair of Bonelli's Eagles.
At the farm area we had a lovely walk in the sunshine hoping to see, Harrier's and owl species, some of the group startled two Short-eared Owls but the usual search for Little Owl was unproductive.
Towards the town of Benalup a lovely shimmery field of cut rice produced Great White Egret, more Spoonbills, and at the bridge a huge flock of Chaffinches and Spanish Sparrows also contained Bramblings to everyone's delight.
We finished our day with a delicious lunch in Benalup and were treated to the towns carnival parade, some of us then headed for home whilst others couldn't resist another dip into La Janda where Black-shouldered Kite and Hen Harrier were recorded.
To see more photos of our day go to our GONHS face book page where photographers have posted some great sights of the day.
To become a member and join us on future trips go to our online membership page http://www.gonhs.org/membership