Thursday, 9 August 2012

Avian Action at La Janda

As the sun set over Vejerde la Frontera in Cadiz province, Andalucía, the surrounding area below this white village or 'pueblo blanco' known as La Janda had been receiving thousands of new migrant birds that arrive in the southern tip of the European mainland and feed up in preparation for their onward journey across The Strait of Gibraltar to Africa

A European Roller was a pleasant surprise to see passing through this vast former laguna and now mechanised agricultural area

Five Little Bustards were also seen, nowadays quite a rare sight. They were feeding on insects at a newly cut grass field that's used as winter silage

I managed to get some flight shots as the birds took to the air

Little Bustard

Here's a typical scene at La Janda with a young Montagu's Harrier hunting over the rice-fields

Thousands of White Storks are now feeding in this huge fertile agricultural area, artificially controlled with water to keep the various crops of rice, maize, sunflowers and cotton irrigated

Huge spiralling flocks of White Storks take to the air, the young birds practicing their soaring and gliding techniques on the hot thermals that build up during the day

...some birds even do a casual in-flight preening as the warm currents of air lift them effortlessly higher into the blue skies above western Andalucía

Back on the ground the smaller passerines are moving through the county. Here's a Reed Warbler skulking in the reed-beds

Sedge Warblers were also seen as were Western Olivaceous Warbler, Willow Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Spectacled Warbler and Bonelli's Warbler

Glossy Ibis have also bred successfully over the years with breeding colonies firmly established in and around the La Janda area. They favour mixed flock roosts and communal nesting groups. Their nests can be found amongst other wetland species that nest in trees and higher bushes. Other nesting birds here include Little Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron and the ubiquitous Cattle Egret that alone has thousands of nesting pairs in La Janda

A Grey Heron takes off as a Little Egret decides to stay put

Great Egrets have apparently nested in Cadiz but as yet I have not found any nest

Two juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons fly past

A Little Egret take to the wing

This is a very fresh looking Purple Heron on the edge of a rice-field

Another youngster, a Glossy Ibis practices flight

A shot of a departing Squacco Heron flying across an unusually verdant August landscape at La Janda
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