lunes, 26 de marzo de 2012


 Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Despite having bred on La Palma in the past, the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is no longer a resident species on the island. The example shown here was photographed in Las Martelas (Los Llanos de Aridane) this afternoon, and could well be the same bird which was regularly sighted in the same area in 2010, and last seen by me in May 2011. As mentioned in previous posts, carp and goldfish introduced into some of the freshwater irrigation ponds provide abundant, easy-to-catch prey.

Osprey surveying irrigation ponds in Las Martelas

Although no rarities have been discovered, there have been several migratory species on the island in recent weeks, including:

Las Martelas: Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola), Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Tazacorte: ca. 15 x Sand Martin (Riparia riparia), ca. 15 x Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), 10 x Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Las Salinas (Fuencaliente): Redshank (Tringa totanus), Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Gravel pits near airport: Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2012

Early March 2012

 Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Winter 2011-2012 has been one of the driest in recent years, and the forecast for spring does not look promising as regards rainfall. Many of the freshwater irrigation basins around Los Llanos are empty, and hardly any suitable habitat is available for visiting waders. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that no rarities have stayed long enough on the island to be detected in recent weeks.

Despite the difficult conditions, migratory waders always manage to find something to eat. The Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) shown here, is one of the few scarcer migrants currently present. There were also two Common Redshanks (Tringa totanus), two Dunlins (Calidris alpina) and one Sanderling (Calidris alba) at the saltpans in Fuencaliente on March 13.

The Moorhens (Gallinula chloropus), monitored every year in the Los Llanos and Tazacorte areas, have already started breeding: in the irrigation basin below, at the time of writing, a month-old chick survives from a brood of at least 4. The nest was on the access steps into the basin and contained 6 eggs when first discovered. One of the parent birds is shown here building a refuge platform after both the original nest, and a later platform, were destroyed by changing water levels. According to a local plantation worker, the other 3 chicks from the brood were predated by a Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

 Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) at work on floating platform

Finally, an unusually large number of Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) have been observed in the Tazacorte area. Below are six members of a flock of 10 birds, together with five Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta).

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) + Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)