Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sanderling census of La Safor

Sanderling in Winter Plummage

On Sunday 27th November we took part in the Sanderling Census of La Safor which was organised by the “Associació Ornitológica De La Safor”.
The stretch of Mediterranean coastline to be studied was that between Playa de Tavernes in the north to Playa de Oliva in the south.  We grouped into 4 teams, each having a designated section of beach. Our particular area was from Marenys (just south of the port of Gandia) to Diamus.  We commenced at 0830hrs under very cloudy skies, although thankfully no wind. Sea conditions were choppy although certainly not severe.
Much to subsequent amusement of our fellow birders, our stretch of beach turned up absolutely no Sanderlings whatsoever!  However, the day´s count for the whole area was 323.  Although we managed to find no Sanderlings, we did spot 16 other species.
The day commenced with Grey Heron and Little Egret, both of which were fishing in the mouth of the river Serpis. As we made our way down the beach we saw 16 Pied Wagtails, 4 Cormorants, a pair of Black Redstarts, 2 Common Terns, 6 Yellow Legged Gulls, 1 Black Headed Gull, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Kentish Plovers and 3 Sandwich Terns. The small river mouth at Diamus revealed a pair of Moorhen, a Robin, a Hoopoe and a first winter Grey Wagtail.

Audouin´s Gulls
Audouin´s Gulls on the beaches of La Safor

However, the highlight of the day was a group of 18 Audouin´s Gulls on the beach at Diamus.  Once finished, five of us met for a brief scan over Gandia marsh where we saw 2 Marsh Harriers and enjoyed great views of a Booted Eagle.

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