Sunday, 21 July 2013

Early Morning On The Coast

I got up early and left for the coast around Gruissan. Reaching the rice fields my obliging Purple Heron was still present but in a more dangerous position for pulling up in the vehicle.  I did get a few shots and indeed counted 18 Purple Herons on the rice fields. There was also a White Stork and 60 Black-winged Stilts.

Purple Heron
I moved on to the wet meadows where I estimated c200 Black-winged Stilts, c30 Wood Sandpipers, Redshank and Lapwing.  There were dozens of Little and Cattle Egrets and a single Great White Egret. A Black Kite flew over and flushed three Glossy Ibises which settled down to feed.  These birds are surely from the growing Carmargue population but white plastic rings suggest they originated from the Coto Donana in Spain.

The three Glossy Ibis
I headed off to Gruissan proper passing a flock of 12 Whimbrel on the way and drove out to the beach and round to the salt pans.

Gruissan salt pans
There were at least 100 Greater Flamingos, c40 Avocets including a lot of chicks, c30 Little and c40 Common Terns.  Not much else except another Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plovers and an Oystercatcher.  Driving back I counted 60 Kentish Plovers in a flock by a lagoon and 6 Little Stints flew over calling.  I then decided to drive to the lagoons and reedbeds at Mandirac.  It is difficult to see nowadays but I found a way of walking in and discovered another 50 Black-winged Stilts including chicks plus a couple of Common Sandpipers.  A White Stork flew over nearby. I was a bit surprised to also see a couple of Great Reed Warblers.  There was quite a bit of hirundine migration with Swallows and Sand Martins passing south all morning.  I did encounter a nice group of the latter resting on wires.
Sand Martin

Gathering of Sand Martins


It was now very hot and I need to get home.  Several Rollers and Bee-eaters had me stopping and I got some shots of the latter.

Bee-eater with food
Also heading for home I found a Red-legged Partridge with chicks.

Red-legged Partridge
An enjoyable morning but I am still thinking of brother John.

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