Sandwiches and Gannets

Lovely sunny and calm days provide excelent feeding conditions for Terns and Gannets VERY close to land. I took these shots yesterday from the Pueblo Indalo pier. Lots of Sandwich terns can be seen dive bombing all along the shore and fishing baby fish.

Sandwich terns and Gannets can be seen at any time of the year from here in Mojacar.

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Wintering Chiffchaff

In the south east of Spain Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps use the flowering aloes in the gardens. This footage was taken in Mojacar 1 Jan 2011.

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Wintering birds in the Sierra

Our Dec surveys have shown the the following species of birds winter in Sierra Cabrera:
Bonelli’s Eagle
Rock Thrush
Black Redstart
Black Wheather
Thekla Lark
Great Tit
Crag Martin
Sardininan Worbler
Dartford Warbler
Red-legged Partrige

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What do Black Wheatears eat?

Well, that’s exactly what José A Hodar studied in the Guadix basin, south-east Spain, between 1989 and 1991. And how did he do that? Well, he collected some fecal samples (yes, Black Wheatear poo) and analyzed it.
What he found was that Black Wheatear likes and feeds on caper fruits during the summer moths when fruits are soft, and Black Wheatears play an important role in the seed dispersal of capers (endozoochory).
Ants are the main prey item for Black Wheatears. Ants are the only predictable and available food source throughout the year.
During the winter Black Wheatears actively select centipedes. Grasshoppers are for the autumn when they are not so mobile due to lower temperatures.

Summarizing, Black Wheatears eat ants all year round, and capers, millipedes, and grasshoppers when they are in season.

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Skuas in Mojacar

It is not unusual to see several species of Skuas on the coast of Almeria, some are on passage and some, Bonxies (Stercorarius skua), winter in the area and can be seen among the gulls that follow the fishing boats in the evening. I found two recoveries of Bonxies while looking for any ringing data in Mojacar.

Both Bonxies were ringed in the Island of Foula in Shetland, UK, as chicks, and both were found dead on the beach in winter.

The first bird was ringed in Foula in July 1976 and was found dead in December 1989, the bird was 13 years old. The other bird was ringed in June 1995 and found dead in 1998, only 3 years old.

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Are the fires good news for the environment?

More fires in Sierra Cabrera? This is not necessarily bad for some species. Some years ago a study in Catalonia described an increase in the Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) population after fires.

The Black Wheatear is a species associated to arid areas and doesn’t seem to like vertical structures. Fires seemed to provide more suitable habitat: bare and open, perfect for recolonization of the wheatears.


Image source:

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Parnassius apoplo rediscovered in Almeria


Once abundant in the region, the montane butterfly Parnassius apollo filabricus disappeared from los Filabres due to intensive collection and was one of the first invertebrates to be included in the IUCN’s Red List.

Continue reading

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Photographic guide of Almeria Flowers

A great web with lots of pictures of flowers, wich comes very handy for the lack of complete guides.

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Flower walk in Sierra Cabrera

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Articles on coral reef in the Med

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