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Barbate & La Janda 24th February 2024

26 February 2024

Outing Report: Barbate & La Janda 24th February 2024

The morning started with our traditional breakfast stop, in Tahivilla in La Janda.  We found that it was low tide and decided to make the Barbate estuary our first stop.  A drive down a dirt track produced plenty of birds, but muddy conditions made driving difficult.  Highlights were Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, some Spoonbills and Greater Flamingos, an assortment of waders including the only Turnstones of the day, and a Great Egret.  The surrounding slopes held many Corn Buntings, Thekla’s and Calandra Larks, whilst Crested Larks and Yellow Wagtails were on the salt marsh.  A pair of Stone-curlews produced great excitement.  They provided excellent views.

We moved on to a different section of the marsh, next to the bridge at Barbate itself.  Barn Swallows were nest-building under the bridge.  Sanderling and Common Ringed Plover were common on the mudflats, where there were hundreds of Dunlin.  A few Kentish Plovers, Grey Plovers and Common Redshank were also present.  Whimbrel and Curlew strutted close to each other, allowing for useful comparison, and a Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher were also present.  The many Cormorants engendered discussion about the huge increase in the species throughout the region.  A scan of the gulls and terns produced Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed, Audouin’s, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls, as well as Caspian and Sandwich Terns.  An Osprey sat on a pole and then flew over the marsh.

A very satisfied group headed to La Barca de Vejer, to enjoy the extremely confiding Northern Bald Ibises at their most accessible breeding colony, where they share ledges with many Jackdaws.  Excellent views were had, of birds sitting metres away from us and others constantly flying in.  A quick bite was in order, after which we headed into La Janda via Benalup.

We stopped immediately past Benalup, at the entrance towards La Janda.  There were many White Storks, two or three Lesser Kestrels and a small group of Red-rumped Swallows hawking over a field.  We were looking for another inhabitant of the area though and were soon onto two superb male Little Bustards that gave excellent prolonged views.  This was surely the bird of the day.  Further along were many Spanish Sparrows and a few hundred Common Cranes.  La Janda was quiet, no doubt because it was now afternoon, but a reasonable range of birds of prey were picked up such as Hen and Marsh Harriers, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Common Buzzard, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures.  We eventually made our way back to Gibraltar, most satisfied after a very enjoyable and well-attended outing, with 78 species of birds recorded.

Birds observed


Mallard Common Greenshank Osprey Red-rumped Swallow
Red-legged Partridge Sanderling Black Kite Zitting Cisticola
Greater Flamingo Dunlin Egyptian Vulture Common Chiffchaff
Common Woodpigeon Little Stint Griffon Vulture Cetti's Warbler
Rock Dove Black-headed Gull Short-toed Eagle Eurasian Blackcap
Collared Dove Audouin's Gull Western Marsh Harrier Sardinian Warbler
Little Bustard Mediterranean Gull Hen Harrier Spotless Starling
Common Moorhen Yellow-legged Gull Eurasian Sparrowhawk European Stonechat
Common Crane Lesser Black-backed Gull Common Buzzard House Sparrow
Stone-curlew Caspian Tern Eurasian Hoopoe Spanish Sparrow
Black-winged Stilt Sandwich Tern Lesser Kestrel Grey Wagtail
Pied Avocet White Stork Common Kestrel Western Yellow Wagtail
Eurasian Oystercatcher Great Cormorant Peregrine Falcon White Wagtail
Grey Plover Little Egret Eurasian Jackdaw Common Chaffinch
Common Ringed Plover Western Cattle Egret Common Raven European Greenfinch
Kentish Plover Great Egret Calandra Lark Common Linnet
Ruddy Turnstone Grey Heron Thekla's Lark European Serin
Whimbrel Glossy Ibis Crested Lark Corn Bunting
Eurasian Curlew Northern Bald Ibis Barn Swallow  
Black-tailed Godwit Eurasian Spoonbill Western House Martin  


Little bustard
Little Bustard - bird of the day! (photo Steven Morgan)
Marsh Harrier
A male Marsh Harrier (photo Jason Mesilio)
Fan-tailed Warbler
Zitting Cisticola (photo Jason Mesilio)
group photo
Group photo
Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt (photo by Jason Mesilio)
Northern Bald Ibis
Northern Bald Ibis (photo Jason Mesilio)
Cormorant (photo Jason Mesilio)
birding under the bridge
birding under the bridge