16 January 2015

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica

Luscinia Svecica

Length: 13-14cm

A rather small bird and slim bird with long thin legs, in all plumages told by obvious whitish supercilium and rusty-red patch on sides of tail-base (often seen in flight, or when perched bird flicks tail up).

The male has a bright blue bib, bordered below by a narrow black and white band and a broader rusty-red one. Inlaid in the centre of the blue, birds in N. Europe have a rusty throat patch, those in the rest of Europe a small white patch or none at all. As you can see from the photos this bird has a small white patch.

In autumn, some of the bright throat colours are replaced by yellowish-white areas.

The females have variable throat markings: usually just an arc of black spots on creamy-white ground. Older birds occasionally have some blue, plus black and rusty border across breast.

The bluethroat in Europe breeds in swamplands by fens and rivers overgrown with bushes, reeds, alder etc. It feeds on insects. Nests in tussock or low dense willow bush.

It is a common winter visitor to costal wetlands and La Janda.

We hope you have enjoyed these photos of the Bluethroat.

Until our next outing!

El Brazo del este

For our first outing of 2015 we decided to visit El Brazo del Este. We hadn't been there in a while and thought it could be a good place to start the year.

We still hadn't got to the marshlands when we were already seeing plenty of bird activity. Flocks of Sparrows and Goldfinches were flying up along the side of the road, settling down in the trees and bushes before setting off again. We kept a close eye on all of these small birds on the look out for Reed Buntings.  A short while later we spotted a big group of Rock sparrows.

Rock Sparrow

Meadow Pipit

White Wagtail

We continued slowly along the road and there was plenty to see....

Reed Bunting
House Sparrow
Fan Tailed Warbler
Crested Lark
Meadow Pipit
Black Redstart
White Wagtail
Black Winged Kite
Marsh Harrier
Common Buzzard
Light Phased Booted Eagle

It was a good start to our day and we still hadn't arrived at the main area of El Brazo del Este. Once there we encountered over 30 Black Crowned Night Herons, with plenty of juvenile birds within the adults.

Night Heron

Night Herons

Juvenile Night Heron

Night Heron

We also saw the following birds around the first areas we observed...

Squacco Heron
Grey Heron
Great White Egret
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
White Stork
Black Stork
Purple gallinule

Squacco Heron

Black-winged Stilt

Black Stork

Purple Galinule

We carried on further, talking about the possibility of catching a glimpse of a Bluethroat. We stopped to observe a flooded area with the scope where we saw the following...

Black Winged Stilt
Glossy Ibis
Northern Shoveler

Whilst observing this area a group of smaller birds grabbed our attention further up the track. On the side of the track there were Chiffchaffs, White Wagtails and Meadow Pipits feeding, and in amongst them was a Bluethroat. We had managed to spot it very early into our day so we were delighted. We observed it for a long time and in the end there were 3 in total. The post above will explain a little more about this beautiful bird, along with the photos we managed to take. We had hoped to see it but for it to be that close and managing to get photos of it was a bonus, a great day already!

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier


We moved further into El Brazo del Este and here is a list of the other birds we managed to see....

Little Grebe
Spotted redshank
Whiskered Tern
Spanish Imperial Eagle (juv)
Dark Phase Booted Eagle

We enjoyed our first outing of 2015 which turned out to be very successful. We will be out soon and we hope you enjoy these photos along with the next post dedicated to the Bluethroat.