2020 Hotspot birding summary 1: January

Birding my Lleida-based Hotspot …

Birding my Lleida-based Hotspot throught the month of January I have reached 128 species, spent 65 litres of fuel, done 16 birding excursions – January’s a quiet month on the work front. Also 13 different Hoopoes seen, as I’ve started counting them individually!

But birds are not numbers… birds are colours, calls, encounters, walks, contemplation, countryside, frustration, satisfaction, and balance. And more…

Bonelli’s Eagle, Aquila fasciata

It surprises me that with Lleida shrouded in fog for most of the month I actually managed to see some of these birds, as what springs to mind above all are the mornings of frustration when looking out the window into thick, stagnant, fog and feeling it was hardly worth getting up.
However, there have been many highlights:

  • A Saturday morning with Florinda at the extreme north of the hotspot, watching Dippers in the river, a Wallcreeper flit across the rock face, a perched Peregrine and a small flock of Rock Buntings.
  • All the “normal” wintering species, including Brambling, Siskin, Fieldfare, Redwing, Hawfinch, Merlin, Hen Harrier
  • Regular white-spotted Bluethroats in the extreme east, most in delightful colourful plumage
  • Goldcrests, Coal Tits, Bearded Tits and a huge bunting flock in the extreme south
  • A Herring Gull and a Black Stork at the city dump
  • The local Eagle Owl perched in its regular spot after 3 blank look-ins
  • Flocks of Little Bustards, Stone Curlews and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and a single, solitary Bonelli’s Eagle

Love to love Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Pterocles alchata

Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo

I had a couple of half-hearted attempts at locating the Common Gull reported on the Estany d’Ivars – without luck – as well as a single Jack Snipe at the same location. But winter’s not over yet, is it?