After an overnight transit of a 'lively' but by no means rough Bay of Biscay, we arrived slightly ahead of schedule at the northern Spanish seaport of La Coruna. Immigration and customs seemed to be little more than a formality and the sound of the gangway settling on the dock-side was quickly followed by that of my Brashers clattering down the plank. I hadn't reached the end before what was to be a full day of moderately heavy rain started, but regular readers know it would only be the Grim Reaper himself who could curtail my birdwatching!
A quick look across the town from a lofty perch and I was on my way to what Google Earth was showing as a city with little in the way of park-land or wooded areas - I need not have worried.
Hundreds of HERRING GULLs where flying above the docks while across the road on little more than a grass verge with a few trees song birds were numerous.
First of these were in excess of a dozen BLACKBIRDs (another 18 and I could have made a pie) but all were not the 'run-of-the-mill' Blackies seen at home.
Soon, this one with a Song Thrush like head came into view but being a little less than cooperative a decent image was not secured.
Males of both BLACKCAP and
along with a pair of COLLARED DOVEs preceded the next oddity. When you spot an almost 'all white' bird with a yellow/orange bill, the first thing you think of is 'Blackbird' but I certainly didn't!
but sure enough, there it was in all its glory a part albino or leucistic Blackbird.
Interestingly, the stern of the Voyager could be seen from here, so maybe I should have stayed on board with a nice cup of coffee and viewed from there rather than standing in the now pouring rain.
Next up a special bird for me and one that frequently visits the shores of Great Britain,
a WHITE WAGTAIL one of several seen during the day.
At the harbour entrance stands what looks to have once been part of the city fortifications,
but now home to dozens of BLACK-HEADED GULLs.
Along the sea wall there were many YELLOW-LEGGED GULLs, not at all common at home, so I made the most of these sightings of what is my favourite bird family.
These 2 the same bird has a noticeable streaky head,
while this is white as the driven snow.
Finally, on close inspection, a few lines can be seen on this individual.
My first reaction to the approach of this 'rigid raider' was that the Special Services were about to land, but on closer inspection it was nothing more sinister than a local Diving School.
TURNSTONEs seemed to be everywhere, but hang on a sec is that the
and Mesolithic STANDING STONES up ahead? No, just part of the local park.
The first of what was to be c6 BLACK REDSTARTs appeared here along with a Coal Tit, Song Thrush, a few Feral Pigeons, c2 Robins, a small flock of Starlings and a Wood Pigeon - not bad at all!
On a hillock, part of a huge grassy area stood this rather imposing LIGHTHOUSE and I'm wondering what The Wingers will think of this, especially as there was also a Great Tit close at hand. It was about now the rain started running from my coat and down the tops of my legs, making things very uncomfortable
but it looked as though this MEADOW PIPIT and
STONECHAT were a good deal wetter than I?
This local FISHING BOAT was spotted heading for port,
and I do believe this was the HORN of PLENTY before someone turned it upside down.
Why MEDITERRANEAN GULL should have been 'unexpected' I really cannot explain, but
it like this
MAGPIE didn't hang around too long.
More GREAT Tits, or at least that's what they looked like,
while NEON WOODPECKER, not yet described to science, tapped merrily away at this sign.
CHIFFCHAFF numbers totalled c7
which seemed of little concern to the FACELESS MERMAID who appeared to be looking seaward
at this passing SHAG.
NEPTUNE meanwhile was studying another, much more obliging,
while my next surprise were these c2
SPOTLESS STARLINGs - I hadn't even considered them in the mix.
Getting closer to the Voyager and there is a huge hole being constructed looking rather like a 'dry dock' which could just as easily be a 'boating lake', but nonetheless noisy YELLOW-LEGGED GULLs were enjoying it.
This is the same species but a younger bird in its 'second winter' of 4 before it becomes an adult. The penultimate bird of the day was a low flying Kestrel quickly followed by this
CORMORANT which landed in the dock right beside me and in sight of Home Sweet Home - get the kettle on!
More returning Fishing Boats were seen securing to the quay, but unless they had landed their catch earlier, seemed to have little for their efforts. Mooring ropes were slipped at 18:00 and soon we were on our way for a couple of days at sea and the prospect of some sea-birds - we shall see!