Also moving through now are Blackcaps. Males precede the females and many of these birds are coming from south of the Sahara. Years ago, when I studied them by ringing hundreds, I found that the birds arriving now were really low in reserves weighing as little as a third of the weight of fat migrants in autumn! But they feed busily and soon recover lost weight. You can pick these migrants up easily. They are much whiter in the belly, and have longer and more pointed wings, than the local residents. Some wintering species are still left, preparing to move north soon.
Male Blackcap at La Janda - 7th February, 2010 - a pale migrant refuelling on stop-over
Wintering cranes lingering in La Janda - 7th February, 2010
With few migrants we concentrated on the resident breeding birds that are now showing signs of activity. Purple Gallinules are looking very interested in some flattened reeds. Here are some of the residents we managed to photograph.