I have just received an emailed report about the visit Nigel Smith from the Barnsley, Yorkshire area of the UK made to Nerja last month and his birding experience. I have tried to copy verbatim the result so that others may see how the area is appreciated and viewed by non-residents.
RIO VELEZ - 25th DECEMBER - Mallard c20, Black Necked Grebe 1 on sea, Gannet 1 adult, Cormorant 6, Cattle Egret 1, Little Egret 1, Grey Heron 2, Kestrel 1, Moorhen c25, Coot 1, Ringed Plover 2, Sanderling 3, Green Sandpiper 1, Mediterranean Gull 100's, Black Headed Gull c100, LBB Gull 100's, Yellow Legged Gull c25, Crag Martin 2, White Wagtail 12, Grey Wagtail 3, Black Redstart 1, Cetti's Warbler c10, Meadow Pipit c20. As you mentioned the rains have certainly altered the course of the river especially towards the beach. Nearly all the gulls were on the western side of the river on the fields covered in plastic?
NERJA - 25th DECEMBER - Gannet 2 adults, Cormorant 1, Cattle Egret c20, Kestrel 1, Mediterranean Gull 100's heading west, Crag Martin 9, Grey Wagtail 2, Black Redstart 2, Cetti's Warbler 1, Blackcap 4, Sardinian Warbler 6.
RIO GUADALHORCE - 28th DECEMBER - Gadwall c10, Teal c30, Mallard c15, Shoveler c50, Pochard c30, Common Scoter 37 on sea, White Headed Duck 1 male, Little Grebe c30, Black Necked Grebe 2, Gannet 7, Cormorant 360+ roosting, Little Egret 5, Grey Heron 19, Greater Flamingo 8, Marsh Harrier 10, Sparrowhawk 1, Buzzard 1, Booted Eagle 2, Osprey 1, Kestrel 2, Moorhen c20, Coot c30, Black Winged Stilt 7, Redshank 1, Green Sandpiper 1, Turnstone 2 on beach, Black Headed Gull 100's, LBB Gull 100's, Short Eared Owl 1, Meadow Pipit c15, White Wagtail c50, Robin 1, Black Redstart c10, Stonechat c10, Cetti's Warbler c10, Fan Tailed Warbler c10, Sardinian Warbler c10, Chiffchaff c50. Again stayed untill dark for roosting Harriers and Short-eared Owls. Saw 1 Short-eared 4 times, firstly at about 4pm behind hide at Laguna Grande. Harriers came in much later than at Cantarranas and were split 5 over Laguna Grande and 5 over reedbed at rear of hide with Short-eared. Counted Cormorants when they flew into large trees, a fantastic sight. There were about half a dozen local birders still there when I left, presumably for Short-eareds.
LAGUNA DULCE - 30th DECEMBER - Teal c20, Mallard c20, Shoveler c30, Red Crested Pochard 3 pairs, Pochard c50, Tufted Duck 17, White Headed Duck pair, Little Grebe 2, Black Necked Grebe 4, Black-shouldered Kite 1, Marsh Harrier 1 male, Hen Harrier 1 male, Coot 565, Common Crane 2, Lapwing c50, White Wagtail c50, Black Redstart 2, Stonechat 2, Cetti's Warbler 1, Corn Bunting c10.
FUENTA DE PIEDRA - 30th DECEMBER - Shelduck c20, Gadwall c20, Teal c100, Mallard c20, Shoveler 100's possibly 1000's, Pochard 35, Little Grebe 31, Black Necked Grebe 3, Cattle Egret 2, Greater Flamingo 100's possibly 1000's, Marsh Harrier 2 around visitor centre, roost at Cantarranas had a minimum of 17 birds, Hen Harrier 6 males and 1 ringtail in roost at Cantarranas, Water Rail calling at Cantarranas, Moorhen c20, Coot c100, Purple Swamphen 2 at Cantarranas, Common Crane 81 in field at Cantarranas plus groups of c150, c50, 38 and 8 over, Black-winged Stilt c20, Ruff 2 males and 1 female, Snipe 1, Southern Grey Shrike 2.
RIO GUADALHORCE - 31st DECEMBER - Shelduck 2 + 7 on sea, Gadwall c10, Teal c10, Mallard c20, Shoveler c30, Pochard c40, Common Scoter 71 on sea, White Headed Duck 1 male + 2 females, Little Grebe c15, Black Necked Grebe 2, Gannet c20, Cormorant c200, Cattle Egret 1, Little Egret 2, Grey Heron 22, Greater Flamingo 4, Buzzard 2, Booted Eagle 1, Kestrel 2, Peregrine 1, Moorhen c20, Coot c30, Purple Swamphen 1,Black Winged Stilt 12, Kentish Plover 1, Sanderling 3, Redshank 1, Greenshank 3, Green Sandpiper 1, Mediterranean Gull 1, Black Headed Gull 100's, LBB Gull 100's, Yellow Legged Gull c50, Sandwich Tern 13, Meadow Pipit c30, White Wagtail c50, Robin 2, Black Redstart c10, Stonechat c10, Cetti's Warbler c10, Fan Tailed Warbler (Zitting Cisticola) c10, Sardinian Warbler c10, Chiffchaff c50.
NERJA - 31st DECEMBER - Greater Flamingo 31 in off sea, Cattle Egret c40, Crag Martin c60 roosting on cliffs eastern end of Burriana beach.
A mid-day visit to Guadalhorce today and back to Nerja for New Years Eve festivities. Very few people at Guadalhorce today, had a very pleasant walk round this very good reserve. Very impressed with the hides, notice boards and paths. Had fantastic views of a Purple Swamphen and the Sandwich Terns were nice to see.
If you were not sure where to visit during the next couple of weeks then the above should give a very good indication of what birds are about. Have you seen a Common Scoter this year or recently? What about the Black-shouldered Kite at Laguna Dulce or the Harrier roost (Marsh and Hen) at the Cantarranas Mirador at Fuente de Piedra. This is also the site where you are most likely to see our wintering Common Cranes.
Very many thanks Nigel for sharing your experience with us and reminding we residents what is out there waiting to be observed. We look forward to your return to this area and the hope that you will be able to join us on a future birding visit.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.