Guadlahorce 1st January 2013
A bright day, windy and threatening rain - which never materialised. We didn´t get to the reserve until midday, with the thought of staying there until late to see the Short-eared Owls. En route we saw Spotless Starlings, Azure-winged Magpies, Collared Doves, Blackbird, White Wagtails and House Sparrows.
As we entered the reserve we saw a huge flock of some seventy Cormorants, then a Buzzard was seen quartering the rough grasses. A few Jackdaws passed overhead and in the small bushes we saw Black Redstart, Stonechats, White Wagtails, Goldfinches, Zitting Cisticolas and Chiffchaffs.
Cetti´s Warblers were heard alongside the estuary and Little Egrets were hunting the shallow edges. A few Moorhens and Common Coots were seen and several flocks of the raucous Monk Parakeets were seen. In the reeds there were several horses grazing and these were accompanied by good numbers of Cattle Egrets. Two Booted Eagles made an appearance as did a Common Kestrel.
|Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennaus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
At the Laguna de la Casilla we found Pochard, Mallards, Teal, Gadwalls, Common Coots and over this laguna several Crag Martins were seen with the Booted Eagle making another appearance. Along to the Rio Viejo hide and here we picked up three Greenshank, Black-winged Stilts, a Common Sandpiper, Little Grebes and in the bushes here we saw Goldfinches, Chiffchaffs and Black Redstarts. Further along at the marshy area, we spotted a pair of Shelduck, a single juvenile Greater Flamingo, Sardinian Warblers, a Zitting Cisticola and another Buzzard. A huge lift-off of ducks from the Laguna Casilla gave us good views of a Peregrine Falcon.
|Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
At the sea viewing building we located a large flock of some forty Common Scoters also Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and a lone Mediterranean Gull. Some eight Gannets were also seen. A few spits of rain were felt as the sky darkened over but the wind drove the clouds away pretty quickly. A couple of Lesser Blacked-backed Gulls flew over as did more Cormorants. On the waste ground here we saw Thekla Larks and a few Stonechats.
|Shovelers Cuchara Comun Anas clypeata (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
Walking back to the Laguna Grande hide we saw the Common Kestrel hovering and the two Booted Eagles were seen again. At the hide (Laguna Grande) we found Black-necked and Little Grebes; Grey Herons were all over the laguna as were Cormorants. Two more Greater Flamingos, Shovelers, Moorhens, Common Coots were also seen. The Buzzard was spotted on the "Osprey pole" and a Booted Eagle flew into and perched in the bush opposite the hide. In the foreground a single Snipe was spotted and in the distance three Marsh Harriers graced our final minutes here.
We waited until close to six o´clock but the Short-eared Owls never showed; an "otra dia" possibly.
|Snipe Agachadiza Comun Gallinago gallinago (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
Thanks John and Jenny. Could be you were trying to see the Short-eared Owls from the "wrong" vantage point; you nee to be near the big field between the last hide and the footbridge for, potentially, the nest chance of a sight.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.