Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Vultures at close quarters!

The song goes, "Mama's taking us to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow...." etc.  Well, in this case, it was more a question of Lesley taking Gerry to the zoo last week - in Barcelona.  Gerry was obviously most impressed and, certainly, if you want to get close up to a few vultures and practise your photography then where better to go?  We can get pretty close to Griffon Vultures at the shelter near Salares and use a long lens but would you see so much detail, I think not!  The same is certainly true when you, if your fortunate, see a Lammergeier in the wild.  take a look at Gerry's, presumably hand-held, photographs below.

A very clean-looking Griffon Vulture Buitre Leonardo Gyps fulvus
Now if only we could see this in th ewild - or lose the bars!

I'll just check outside the window in case one is drifting by!

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Monday, 29 April 2013

John & Jenny Wainwright at the Cacin Gorge

When I think that yesterday, Sunday, started with a couple of light showers followed by glorious sunshine then more rain late in the day and this morning produced heavy rain for about four hours through the afternoon before brightening up, why was I not surprised to hear that John and Jenny had had snow, never mind lots of rain, over in the Salar / Loja area?  But at least they managed to get out and about and a visit to the nearby Cacin Gorge. It was also good to hear that the pair of Bonelli's Eagles breeding further over into Granada Province  are doing a fine job raising their single chick.

 Cacin Gorge area 29th April 2013

 Bright, then overcast and small amounts of rain, very cold wind.

Barn Swallow Golondrina Comun Hirundo rustica (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

En route to the gorge we saw Bee-eaters, Spotless Starling, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Common Magpies, House Sparrows, Mistle and Song Thrushes, a Rock Sparrow, Barn Swallows and House Martins.

Melodious Warbler Zarcero Comun Hippolais polyglotta (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

At the Turro dam lake we found at least eleven Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper, White Wagtails, Common Swift, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, House Martins, Mallard, a singing Melodious Warbler, Stonechat, Corn Buntings, Cuckoo, Cetti´s and Sardinian Warblers.  A Goshawk soared overhead and a Golden Oriole called from the other side of the lake.

Here also we saw Cirl and Corn Bunting, Common Kestrel, Jackdaws, Great Tits, Crag and House Martins, Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Crested Lark, Woodchat Shrike, Serin and another Hoopoe.

It's started to rain again so making way home.

John and Jenny Wainwright 

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Friday, 26 April 2013

Ortolan Bunting at the Guadalhorce, Malaga

Friday 26 April

What a day was had by Ivan and Inger!  With my local birding friends we have commented upon the lack of raptors to be seen at the moment but, at least, Ivan and Inger did manage a Common Kestrel.  Good to see that the Common Scoters are still about and also the Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper and Ruff.  However, finding the Ortolan Bunting was a real bonus and the star of the day.  Green is going to become the colour of the month as real envy sets in!

Have a safe journey back to Denmark next week and we all look forward to your return next autumn.

Today no mercy to Inger. No siesta on the sofa dreaming of Red-billed Tropicbird.  No, up early morning heading for Guadalhorce, spending all day there.  Probably our last visit this time, as we are going back to Denmark on Tuesday. 

We had an interesting day beginning with 14-15 Common Scoters in the sea, then a Whimbrel, 4 Whiskered Terns and a Corn Bunting near the Sea-watch.  In the old river many waders; among others Curlew Sandpipers, a single Wood Sandpiper and a single Ruff.  Further on to Laguna Casilla, where we had a Purple Heron, 2 Squacco Herons and a Little Bitten.  The day ended with an Ortolan Bunting near the hide at Laguna Grande.  Our first Ortolan Bunting ever in Guadalhorce.

A full list with 58 species are listed below:

Mallard; Gadwall; Pochard; Common Scoter; White-headed Duck; Cormorant; Little Bittern; Squacco Heron; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Purple Heron; Flamingo; Kestrel; Moorhen; Coot; Black-winged Stilt; Little Ringed Plover; Kentish Plover; Sanderling; Dunlin; Curlew Sandpiper; Wood Sandpiper; Common Sandpiper; Redshank; Greenshank; Whimbrel; Ruff; Black-headed Gull; Yellow-legged Gull; Whiskered Tern; Rock Dove; Collared Dove; Turtle Dove; Monk Parakeet; Common Swift; Pallid Swift; Bee-eater; Crested Lark; Sand Martin; Barn Swallow; Red-rumped Swallow; House Martin; Yellow Wagtail; Nightingale; Blackbird; Sardinian Warbler; Zitting Cisticola; Cetti's Warbler; Reed Warbler; Woodchat Shrike; Spotless Starling; House Sparrow; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Serin; Ortolan Bunting; Corn Bunting.

Hopefully we are back mid September, where we are planning a trip to Tarifa to watch the birds of prey leaving Europe.

Inger and Ivan

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

Rio Velez, Torre del mar

Friday 26 April

A Collared Pratincole Canastera Comun  Glareola pratincola takes flight at the Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Squacco Heron  Ardeola ralloide
A lovely calm, sunny day with very little cloud so off down to the Rio Velez at Torre del Mar to meet up with Steve and Elena Powell for a walk from the N340 road bridge down to the beach and back via the pumping station.  Amazing to see the way that the river has recovered from its winter bruising with lots of shingle banks in the river itself and lush vegetation growing up on the banks.  Whilst waiting for my friends I had the resident Rock Doves all around me and a rather handsome male Serin on the wires above.  All around me the air was alive with the song of Nightingales; what a glorious Squacco Heron that posed nicely for the camera.  Returning to meet up with Steve and Elena I had first a couple of Red-rumped Swallows followed by a number of Barn Swallows.
symphony.  Indeed, the short walk upstream under the road bridge soon brought birds into view and, further along, I cam across a lonely

So off we went down the track to see if the recent wader invasion was still present; it most certainly was!  House Sparrows all around with Blackbirds darting back and forth across the river and then the first waders, a handful of Redshank.  Next to these larger waders we found a pair of Wood Sandpipers along with a single Common Sandpiper and the first of very many Ringed Plovers.  Indeed, these birds far outnumbered their smaller cousins the Little Ringed Plover.  However, by far the most numerous were the Dunlins of which there must have been in excess of thirty in a range of moults plus at least twenty Sanderling.  Not to be outdone, we also had a single Curlew Sandpiper in with the this large mixed group of small waders.

Curlew Sandpiper  Correlimos Zarapitin  Calidris ferruginea 

Meanwhile, along the path we had first a Reed Warbler and then a number of Cetti's Warblers.  Most pleasing, though, was probably the female Pied Flycatcher, a second of which was to be recorded not soon after.  Above us a pair of Common Swifts then, a little later, the arrival of a small number of Pallid Swifts.  Now we also had House Martins joining the Barn Swallows.  Finally, the odd Spotless Starling and a few Goldfinches before we we found ourselves on the beach where excavation work was underway.

Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba with two Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina

More Ringed Plovers, Sanderlings and Dunlins on the pool edges plus a pair of Blue-headed Wagtails (Flava iberiae) and the first of two Little Egrets.  A couple of Kentish Plovers were then identified.  Moving slowly up river, "eagle eyes" Elena found a couple of small brown objects on a sand bar and closer inspection revealed six Collared Pratincoles who remained very calm as we approached and took photographs.  Well, they did till the idiot in the orange T-shirt decided a walk in the river before finally crossing to the other side seemed an obvious action to undertake.  A rather sad looking Black-headed Gull seemed not long for this world.

One of six Collared Pratincole  Canastera Comun  Glareola pratincola at the Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Next a Sardinian Warbler and then, finally, amongst all the feeding House Sparrows on the seeding grasses a pair of Linnets closely followed by a rather lovely pair of Woodchat Shrikes.  Back to the cars with 35 species recorded and the big decision, where shall we stop for coffee?

Wood Sandpiper  Andarrios Bastardo  Tringa glareola

 Birds in flight:

(Above)  Collared Pratincoles Canastera Comun  Glareola pratincola

Curlew Sandpiper  Correlimos Zarapitin  Calidris ferruginea  off to pastures new.

 Other birds seen:

A beautiful singing Nightingale Ruisenor Comun Luscinia megarhynchos

Pied Flycatcher  Papamoscas Cerrojillo Ficedula hypoleuca

Woodchat Shrike Alcaudon Comun Lanius senator

Two of six Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus at the Rio Velez, Torre del Mar
 Finally, but not least, there were also butterflies to be seen:
Speckled Wood  Pararge aegeria
Large White  Pieris brassicae


Birds seen:
Mallard, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Collared Pratincole, Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Do Dunnocks breed in the Axarquia?

Thursday 25 April
Dunnock  Acentor Comun  Prunella modularis

An interesting hour or so up at the Alcaucin lower picnic site this morning made more intriguing by the the return journey.  No sooner had  I left the track than just after the second bend as I, literally, crawled down the road in the hire car, I had a Dunnock feeding on the grass verge right in front of me.  No sooner seen and eye brows raised than a second bird was seen, presumably, picking up grit at the side of the road.  I was able to sop immediately, not so much a six-pence more a penny piece, and study the bird in the wing mirror.   Reversing slightly gave me a better view but there was no chance of actually getting out of the car, not least also because to the two 4 x 4s rapidly approaching a couple of bends away on this very narrow road.  Just as I was about to photograph the mirror image, naturally, the bird moved away and then the above cars were round the corner and almost inside my car.

Late April and Dunnocks still with us and as a pair.  Too late, surely, for migrating birds so the question, once again, is do Dunnocks breed in the Axarquia district?  Is it not sufficient for the annual winter visits to Steve and Elena Powell's garden up in Frigiliana?  Who next will see one or more of these shy, but very randy, little brown jobs?

One very happy Nuthatch Trepador Azul Sitta europaea at Alcaucin

Back to the beginning; Stonechats on the way up and down along with Goldfinches but very little to be seen at the actual picnic site.  A lovely singing Nuthatch and plenty of Crossbills to be seen, mainly juveniles, along with Blackbird and Chaffinch.  A Green Woodpecker "yaffled" off in the distance and as I made my way down through the various picnic areas I had a quick view of a Short-toed Treecreeper along with a male Great Tit.  A few Serins, including a rather handsome male bird, were also recorded along with a single Coal Tit.  Amazing, only eleven species seen in the area and yet five were new for the month!

Female Crossbill Piquituerto Comun Loxia curvirostra

As already stated, the return drive down the mountain was noted for the Dunnocks, a Collared Dove on top of a wooden pole and then the arrival of the House Sparrows and Barn Swallows as soon as I reached human habitation.

Finally, a little furry rodent on the path alongside the watercourse above the picnic area.  I am not sure who was the more surprised.  I shall have to check it out but I can only presume that it was an Edible Mouse.  A lovely, clean and light "gingery-brown" in colour it sat upright, eating grass seeds I think, just like a miniature Hamster or Gerbil.  No sign of a tail as it was in short grass.  I slowly eased back shortening the lens from 4400 to 1oo and at the same time changing the focus form 6 to 3m to infinity.  But no, the little , furry animal had finally worked out that I should not have been there and slowly ambled under the nearby vegetation on the slope.  I wonder what it was?

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Tuesday 23 April
Black Tern Childonias niger

Wondrous and inspiring as it may be, there are only so many time that I might want to visit theCar Museum in Malaga in any one six-month period so, when it was decided that the said museum would be a great place to take our grand daughter and partner for a late morning visit I opted out and settled for a couple of hours at the Gualalhorce.  The winds of the mountain were still present when I arrived but at least the clouds had broken and it was very pleasantly warm, just a shame that the strong breeze would keep many of the small brown jobs well and truly concealed.  No sooner had I walked up the slope to the western canal bank and I was greeted by a single Whiskered Tern working the waters immediately in front; not sure what the local anglers thought of this!

Black-winged Stilt  Himantopus himantopus

A few House Sparrows but by the time I reached the footbridge there were scores of House Martins in the sky.  Indeed, the whole reserve was awash with both House Martins and Barn Swallows along with a good number of Common Swifts feeding over the eastern side of the reserve.  However, when calling in at the Laguna Escondida on the return walk it was Sand Martins that were in the ascendancy with just the occasional House Martin.  Only when I re-crossed the footbridge did I finally record a Red-rumped Swallow, and having seen the first it was quickly followed by up to a handful.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Arriving at the Laguna Casillas I found just two, hidden, Little Egrets plus a quintet of Gadwall and a pair of Pochard along with a pair of Coot and a Moorhen.  Only a single White-headed Duck in sight but a half-dozen males of the species.  A Sardinian Warbler made a brief sortie before disappearing once more out of sight.  Leaving the hide to move on to the Wader Pool a single Purple Heron flew east in front of me closely followed by a juvenile Flamingo.  The second water, in contrast the previous, was a mass of white; not snow but a flock of twenty-nine Little Egrets feeding and resting in close proximity.  In addition, there was about a score of Black-winged Stilts and a single Greenshank.  A lone Little Ringed Plover was found on its nest on the grassy island.  A Cormorant could be seen on the far "feeding" pole whilst another flew away in the distance and a pair of Serins (a most gorgeous male) landed immediately in front of the hide.
Whimbels Numenius phaeopus with Dunlin Calidris alpina, and Turnstone Arenaria interpres

So on to the Rio Viejo (Old River) which, unlike the Wader Pool, was still full of water with restricted mud access for the waders.  Here there was much to be seen, even without a scope.  Resting on a small isthmus below me a quartet of Whimbrel whilst feeding next to them were Sanderlings, Kentish Plovers and two Turnstones.  To the right a pair of Ringed Plovers and then another Little Ringed Plover.  A single Redshank was found next to a pair of feeding Black-winged Stilts and as the latter were joined by more of their ilk I found, not so far away from the Ringed Plover pair, a single Wood Sandpiper.  Just for comparison's sake, a Common Sandpiper walked past immediately in front of the bird.  Finally, a handful of Dunlin was also recorded.  Meanwhile, flying low over the water, a single Black Tern added to the variety.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and Greenshank Tringa nebularia

With regular appearance of small numbers of both Goldfinches and Spotless Starlings I made my way back via the previous two waters and on on to the Laguna Escodida.  Apart from the large number of Sand Martins as previously stated there was relatively littlle to be seen, just the occasional Pochard and Coot, so straight on to the main hide at the Laguna Grande.  No sooner had I arrived and confirmed that there were very few Cormorants left on the water and I noticed, not so much the pair of Black-winged Stilts in front of the hide, but the quartet of Dunlin and single Curlew Sandpiper.  The Dunlins especially looked quite splendid in their summer uniforms.  A handful of Black-headed Gulls were resting just to my right and then a female Blue-headed Wagtail (Flava iberie) put in a short appearance.  A single Little Ringed Plover walked the bank in front of meand the occasional White-headed Duck and Mallard paddled across the water.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea on the Laguna Grande

Time to leave, having receive a call that the family was on its way back from the museum, so a farewell fly-past from a mob of seven marauding Monk Parakeets with their piercing screeches to be replaced by the more dulcet tones a of singing Nightingales as  I reached the reeds and bamboos adjoining the river bank.  A single Woodchat Shrike on the opposite side of the track offered a little beauty rather than the occasional Rock Dove.  So, along with the Blackbirds and Thekla Larks on our mountain track, I actually managed to reach 44 species.

Not the best day for a new hair-do for this pair of Little Egrets!

"What you found Stilty?" asked the Curlew Sandpiper as the Dunlin slept on.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius immediately in front of the main hide

Dunlin Calidris alpina in fast-approaching summer plumage

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Flamingo, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Thekla Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Nightingale, Yellow Wagtail, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin and Goldfinch.

Views of the single Black Tern Childonias niger over the Rio Viejo:

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

The Honey Buzzards are back!

Tuesday 23 April

My first reported sighting of a Honey Buzzard this year on its northern migration.  I can only presume that by a "Ivan's Siesta Walk" Ivan has visited the hills for a couple of hours whilst Inger enjoys a peaceful rest!  It rather sounds like my siesta walks where I lay back in the sun and dream about those wonderful kilometres I walk through the hills and mountains; an Iberian  Imperial Eagles above being mobbed by Goshawks and Lesser Spotted Eagles whilst a Lammergeier looks serenely on from above.  Meanwhile, I am too busy to take that much notice as I watch and take perfect photographs of the handful of Wallcreepers just twenty metres away.  Ah well, one can but dream!

Our first Honey Buzzard this year was seen on Ivan's siesta walk in the hills south of Fuengirola. Therefore this report from the walk.

There was only one Honey Buzzard coming very low just overhead. Then soaring very high and heading north.

The list of the siesta walk with 25 species is as follows:
Booted Eagle; Honey Buzzard; Kestrel; Yellow-legged Gull; Collared Dove; Swift; Pallid Swift; Bee-eater; Thekla Lark; Barn Swallow; House Martin; Nightingale; Black Redstart; Stonechat; Blackbird; Sardinian Warbler; Zitting Cisticola; Cetti's Warbler; Pied Flycatcher; Spotless Starling; House Sparrow; Linnet; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Serin.

This morning we observed from our balcony 8 Gannet, a Short-toad Eagle and 2 Ravens.

Inger and Ivan Zink-Nielsen

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Sunday, 21 April 2013

In the hills above Mijas

After yesterday's unexpected rains, Ivan and Inger Zink-Nielsen took themselves off up the mountain above Mijas for five hours of birding.  As Ivan says in his email, lots of joy but small bird list.

Sunday 21 April

Five hours in the mountains behind Mijas. Big joy but small birdlist:

Booted Eagle; Kestrel; Swift; Crag Martin; House Martin; Robin; Black Redstart; Black Wheatear; Blackbird; Sardinian Warbler; Pied Flycatcher; Great Tit; Short-toed Treecreeper; Chaffinch; Linnet; Serin; Common Crossbill.
Ivan and Inger
But at least you have recorded Pied Flycatcher for the year which is more than me!   Also, for many of us, Robin out here becomes something of a scarcity between mid-April and September

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

Axarquia Bird Group visit to Las Norias

Thursday 18 April

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

Still misty as I made my way along the coast to meet up with the rest of the group in Salobrena.  However, along with Pat and Eric Lyon, Gerry Collins, Marcus and Liz Routes, the welcome return of Pat Shaw and guests Peter Nash and Nick Curtis on holiday in the area from England, the weather was rapidly improving as we set off just before 9.15 to make our way to the waters at Las Norias in Almeria province.  A most strange site this with, a large lake this, presumably the result of sand excavation, surrounded by dirty plastic greenhouses, a plastic recycling factory and all other sorts of industrial "goings-on" including a smelly farm!  But it gets the birds.

Leaving the motorway to head down to the village we soon had many Crested Larks, Blackbirds and Spotless Starlings.  The first stop was at the central causeway where a connecting road actually dives the water.  No sooner out of the cars and we could hear, then see, Reed Warblers.  Whiskered Terns were flying over the water along with Barn Swallows and House Martins whilst on the water were very god numbers of Great crested Grebes and a range of ducks including Mallard, Red-crested and Common Pochard, Gadwall and even a departing pair of Shelduck.  At the far western end of the water whilst looking at the resting Whiskered Terns we also picked out a couple of Mediterranean Gulls to add to the Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls that were in the air above us.  Soon we had also added both Little and Black-necked Grebes whilst, feeding along the edges were both Common and Green Sandpipers plus a single Greenshank.  The nearer stone bank also had a feeding White Wagtail.  Ignoring the House Sparrows we walked to the back of a small building where we had a superb view of a singing Great Reed Warbler.

Gorgeous Cattle Egret Bubulcus  ibis at its colony

Then it was simply a case of moving to the eastern end of the water to park up on the causeway and check-out both sides.  The traditional Cattle Egret colony seemed to have somewhat increased with large numbers of nesting birds but the colony also included at least a dozen pairs of Night Herons whilst, among the general gathering, were also a number of Little Egrets.  A single second summer Night Heron raised hopes initially of a possible Little Bittern but that had to wait for another thirty minutes or so before Eric just manged to get a glimpse as one of these very illusive little herons landed and rather quickly worked his way down the reeds out of sight.

Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax at nest in Cattle Egret colony

Second summer Night Heron at above colony

Always the need for more food as this Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax departs from the nest
Collared Pratincole Glareola  pratinola at Las Norias
The main water had a range of the birds already seen whilst near at hand were good views of Red-crested Pochard and Great Crested Grebe plus a few Shovelers.  Whilst watching a number of Cormorants overhead it very soon became apparent that there was also a small number of feeding Collared Pratincoles above us giving fleeting opportunities to try and get a photo of the birds in flight as they swooped around the sky.  Coots and Moorhens were also about whilst the previous hirundines had now also been joined by a few Red-rumped Swallows.  A walk to the fields at the far end produced both Little Ringed and Ringed Plover along with another White Wagtail on a flooded area.

Handsome Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Walking back towards the car a single male Reed Bunting was seen at close quarters and, in addition to the ever present Collared and Rock Doves, a pair of Turtle Doves were found on the wires above, my first of the year.  A handful of Greenfinches were moving around as we walked along the lake-side path where we had yet more close views of both Little and Black-necked Grebes.  Above, in addition to the hirundines and the occasional Night Heron, we now had a number of swifts, mainly Pallid but also some Common Swifts.  Finally, Eric also managed to find a single Wood Sandpiper feeding on the reed edges.

First Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur of the year at Las Norias

Slender-billed Gull  Larus genei
Time to move across to the salinas to the west of Roquetas de Mar where, much to my surprise, there was not a single Flamingo to be seen.  Crossing the causeway we had Slender-billed Gulls on both sides along with a Little Egret and then our one and only Squacco Heron.  (No Grey Herons were to be seen all day.)  To our right our first White-headed Duck and then a pair of Avocets took off.  Moving along the track to check out the far end and small islands we were able to add a couple of Purple Swamphens in addition to more of the same, although we did manage to add Black-winged Stilt.  Then a Sandwich Tern flew overhead which added to our pleasure whilst a Magpie sought rest on a neighbouring bush..

Breeding pair of Red-crested Pochards Netta rufina: male above and fermale below

Driving back alongside the salinas we added a number of Stonechats to the the list that were resting on the wires plus a rather handsome Kestrel.  The main freshwater lake seem almost devoid of birds apart from the odd Common Pochard so we entered the Parque National to the hidden pond where not only did we find both Red-crested Pochard and White-headed Ducks but both Common and Red-knobbed Coots, the latter wearing its "084" collar!  Above us, the House Matins and Barn Swallows had been joined by a very small number of Sand Martins.  Leaving the pond to make our way home, after a stop for lunch, we had our only large raptor of the day, a single Marsh Harrier.  Other birds recorded during this latter part of the day included Serin, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff and a good number of Woodchat Shrikes giving a final tally of 60 species - until Eric or somebody else informs me otherwise!

White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucocephala : male above and female below.

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochad, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Bittern, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Swift, Pallid Swift, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Chifchaff, Woodchat Shrike, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting.

Displaying Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus

Not the most romantic way to lave the other half!

Even a House Martin Delichon urbicum needs an occasional rest

The Coots: Common Coot Fulica atra above and Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata below

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.