|Broad-billed Sandpiper Correlimos Falcinelo Limicola falcinellus|
|Gorgeous Black-necked Grebe Zampullin Cuellinegro Podiceps nigricollis|
Wednesday 8 May
|Common Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus|
With Marieke due to arrive at the airport by noon on Wednesday, I drove over to the city and arrived early enough to pop down to the Guadalhorce for thirty minutes on the way. Earlier, I had received a quick phone call from my friend Andy Paterson to let me know that a Broad-billed Sandpiper had been seen the previous afternoon on the old river and that he was on his way down to, hopefully, discover that the bird was still present. Left me in a bit of a dilemma as I had arranged to take Marieke to Fuente de Piedra and Laguna Herrera on the way back to Casa Collado; what to do, re-arrange plans or hope that the bird, if still present, would stay at least another day so that we could catch up with it on Thursday after dropping Jenny off at the airport on her way back to a very wet UK?
|Lots of butterflies including this Painted Lady Vanessa cardui|
|Gull-billed Tern Pagaza Piconegra Sterna nilotica|
|Greater Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus and below with Common Pochard Porron Europeo Aythya ferina and Avocet Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta|
Here, again, the pool levels had dropped and most of the flooded fields were no more, albeit still plenty of water in both the main laguna and the laguneta at the back of the Visitors' Centre. More, but not o many as usual, Black-winged Stilts and a small number of Avocets. Lots of Flamingos on the water but numbers were down on my last visit and the main flock was at the far end in or near the nesting site. The small pool below the Visitors' Centre held pairs of Gadwall and Shoveler along with a number of Black-winged Stilts and Avocets. A Blue-headed (Iberiae) Wagtail was also recorded here.
|Avocet Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta|
Thursday 9 May
|Our Broad-billed Sandpiper Correlimos Falcinelo Limicola falcinellus|
There then followed a short interlude whilst we all re-introduced ourselves before taking our separate ways - but not before we had watched a Woodchat Shrike on the opposite fence around the school playing field. Also in the area we had both Collared Doves and House Sparrows and a male Blackbird flew across in front of us as we reached the top path. Next followed very many Barn Swallows and House Martins along with large numbers of Swifts, all appearing to be of the Pallid variety albeit we did manage to record a few Common Swifts as we crossed the reserve. Crossing the footbridge we had the resident Rock Doves, a single Jackdaw and a pair of the nesting Red-rumped Swallows.
|A selection of waders including Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula, Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina and Curlew Sandpiper Correlimos Zarapitin Calidris ferruginea|
|Adult and immature Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia|
|Two of three Bar-tailed Godwits Aguja Colipinta Limosa lapponica|
|Broad-billed Sandpiper Correlimos Falcinelo Limicola falcinellus|
Yes, yes, yes! Well done Andy for finding the little bird busy feeding relatively close-by on our side of the river. And just to make things a little easier, the Broad-billed Sandpiper was actually feeding quite close to a Dunlin, so offering great comparison facilities. What a strange little bird was this single Broad-billed Sandpiper that seemed to stretch up his neck and creative a considerable "bend" on occasions as it continued to feed. Studying the bird as closely as we could it even appeared to have different flank markings on each side of its body (see photos below). After all the excitement we even managed to record a trio of Avocets in the river nearer to the sea plus more Redshanks until something spooked all the waders and they took to the air before re-settling.
So, all excitement over and a most wonderful afternoon spent in such pleasant company we started to make our way back, having decided to give the beach and other hides a miss. Well, how do you follow seeing a "lifer" such as this? The answer, for Marieke, by being shown a second "lifer" in so many minutes! Whilst busy watching the Broad-billed Sandpiper a Yellow Wagtail put in an appearance on the sand just behind the bird; a very late arriving member of the British sub species, Motacilla Flava flavisima. Annual birds for Andy and I but a first for Marieke from Belgium.
But the afternoon visit was still not over. A quick look in at the Wader Pool as we passed by revealed a newly-arrived immature Grey Heron quickly followed by a single Gull-billed Tern and then, as we left, looking up we had one of Marieke' specials, her whole purpose for coming to Spain and visiting Tarifa, a Honey Buzzard. Just the single bird which must have come in from the sea and of the dark morph variety. Finally, as we walked back to the main road alongside the river, a single Zitting Cisiticola took to the air to bid us farewell and a safe journey home.
|The high, departing Honey Buzzard Abejero Europeo Pernis apivorus on his way, no doubt to Marieke in Belgium!|
|Superb Starling Estornino Soberbio Lamprotornis superbus named "Pepe" at the Parador Golf, Malaga|
Birds seen Wednesday:
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Stock Dove,, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Swift, pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow, House martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue-headed Wagtail (Iberiae), Stonechat, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Birds seen Thursday:
Gadwall, mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Honey Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Swift, Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Thekla lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Yellow wagtail (British flavisima), Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, Superb Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.