Normal service has resumed and it was lovey to welcome fifteen of the group to the first monthly meet of the Axarquia Bird Group. And we were not to be disappointed, despite the clear, hot and sunny weather, with well over sixty species recorded including five raptors, fourteen waders and all three (major) swifts. After a few months absence it was great to see Patrick Raines back with us from Canillas de Albeida. Also present were Liz and Marcus Rootes from Competa, Steve and Elena Powell from Frigiliana, John and Jenny Wainwright from Salar, Janet and David Fisher from Antequera and old (not so much of the "old" I hear him say) friend Andy Paterson from Torremolinos. Then there were our visitors and it was certainly lovely to meet up again with Ian Templeton staying in Furengirola and hear about his latest musical exploits and once again we were also able to welcome Graham and Susan Knight presently holidaying in Alcaucin. Best surprise was finally meting up with Chris Bell from Worksop in Noottinghamshire, who I have been corresponding with for the best part of a year, and his friend Rosie. I trust that all had an enjoyable and worthwhile morning.
|Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus with Dunlin Calidris Comun (PHOTO: Steve Powell)|
Setting off form the church where we had all parked we were at the entrance to the reserve b 9.30 and had soon recorded most of the regulars including House Martin, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow and even Little Egrets, Coots and Rock Doves on or near the river. Indeed, John even managed to find a Little Grebe skulking away on the edges and a lone Jackdaw passed over his head. Above the footbridge at least a pair of Red-rumped Swallows were busy feeding and they were also regularly seen during the morning. Above us, quite high, a number of Common Swifts were also feeding and building up reserves in readiness for their coming migration down to Africa. Continuing on to the far, eastern, bank we had the continuous calling of Cetti's Warblers and a number of Zitting Cisticolas. Above us a regular supply of single Grey Herons moving to and from the reserve and small flocks of Spotless Starlings. Similarly, there also seemed to be a steady movement of gulls, almost certainly mainly Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls that we were to see at closer quarters a little late on in the morning. A small flock of Greenfinches landed to our left and then, pushing away the "greenies", the arrival of a handful of noisy Monk Parakeets, the first of very many sen during the coming hours.
|Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus|
At first the Laguna Cassilas seemed somewhat quiet with just a few Coots but gradually we recorded a number of Little Grebes and a pair of young Mallards. Below the hide a Reed Warbler was busy in the bushes and a Melodious Warbler flew past. No sooner had a Little Bittern dropped in below us to the right with other members of the group trying to locate the bird when we had the first of many sightings of that beautiful flash of blue, the Kingfisher. A single Moorhen paddled across the water in front of us. Meanwhile, whilst continuing to check-out the Common Swifts overhead, we did finally manage to locate at least two Pallid Swifts.
|Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraetus pennatus over the Wader Pool|
|Moorish Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
|The lone Whimbrel Zarapaito Trinador Numenius phaeopus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
|Northern Wheatear Collalba Gris Oenanthe oenanthe (PHOTO: Steve Powell)|
|Record shot of Yellow-crowned Bishop Tejedor Amarillo Euplectes afer (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
Things are changing at the Laguna Grande. The single juvenile Flamingo is still present but gull numbers are receding. However, we were still able to see both Audouin's and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls. The first Comorant I have seen this winter was present and, certainly, Heron number are beginning to build up nicely. In addition to a juvenile White-headed Duck we recorded a handful of Common Pochard and the a pair of Gadwall. The Black-necked Grebes were conspicuous by their absence until we found a trio just before our departure. Still Common Swifts and Barn Swallows overhead but then, surprise surprise, wonder of wonders, a single Alpine Swift made its way across the water towards us in the hide and passed on overhead. Probably about this time John turned round in time to see a pair of Turtle Doves head off over the tall grass towards the western river.
|Black-necked Grebes Zampullin Cuellinegro Podiceps nigricollis on the Laguna Grande (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
|Wood Sandpiper Andarrios Bastardo Tringa glarecia on the Rio Viejo (PHOTO: Steve Powell)|
Gadwall,Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Short-toed eagle, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ruff, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Green sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Yellow-crowned Bishop.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.