Back from my short UK visit and once again able to go Spanish birding. A lovely evening, calm, clear and sunny, to visit the Charca de Suarez site on the western outskirts of Motril where I met with great friends and company in the form of Steve an Elena Powell along with Dave and Gilly Elliott-Binns who had driven down from Arboleas, north of Almeria city.
|Now what's upset this little flock of mixed gulls?|
|Spotted Flycatcher Papamoscas Gris Musciapa striata|
Entering the reserve proper, it was obvious that there were a number of Blackbirds about and a stop at the Laguna del Taraje produced, in very small numbers, the first Coots and Mallards of the evening. At the very far end a single Purple Swampen was busying itself climbing the reeds. Then on to the end of the track where I found, in total, a handful of Spotted Flycatchers before taking a longer look at the newly-created large laguna. (I must get an updated copy of the site's guide so that I can establish the name given to both this laguna and the neighbouring area.) Feeding on the muddy edges were a small number of White Wagtails and a trio of Yellow Wagtails of the iberian sub-species (Blue-headed) including a couple of juveniles. Just the single Ringed Plover and Little Egret but also a pair of Back-winged Stilts along with a very small number of Mallards. Overhead, not only a regular passage of mallards to the main site but scores of House Martins and the occasional Barn Swallow. Jenny even managed to find a Hoopoe flying over the adjacent field having walked a little further on down the track. All this and the regular calling of passing Bee-eaters with only a very rare glimpse of the last.
|Little Grebe Zampullin Comun Tachybaptus ruficollis|
The walk to the hide overlooking the main laguna (Laguna de las Aneas) produced both Cetti's warbler and Zitting Cisticola along with a Turtle Dove, Spotted Flycatchers and a single Great Tit. On the water itself, the expected Coots and Mallards along with a few Moorhens and Little Grebes. Evidence of late breeding with some very young Coot chicks whilst the juvenile Mallards seemed almost fully grown as they paddled alongside their mothers. The island in front of the hide in addition to the resting Mallards also held both a single Cattle and Little Egret. When the relatively small number of gulls landed at the back of the water it became apparent that, in addition to the couple of Black-headed and handful of Yellow-legged Gulls, there was also a party of eight Audouin's Gulls. More House Martins and Barn Swallows overhead and the occasional Reed Warbler that flitted in and out of the reeds below the hide and then Gilly made the big "spot" with the sighting of a Little Bittern on the right-hand edge of the laguna. The bird seemed quite happy to both pose in the shade and wander about so able to get a couple of distant record shots. Meanwhile, I had also found the Ferruginous Duck family at the far left rear of the water where Mum and Dad were taking four off-spring for a paddle round the perimeter.
|Distant record shot of the Little Bitten Avetorillo Comun Ixobrychus minutus|
|Juvenile Night Heron martinete Comun Ardeola nycticorax on the Laguna del Lirio|
And that was it, time to say farewell and make our way back to Casa Collado via Turtle Dove Alley as above and discover, even with this short diversion and keeping the cruise set at 95 kph on the motorway, that we can now actually travel between Charca de Suarez and home in one hour and five minutes; a direct drive in about and hour or less.
Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiae), White Wagtail, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zittig Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Red Avadavat, Serin.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.