Out of the house and accompanied by Thekla larks and Goldfinches as I made my way down the mountain to collect Ton and Rian van Dijck, visiting birders from Holland staying in nearby Alcaucin, and on to the Guadlahorce in Malga for the first field visit of the new birding year for the Axarquia Bird Group. Reasonable weather on the way down but Malaga was calm and somewhat cloudy with some heavy black accumulations in the distance. All held well until about midday when we thought we heard a few spots of the wet stuff and had no sooner commenced our walk from the Wader Pool to the Sea watch when the heavens opened for the first of two heavy drizzles, to bring a fresh smell to the nose whilst, at the same time, rinsing our clothing and equipment! But I digress. There was a splendid turn out of members finally totalling 22 and including Arthur Oliver and Gordon Barratt from far away Almeria, the Salobrena group comprising Gerry Collins, Louise Gray and Audrey Bates, Lesley Laver from Nerja, Steve and Elena Powell for Frigiliana, Bryan Stapley and Marcus Rootes from the hills of Competa, relatively local to the venue Ian Kirk from Arroya del Miel, John and Jenny Wainwright from Salar, Howard Slade and Jurgen Breuer from Almarche across the valley from me above Lake Vinuela and a very pleasant surprise to s Ian Templeton back from Britain for a short stay in Frigiliana and, of course, not forgetting the most welcome return of David and Ann Jefferson. A great morning's birding which resulted in a final tally of 60 species.
|At least ten juvenile, but no adult, Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus present at the Guadalhorce|
|Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinrea|
|Lovely to watch the Red-rumped Swallow Golondrina Daurica Hirundo daurica chicks being fed by parents|
Arriving at the Wader Pool we had already seen our first juvenile Flamingo and we were to find another. Indeed, I believe our total for the morning, all juveniles, was ten individuals. In front of us we had a quintet of Curlew Sandpipers and a single Greenshank. Also resent were a few Little Ringed Plovers, most of which seemed to be this year's juveniles. Not too many Black-winged Stilts and just the two Little Egrets. Similarly, a pair of Snipe were picked out on the far bank with the help of John's scope. meanwhile, below us, we had a foraging Reed Warbler and both Barn Swallows and House Martins above. More Kingfisher sightings. Checking the large trees in the background we picked out not one but two Booted Eagles. Whilst I was watching a Greenfinch fly past the hide others were recording both Serins and Goldfinches. Whilst others moved on towards the sea, those remaining saw the lone Teal drift into view on the water below and the arrival of the first Common Sandpiper of the morning.
|One of two Booted Eagles Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus|
Having reached the furthest point from cover at the Sea Watch to check out the water and confirm mainly Lesser Black-back Gulls and a few Black-headed Gulls, the heavy shower of very thin drizzle caught us on our return o the Wader Pool hide. It certainly brought the hirundines down and so revealed a couple of Common Swifts. The Garden Warbler was till active in the same bush but we also had a Sardinian Warbler make a hurried exit and away. Whilst a few of us continued the return journey to visit both hides, others took the beach to complete the circuit and managed to come across a Woodchat Shrike. More Flamingos at the Wader Pool along with a lone Ringed Plover plus another Redshank and Little Egret. Even a pair of Mallards.
|Ringed (AZYY) Audouin's Gull Gaviota de Audouin Larus audounii|
|Plenty of White-headed Ducks Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala to be seen|
|It looks like mother Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia looks after junior whilst dad takes a well-earned rest!|
|Avocet Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta|
|Interesting to find a quartet of Oystercatchers Ostrero Euroasiatico Haematopus ostralegus|
After we left a further two Spoonbills made their presence known on the Laguna Grande taking the total to five with just the one ringed individual but, as shown below, also picked up a few other species. Extracts from John's report includes the following:
As we progressed along the track Jenny spotted a Turtle Dove and I a Sardinian Warbler. Cetti´s Warblers were in good voice here today, although I only saw one. A Grey Heron sat on a bare tree on the opposite bank along with two Collared Doves.
|Cattle (Horse?) Egret Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
|And then there were five Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
Into the reserve and towards the first hide we spotted a Zitting Cisticola, Blackbird, Crested Lark and a call from Steve gave me my first Banded Groundling (Brachythemis leucosticta) dragonfly though sadly no photo. (But both Gerry and I managed to get a shot.)
|Banded Groundling Brachythemis leucosticte (PHOTO: Gerry Collins)|
So, it would seem, a new final total of 64 species.
|Juvenile Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina|
Birds seen (updated):
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Snipe, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little or Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler,Sardinian Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Black-headed Weaver.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.