Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Wednesday 24 September

had an interesting morning down at the Guadalhorce today with visiting holiday-makers dawn and John Mundy staying at nearby Alcaucin.  Off from their house by 8.30 to a very warm and sunny coat but, at least we duly recorded over fifty species before making our way back to Alcaucin via the mountain rather than coastal motorway.

Arriving at the site we were greeted by Grey Herons and overflying Cormorants, a couple of Sardiniun Warblers and a pair of Jackdaws heading off towards the city.  Even a Banded Groundling dragonfly on the track before reaching the footbridge over the western arm of the river.  The river itself was very quiet with just a couple of Coots, a male Blackbird crossing the water and the odd Rock Dove under the motorway bridge.

Straight to the eastern arm and picked up the three resident hirundines on the way.  Very good sightings of a quintet of Red-rumped Swallows followed by House Martins and, eventually, a few Barn Swallows.  A small flock of Mallards passed overhead heading into the reserve.  The Laguna Casillas held a large family of Little Grebes plus a single Little Egret along with a pair of Mallards and about half a dozen White-headed Ducks.  Two Common Pochards appeared below us and then took off to the far side of the water.  Just the one Moorhen to be seen.  And no sooner had we arrived than we all saw the newly-arrived Osprey passing overhead upstream in search, presumably, of his morning breakfast.

Juvenile Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phonicopterus roseus

The Wader Pool proved far more productive with a number of Little Egrets plus a pair of juvenile Flamingos.  A single Curlew Sandpiper and a pair of Greenshanks accompanied the three Little Ringed Plovers seen along with a pair of Black-winged Stilts.  Further study produced a small flock of Spotless Starlings in the top of the bare trees to the back which, in turn, led to the discovery of a roosting Booted Eagle.  Meanwhile, below us, a pair of Teal drifted into sight on the water which enabled me to find a further five resting under a fallen tree.  First one then a second Snipe were also found below us and to the right.  Listening to the calling Cetti's Warbler was more for pleasing than that of the screaming Monk Parakeets that passed overhead.

Moving on to look at the Rio Viejo (Old River) we soon found more Little Ringed Plovers but also both Ringed and Kentish Plovers.  Just the one Sanderling, still partly in summer plumage, and a Common Sandpiper on the far bank.  Whit a Common Kestrel hovered overhead there was a constant stream of gulls making there way back and forth from the sea.  Mainly Yellow-legged it seemed but we did later find a good number of Black-headed Gulls.  There were also very good numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the sea itself.  The return journey from the Sea Watch o the hides produced singing and sight of Crested Larks along with another Sardinian Warbler and a Whitethroat, the last, I am sure, feeding in the same bush a the individual seen last Wednesday with the Axarquia Bird Group.  Finally, three more delightful sightings in the shape of single Chiffchaff, Robin and male Serin.

Very little to add at the Laguna Escondida save more Coots, White-headed Ducks and Little Grebes so on to the main hide at the Laguna Grande.  All appeared relatively quiet at first save for the number of Yellow-legged Gulls on the island to the right of the hide but then we started to find the birds.  A single juvenile Flamingo was very busy feeding below us and a single Oystercatcher followed by last week's ringed Audouin's Gull was found amongst the gull flock. Lots of herons to be seen and always at least three Cormorants in view.  A single Spoonbill to the far left island later turned into a trio including the ringed juvenile also seen last week.  The Booted Eagle was joined by a second before both departed only for one to turn up fairly close to the hide below the Osprey feeding pole.  The last species recorded before departing was the trio of Dunlin that alighted on the far bank to our right and, of course, we must not forget the single Cattle Egret that followed the horses wherever they went.

All in all then a very enjoyable morning with a reasonable number of sighting and the very good company of John and Dawn.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Osprey, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Auouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin.

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