Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Monday 12 January

A calm and cloudy morning, good for birding but perfect for photography.  I had the pleasure of accompanying Finish bird photographer Sari Hassinen around the Gualdalhorce, Malaga for four very enjoyable hours this morning and, much to Sari's delight, not only did we record over forty species but had great views of White-headed Ducks and a Kingfisher that seemed glued to its perch on the island immediately in front of the hide overlooking the Wader Pool.  All this and Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier and six wader species.

The skulking Snipe Agachadiza Comun Gallinago gallinago
Approaching the reserve I was surprised to find so many Jackdaws about, counting no less than a score.  naturally, there were House Sparrows and Collared Doves about and no visit to the Guadalhorce theses days seems to go without encountering a "mob" of screaming Monk Parakeets.  Today was no different as a band of two dozen swooped overhead and continued to be seen in small numbers throughout the rest of the morning.  Walking along the river bank track towards the footbridge there was a hive of activity on the boulders to the right with numerous Black Redstarts along with Sardinian Warblers, Serins and Goldfinches.  On the river a number of Moorhen plus the occasional Coot and an ever-present  passage of Cormorants mainly to the Laguna Grande.  A few resident Rock Doves as we crossed the river and then our first Stonechat, of many, as we made our way to the eastern canal and the Laguna Casillas.

Always a Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta to make you feel welcome
The Laguna Casillas seemed relatively quiet on arrival with a couple of White Wagtails on the track.  Closer inspection soon revealed a couple of Little Grebes and then at least half-a-dozen Teal  To the far end a male White-headed Duck closely followed by a pair of the same.  Whilst a female Pochard paddled along in front of us a lone Purple Swamphen put in an appearance to the far right then proceeded to fly across the water and gradually disappear into the reeds opposite the hide.

The Wader Pool turned up the first of the waders with a single Redshank and a trio of Greenshank.  In front of us a trio of Little Ringed Plovers were busy feeding and we even found another Snipe.  A couple of Herons flew over and Chiffchaff were bust feeding in the bushes and trees in good numbers.  Both Robin and Stonechat came to visit and a male Kestrel flew over, round and eventually perched in the trees to the back.

A trio of Little Ringed Plovers Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius discussing the weather
The walk to the Sea Watch produced more Chiffchaffs, Stonechats and White Wagtails along with a couple of Blackbirds and Meadow Pipits.  On the river a single Oystercatcher was trying to catch up on missed sleep and a lone Green Sandpiper worked the water to the right.  Two more Flamingos were in residence.  From the Sea Watch overlooking quite a rough sea we could sea a number of Gulls, both Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed. and, of course, there was a continuous movement of Cormorants and a second Kestrel resting on top of a concrete pole.

Juvenile Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus freshly arrived and needing a good clean
Returning by the same route, recording our first Greenfinch, the Wader Pool produced a very close Kingfisher on the island to the front which remained on station long enough for a number of photographs and the Greenshank had moved into a better position along with more Little Egrets and even a first pair of Mallards.  A Booted Eagle was resting in a large tree to the back.  A pair of male Shovelers were seen at the far back and when they flew over towards the Escondida a few minutes later they had been joined by a single female.

Kingfisher Martin Pescador  Alcedo atthis
The Laguna Escondida held a good number of White-headed Ducks along with a small number of Teal and the trio of Shovelers.  Also present were a pair of Gadwall along with no shortage of Little GrebesCoots and Moorhens and then a pair of Black-winged Stilts immediately below the hide.  Meanwhile, a handful of Crag Martins had arrived over head as we set off for the final pool.

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
Over one hundred Cormorants were counted resting on the Laguna Grande but not a single Heron.  We found a second Booted Eagle and a number of Spotless Starlings but no gulls.  Just the odd Moorhen and Little Grebe to record and no sooner had we packed to depart than a Marsh Harrier arrived at the back of the water.  As we walked backed towards the footbridge we picked up another Kestrel along with a small flock of Greenfinches.

Record shots of a sleepy old Booted Eagle Aguilla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus to the left whilst a wandering Marsh Harrier Aguilucho Lagunero Circaetus aeruginosus quarterred the rear of the laguna

There were still a number of Black Redstarts and Sardinian Warblers on the rocks between the track and river and then a pair of Blackcaps.  Our last bird, and quite a surprise, was a beautiful singing Firecrest in the Eucalyptus trees back on the main road.  So ended a lovely birding morning with a final tally of 45 species.

Plenty of female White-headed Ducks Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala preparing for the breeding season
Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Snipe, Greenshank, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Lovely to see so many flowers in full bloom including the Broom

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the very nice day at Guadalhorce, Bob! A day to remember for me!