Monday, 2 February 2015

Guadalhorce with John and Jenny

Tuesday 2 February

Good job I live her and not a little further inland as John's latest birding report, just received, informs me that they have had a somewhat wet day over in Salar so leading to a visit to the Guadalhorce in Malaga where, for the first time that I have heard, they managed to find a Crane.  Despite the cold, John and Jenny Wainwright seems to have a good session as can be sen from the following.

Guadlahorce: Tuesday 2nd February

A day of contrasts from warm to bitterly cold.

Parking up opposite the flats at the beach end of the reserve we headed down to the sea, on the way seeing Monk Parakeets by the dozen, Chiffchaffs, Zitting Cisticola and our first of the year House Martin.  On the shoreline we spotted Sanderlings, a Common Sandpiper and a Yellow-legged Gull, while in the bushes a few House Sparrows and a Sardinian Warbler were noted.

A pair of  Teal Anas crecca with two Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago on the bank (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
The walk along the estuary here was a battle against the wind - which was in our faces, but on the estuary itself we saw Mallard, Shoveler and a Common Pochard and in the reeds below us two Cetti´s Warblers and a Grey Heron.  Then Jenny spotted a Barn Swallow, which headed into the school area.

Juvenile Common Crane Grus grus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Crossing into the reserve our first bird was a juvenile Common Crane, just this side of the Escondida laguna, also about here was a female Marsh Harrier, Greater Cormorants, a very high Booted Eagle and alongside the path a small flock of Greenfinches were feeding.  At the Casilla hide we located two Common Snipe, Teal, Common Coots, White-headed Ducks, Mallard, Little Grebe and a Stonechat.  The wind was at our back here so we moved along to the Viejo hide where upon our arrival we could hear the Redshanks calling.  These were duly noted, then several Little Ringed Plovers and a single Sanderling flew onto the mud to our front, whilst on the far island we 
spotted a Greenshank, Black-winged Stilts and another Little Ringed Plover.  In the reeds behind the island a Little Egret and a Grey Heron were perched. As I was looking through another group of waders that had just alighted (all Little Ringed Plovers), a Kingfisher flew through my line of vision and, above us, the raucous calls of Monk Parakeets was heard.

Those marauding, raucous Monk Parakeets Mylopsitta monachus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
At the old Rio Velez it was barren, not a peep, so we walked on a little hoping to find something in the scrubby area.  We did get two Hoopoes, a White Wagtail and a Black Redstart I am glad to say.  The sun had gone in and the wind was really bitter now as we walked down to the "sea viewing area".  Lots of Gannets here, along with four Sandwich Terns, a Black-necked Grebe, two small groups of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls and a Little Egret fishing off of one of the points.

As the wind had now changed direction - so that taking the track back to the hides we would be walking into it - we decided to take the beach way back.  This yielded a few Crested Larks, Meadow Pipits, House Sparrows, White Wagtails and Stonechats.  Several Zitting Cisticolas were seen on our way to the Laguna Grande and once in the hide we couldn´t miss the smell of the Greater Cormorants as the wind was directly into it.  Three Shovelers, a few Grey Herons, two Black-winged Stilts, another quick view of a Kingfisher, then a juvenile Marsh Harrier lifted out of the reed bed and above him a Booted Eagle circled then flew down low over the water and into the trees to the left of the hide.

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

So along to the Escondida hide where we saw more Crag Martins, another House Martin, White-headed Ducks, Little Grebe  and a Sardinian Warbler.  No sign of the Common Crane but we did see a Bath White butterfly (what a brave soul).  As we crossed the bridge we noted a Common Kestrel in the bare tree and to end it all an Osprey gave us a couple of circles and then disappeared over the autovia.

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