Thursday, 11 June 2015

Zapata with Barbara & Derek Etherton

Thursday 11 June

hist some of us were on the road for well over an hour to attend a committee meeting of the Andalucia Bird Society,  Derek and Barbara Etherton were able to "pop down the road" to nearby Zapata on the Guadalhorce behind the airport.  Judging by the report, even earlier than I so definitely a case of the early bird and worm, etc!  Derek's report make interesting reading and what a send-off for Barbara; I have a feeling that she will find very few of these birds back in the UK.  Now all I have to do is get my act together so that we can all meet up when we return from pour respective visits to Blighty and look forward to Bonelli's Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Wallcreeper - well, perhaps not the last!

Up early with the lark, well Blackbird, to check out Zapata before Barbara departs for the UK tomorrow.  Down there by 0730hrs and the birds were very active.  A Little Egret, Night Heron and Purple Heron were all feeding in the pools below the weir, sadly soon to move as we disturbed them.  Other Night Herons were flying back from the Guadalhorce poligino feeding grounds and passing over us.  

Investigating the southern area first we had good views of the Tawny Pipit that has been hanging around the area.  Many Little Ringed Plovers were highly active, this being a natural nesting area for the species.  However, I do worry for them with the increased human activity at weekends and the horses and carriages at other times.  However they seem to flourish - who am I to judge! Crested Larks like this part, too, and in the nearby shrubbery Cetti's Warblers were calling, as usual.  By now we had had Night and Purple Heron, the Grey Heron came later, Little and Cattle Egret, just a Squacco Heron for the 6, but sadly not to be.  A Hoopoe flew through and Goldfinches and Greenfinches abounded.  

Displaying P1000737.JPG
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (PHOTO: Derek Etherton)
Heading back north of the weir and walking where the river flows wide in the wet months, the small birds were many.  So many families, Yellow and White Wagtails feeding young as were Serins, House Sparrows, Linnets, Greenfinches and Cetti's warblers.  Common and Pallid Swift were feeding and drinking from the wide, still water area here as were Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, joined by a few House Martins.  Still a few Night Herons were flying over and a couple of Bee-eaters were busy breakfasting.  Coot and Moorhen had young close by and the previously mentioned Grey Heron was close to the motorway bridge. 

Still only 0900hrs, we followed the track to skirt the reeded ditch.  Here Reed Warblers were in full flow and an additional Red-rumped Swallow's nest was noted under the concrete landing light structure [these birds must love bridge builders!].  Plenty of previously seen birds were active in the reeds but a single Red-legged Partridge viewed us from the rocks on the right hand side.  Collared Dove and Spotless Starlings were many but by now it was 1000hrs and desayuno time!  Using the local venta, cafe & pitufo for 2 euros, [last of the big spenders], we sat outside 'serenaded' by nesting Barn Swallows just above us.

Now that's what I call a great way to start the day.  Safe journey Barbara and see you both sometime in mid-July.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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