Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Axarquia Bird Group visit to Rio Velez

Tuesday 27 October

Following yesterday;s heavy rains the forecast for today was more of the same plus thunderstorms.  I had intended to email all saying to cancel visit if wet but forget and just as well as at 9.30 the sun was shining, it was getting warmer and I had to put on both cap and sunglasses.  But the latest forecast did suggest that it would be raining by soon after 11 o'clock which, indeed, proved to be perfectly correct.  At least the five of us present managed to get in a couple of hours birding before the wet stuff arrived!

Black Redstart Colirrojo Tizon Phoenicurus ochruros

Good to see James Moore back out in Spain again and we were joined by Julie Beckett and Hugh Clixby along with Eric Lyon following his couple of months back in the UK.  A lot of vegetation in the river bed and tall bamboos on the track-side making visibility a little difficult but nevertheless we eventually found the birds and finished off with a final total of 26 species during our very short sty.  No sooner had we arrived than we noticed the number of Black Redstarts present but just the single Moorhen and a lonely Grey Heron.  There were half-a-dozen Mallards resting in the river and certainly no shortage of Blackbirds moving around on this occasion.

Red Avadavat Bengal Rojo Amandava amandava
Overhead a number of Crag Martins were feeding as we made our way down to the hide and had soon also added a couple of Zitting Cisticolas to the list.  Then we at the hide and chance to see what was feeding in frontof us - despite being unable to see the river or lagoon.  Chiffchaffs a plenty along with Stonechats and then the Grey Heron returned and we had yet more Stonechats.  To the right, and for the first time in ten years or more, a lovely male Red Avadavat posed just waiting for  somebody to take his photograph - and my camera was in the car rather than risk it with the promised rain.  Meanwhile, the Cetti's Warblers sang and even presented themselves on occasion and a number of Yellow-legged Gulls passed over.  The Serins were joined by a couple or more Goldfinches and we decided to see if we could reach the beach.

Passing a departing Hoopoe as we headed towards the river we eventually found a lone Little Egret and a flock of twenty or more Sanderlings sought a landing place but were put off by the local anglers on the beach.

With the first spots of rain we returned to the hide and soon had our first Bluethroat of the morning followed by another along with Stonechats and Chiffchaffs.  A Spotless Starling disturbed a feeding Moorhen as it came in to land. The second Great Tit of the morning was recorded along with a Robin whilst, behind us, we had a solitary Collared Dove.

Bluethroat Ruisenor Pechiazul Luscina svecica

Finally, looking as if the promised rain was about to set in, we made our way back along the track to the road bridge picking up a pair of Monk Parakeets and a single Cattle Egret below the bridge.  Driving under the bridge to access the garage and the other cars, we had a pair of White Wagtails and then a small warbler-like bird flew out of the trees and landed on the fence.  Fortunately, the binoculars were still round my neck so I was able to pick up the bird and confirm a Firecrest.  A lovely way to end the visit.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Sanderling, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Firecrest, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Red Avadavat,  Serin, Goldfinch.

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

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