A dark, early start at 6.30 when picked up by Steve and Elena Powell so that we could meet up with Barbara and Derek Etherton for a morning visit to Zapata and, after a very tasty breakfast, on to the Rio Grande, despite the pubic holiday bringing out the picnickers to enjoy the morning sunshine at the latter. If you add on the steep climb up a mountain side a few kilometres away to see the female Bonelli's Eagle sitting on her new nest along with both Blue Rock Thrush and a Jay followed by a small party of Long-tailed Tits as we walked down through the trees. By the by the time we returned to the eastern Axarquia at about 2pm we had recorded a very encouraging 51 species.
|Very distant Blue Rock Thrush Turdus solitarius|
Arriving at Zapata we immediately had House Martins and Cattle Egrets and parking mid-stream watched a Little Ringed Plover happily working away at trying to break up a small worm before digesting along with both Common and Green Sandpipers. Both Little Egret and Grey Heron along with Cormorants in the river itself with Yellow-legged Gulls overhead. Having driven on across the weir we quickly added Sardinian Warbler before re-crossing the river to park up and explore the immediate area where we also picked up Goldfinch, Serin and Chiffchaff. By now we also had Mallard, Gadwall, Moorhen and Coot on the water and a couple of Night Herons made their departure.
|Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius|
Returning to the cars we had a Common Kestrel and Red-rumped Swallows overhead and then a Woodchat Shrike on the fence next to the car. However, as we left the site Elena picked up the strange bird on a bush n the opposite side that looked like an overgrown Woodchat Shrike as I looked at all the ginger colouring whereas Elena had a better view of the larger shape, pale colouring and barring and we able to easily confirm the first Great Spotted Cuckoo of our summer.
|Black-winged Stilts Ciguenuela Comun Hinantopus himantopus|
|Male Blackcap Curruca Capirotada Sylvia atricapilla|
|Wood Sandpiper Andarrios Bastardo Tringa glareola|
|Snipe Agachadiza Comun Gallinago gallinago|
Gadwall, Mallard, Cormorant, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Snipe, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Jay, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.