Up early after a restless night and I mean early! Washed, dressed, eaten and on the road by 5.45 so that I could be at Zapata to meet up with Derek and Barabara Etherton, who also had Micky Smith and Lindsay Pheasant in the car with them, before 6 o'clock. One more into Derek's car and then off down to the flood plain adjacent to the Guadalhorce below Zapata in search of that nocturnal feeder, the Red-necked Nighjar.
|Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata|
With dawn rapidly approaching we returned to the ford whilst the Nightingales began their beautiful chorus and immediately found five Little Ringed Plovers and a single Moorhen going about their early-morning feeding along with a Greenshank. To the right, downstream, the river looked disgusting with the amount of foam that had been gathered as whatever pollution had been emptied into the river further upstream but looking in that direction we had five Night Herons, Black-winged Stilt and a single Grey Heron resting in the water. A lone Yellow (Blue-headed) Wagtail worked the edges and a quick drive upstream produced Blackbirds and Common Kestrels.
|Early morning Cattle Egrets Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis passing over|
Working our way to "Short-toed lark Corner" we had our first Goldfinches and Serins along with a couple of Sardinin Warblers. At least five Hoopoes were seen on the neighbouring fence and then our first Short-toed Larks on the track. As we parked the car a Red-legged Partridge crossed the track and our first of a few Zitting Cisticola's put in a appearance as the Cetti's Warblers commenced their calling from the reeds below.
|Serin Verdecillo Serinus serinus trying to catch the first rays of morning sunshine|
|An unexpected Black-eared Wheatear Collalba Rubia Oenanthe hispanica|
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Cormorant, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Little Ringed, Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Cuckoo, Red-necked Nightjar, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Short-toed Lark, Barn Swallow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Whitethroat, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Waxbill, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.