Friday 22 July 2016

100+ for the day!

Wednesday 20 July

Whilst I was preparing for my hospital appointment and follow-on visit to Norfolk for a little light birding, friends Derek and Barbara Etherton along with Micky Smith and Luis Alberto Rodriguez got this mad, many would say crazy, notion to to try and set another one-day record for bird species seen in Malaga Province.  But why oh why pick just about the hottest day in the middle of a prolonged dry drought?  It mist surely be something in the water - or lack of water.  No matter, I have just received a smashing email from Derek to inform me that they topped the century mark and ended up with 106 species.  Well done all and I am sure that readers will enjoy reading Derek's message as follows.  Judging by the illustration, it look sot me as if Rufous Bush Chats are becoming two-a-penny!

A good, but tiring day yesterday.  Started at 0500hrs at Zapata, no Nightjars, shock, horror, but viewed on the track right in front of us a rare is that, and a first for Zapata.

Then the Montes de Malaga where we recorded every tit available, Haw, Chaff and Greenfinch, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers.

Poor old LA had spent 3 years walking Mollina and Sierra Mollina looking for the Rufous Bush Robins; he had knocked at doors, called at fincas but nobody could help him.  He knew it was one of the last 3 sites in Malaga Province to contain the bird but no luck.  So swearing him to secret and not mention it in his blog or elsewhere or I would have to kill him we drove there.  Parked and within five minutes one male flew up to the wire and started singing and lo and behold a second flew up 50 metres away and did the same thing.  To say he was impressed would be an understatement!

Male Rufous Bush Chat Cercotrichas galactotes (PHOTO: Derek Etherton)
On to Fuente de Piedra and after a severe storm over the weekend a little water was laying, enough for a male Ruff and a few other waders.  New to us there was a female Ferruginous Duck and amazingly a juvenile Night Heron found mostly hidden in the reeds.  Why that was there when they need flowing rivers for fish is anyone's guess.

Barbara called the 100th bird correctly by plumping for a Bee-eater, got that at Rio Grande along with 101 & 102, Little Egret and Grey Wagtail respectively.

From a cool start it got very warm and sticky and we called into our breakfast place, El Cohete, for a shandy and for Mick to depart, he was feeling it a little bit.  Luis Alberto, Barbara and myself zipped round Zapata again and added Reed Warbler, Monk Parakeet and Common Waxbill to finish the day on 106 species.  Not bad for the wrong time of the year.

So a peaceful day today with our gardener here doing some heavy work and a guy coming to valet the car this evening, 20 euros inside and out, seems like a bargain to me.

Thanks for a lovely report Derek bringing home very many happy memories and something to look forward when I return in about a month's time.  I thought you were the gardener who undertook all the heavy work so are you telling me that you pay Barbara a paltry 20 euros to clean the car?  If it's any consolation, I am just about to complete my blog for an overnight stop in central Norfolk where we managed a seemingly paltry 53 species - but it did include Crane, Spotted Crake, Lesser Whitethroat, Bearded Tit and Great Bittern!

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

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