Friday, 1 July 2016

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Find the Little Bittern
Friday 1 July

Whilst I am back in the UK saving all my strength and emotion for this evening's match against Belgium, John and Jenny Wainwright have been out and about birding including a visit to the Guadalhorce in Malaga.  Having read John's report, see below, at least his lack of birds are seen in a context of beautiful, warm sunshine whereas back here in Stamford, Lincolnshire it is more like February weather with occasional touches of warm sunshine and certainly no lack of the wet stuff.  All photographs take by John Wainwright - and with my thanks and appreciation..

Guadlahorce, Malaga:  Thursday 30 June

A very hot, hazy and clammy day with a light breeze.

Looking at the forecast and wanting a days birding, after receiving a severe shock from the Spanish tax office, we decided to go to the Guadlahorce.   On the journey down we saw Grey Heron, Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings and a Buzzard.  Parking up in the shade outside the church and walking up to the estuary we saw Monk Parakeets, a Common Kestrel, a few Bee-eaters, masses of House Sparrows and a single Barn Swallow.  At the bridge into the reserve we noted Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, House and Crag Martins and another Common Kestrel.

We decide to visit the Laguna Grande first and in doing so we found Ringed and Kentish Plover, a few Avocet - one actually on a nest, Black-headed Gulls and countless Black-winged Stilts.  Above us more Bee-eaters, Common Swifts and House Martins.  Amazingly not one Cormorant, Grey Heron or Little Egret was seen here.

Bee-eaters Merops apiaster (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Moving round to the Escondida, we arrived just in time to spot a Little Bittern coming in to alight in a reed bed not too far away from the hide.  This bird gave us great views all the time we were here at the hide.  Also about here on the laguna were White-headed Ducks, Little Grebes, Mallard and Common Coots, while above more Common Swifts, Bee-eaters, Monk Parakeets and Little Egrets were noted.  Small passerines were Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Reed, Sardinian and Cetti´s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola and a single Blackbird.  Just as we were about to leave the hide a Night Heron walked out of the reeds at the top left of the laguna, had a good look around and disappeared again as quickly.

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
So then the long hot walk to the Laguna Casilla where the screeching of the Black-winged Stilts could be heard before we reached the hide, but we did manage to locate a single Penduline Tit and a Reed Warbler in the reeds just below us.  On the laguna a few more Little Egrets, White-headed Ducks, Moorhens and Coots were logged.  A group of four Gull-billed Terns then a single Yellow-legged Gull came across the hide and also a couple of Red-rumped Swallows were seen.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The Rio Viejo hide was even more clamorous as six different pairs of Black-winged Stilts were chasing off anything and everything (mostly Spotless Starlings and Little Egrets) that looked remotely like coming anywhere near their chicks - these were of ages from tottering chick to almost adult plumaged birds.  Three Kentish Plovers were seen here along with several Yellow Wagtails.
At the Rio Viejo itself we found a huge swathe of gulls/terns, including Auduoin´s, Black-headed and Yellow-legged, along with three Sandwich and  four Gull-billed Terns, a Redshank and more Little Egrets.  Moving onto the sea-view building only one Sandwich Tern and a distant gull was noted on or over the sea.  Masses of nudists and sun-bathers in the area so we weren´t too surprised at this.   As we walked back a small number of Crested Larks rose out of the rock on our left, a large Egyptian Grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium) buzzed us as we passed along the track, while the chatter of House Sparrows and the monotonous peeps of the Zitting Cisticolas serenaded us off the reserve.

Not a lot of variety today, with no raptors bar the Buzzard, and that wasn´t on the reserve.  Still a pleasant few hours out in the fresh air.

Egyptian Grasshopper Anacridium aegyptium (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Depends upon where you are John but back here in Blighty that would have been a good morning's birding.

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


  1. HORTOMALLAS estambiénconocidasegún el país o regióncomo: mallaespaldera, SPANISH BIRD, mallaparahortalizas or pita tutoreo .

    1. Gracias por el mensaje, pero no puede traducir a través de "Google," mientras que aquí en el Reino Unido.
      Bob Wright