Wednesday 8 March 2017

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
Wednesday 8 March

What a lovely start to the day with clear blue skies, no wind and getting warmer by the hour.  Just right for a visit the Guadlhorce in Malaga with an expected early finish so that I could drive over to Benalmadena and see if the visiting Ruddy Shelduck was still about.  In the event, no need to bother as, reaching the main hide overlooking the Lagunda Grande, what should I find but said Ruddy Shelduck.

A gathering of Common Pochard Porron Europeo Aythya ferina on the Laguna Casillas
All very quiet on arrival with just one Cormorant on view and just a single House Martin as I crossed the footbridge along with a couple of the resident Rock Doves.  Looking ustream I found a well-concealed Heron and then a pair of Serin as I approached the eastern arm of the river.  Once at the Laguna Casillas I found a score of Common Pochard along with  two pairs of White-headed Ducks, a pair of Mallard, Little Grebe, Coot and Moorhen.  A pair of Gadwall dropped in and whilst a Marsh Harrier drifted by behind me a Booted Eagle arrived and swooped low over the water as if to take a duck - but without success.  Chiffchaffs were busty feeding in the nearby trees and bushes and the sound of the local Cetti's Warblers was also deafening.  From here on in I was constantly blasted by the screming, maurauding Monk Parakeets.

Arrival of the Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraeatus pennatus and no wonder the White-headed Ducks Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala have stiff tails!
Moving on to the Wader Hide I had both Robin and Blackbird  whilst on the water ten Black-winged Stilts were feeding.  In addition to a pair of Mallard I found three pairs of Teal along with a resting Spoonbill.  After a short while the Spoonbill took off to the back and, preseumably, landed at the back of the Lagauna Grande where I eventually caught up with it once again.  Also present were a single Greendshank and a wandering Redshank.  Immediately in front of me a Water Pipit came to feed on the water's edge.

Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia

The walk to the Sea View Hide and the old river iself were disappointlingly quiet with just the odd Black-winged Stilt on the latter.  Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings were recorded along with a few Goldfinches and Serins.  The return journey to the previous hides also found a Black-headed Gull and a Hoopoe.

Arrival of the Black-necked Grebes Zampullin Cuellinegro Podiceps nigricollis
Nothing new at the Escondida, just more White-headed, Mallard and Gadwall along with a few Coots and Little Grebe.  Whilst even the Laguna Grande produced fewer species than I had exepected.  Lots of Cormorant still about but just the one Heron.  Scores of Shoveler at the back of the water and then  eight Black-necked Grebes drifted over from my right.  The Spoonbill was resting on the far island with a pair of Yellow-legged Gulls and, whilst looking at the nearby bay, I watched as the single Ruddy Shelduck paddled out into open water and remained on view for the rest of my stay.  Meanwhile, a small flock of Black-headed Gulls were taking shelter in the middle of the water and just to add to the fun seven Kentish Plover flew in and around and then disapeared over the back.

Distant shot of the Ruddy Shelduck Tarro Canelo Tadorna ferruginea

To my right I found not just resting Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings amongst the main flock of Cormorant but also a pair of Booted Eagles.  My final bird of the day was a female Black Redstart dropping in to drink from a puddle on the main track and then joined by a male of the same species.

One of the pair of Booted Eagles Aguililla Calzada Hieraeatus pennatus

Birds seen:
Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Gull, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Greenshank, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, House Martin, Water Pipit, Robin, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Ceti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, Serin, Goldfinch.
Shoveler Cuchara Comun Anas clypeata

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

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