A most enjoyable morning at the Guadalhorce, Malaga with visit US birder Mary Dockery from Birmingham, Alabama and which resulted in over 40 species during our almost four hours. Mary had set her eyes and heart upon seeing both Bee-eater and Hoopoe and I had promised to add a White-headed Duck. Upon collecting Mary at the Plaza Mayor (what a mess this is with every car space closed off and nowhere to park) there were resident House Martins flying around their newly-restored breeding colony and, whilst awaiting my arrival, Mary had already had a Hoopoe fly past to make it sound like a very promising start to the day. And before reaching the entrance to the Guadalhorce reserve we had also also added Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet and House Sparrow.
|Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops in flight|
|Male White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala|
However, it was the Rio Viejo (the Old River) which really turned up trumps. Not jut the small mixed flock of gull-like birds which included, mainly, Audouin's Gulls, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich, Little and a single Caspian Tern but also a couple of Grey Plovers in beautiful summer plumage, a Redshank, quartet of Dunlin, three Avocet and very many Little Ringed Plovers. It took a short while but we eventually also found a few Kentish Plovers. A Sardinian Warbler dashed between the bushes below us and, on the opposite side of the track, a male Blackbird arrived as a quintet of Spotless Starlings moved on.
|Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius|
Walking towards the Laguna Escondida Mary stopped having seen a small bird a the bottom of a bush which turned out to be a second Sardinian Warbler but almost next to her bird was a female Subalpine Warbler and then the female Sardinian Warbler put in an appearance. But, hark, what was that we heard overhead? Yes, our first Bee-eater of the morning but it was gone before Mary could raise her bins.
|Bee-eater Abejaruco Europeo Merops apiaster in flight|
Not to worry, a hundred metres further on we found the bird, or another one, resting on top of a bare tree so Mary able to take photographs. The Escondida itself was very quiet with just a pair of White-headed Ducks and many swifts and hirrundines above but then a trio of Bee-eaters arrived and posed very obligingly near the hide in a bare bush. Wonderful views.
|Bee-eater Abejaruco Europeo Merops apiaster|
Again, the Laguna Grande was relatively quiet with a few Black-winged Stilts and their families. To the back a small group of Back-headed Gulls and then a couple of Whiskered Terns arrived to help make our day even more exciting. Below us a pair of Kentish Plovers were, presumably, approving of their nest scrape when before we could blink mating took place; full frontal nudity. We assume that copulation was successful albeit we both laughed when the the male fell off backwards taking the female with him and the undignified scramble that followed as they tried to recover their feet; what a way to remember the morning! Walking back to the car a flight of four Monk Parakeets, not so raucous and noisy on this occasion, passed overhead.
|Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops|
Mallard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Ter, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Monk Parakeet, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Bonelli's Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Serin, Goldfinch.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information