Sunday, 13 January 2019

Charca de Suarez

12 January 2019

Birding has resumed; all is back to normal!  Beautiful clear start to the day with full sun albeit a little on the cold side till mid-morning, so off to Charca de Suarez, Motril for the January meting of the Axarquia Bird Group.  In the end a total of five of us present though we did see Mick Richardson late in the morning and all of us got excellent views of the Spotted Crake.

Spotted Crake Polluela Pintoja Porzana porzana


Turning into Turtle Dove Alley I had a Collared Dove resting on the wires and then quickly came across a small flock of Common Waxbill followed by a handful of Serin.  As I left the road to drive the shot distance to the Charca de Suarez entrance a lone Heron slowly flew over and a male Black Redstart seemed to be giving me the evil eye.  Once inside the reserve another Black Redstart was feeding on the path, John and jenny also saw a Hoopoe, as I made my way to the bamboo hide overlooking the Laguna del Taraje recording a pair of Great Tit on the way where I found mainly Mallards and Moorhens on show along with both a single Red-knobbed Coot and Little Grebe.  Just the odd Chiffchaff and a single Robin before I moved on recording a couple of Blackbirds as I left the hide.

Mallards Anas platyrhynchos, Moorhens Gallinula chloropus and a Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata in the early morning mist
Nothing to see at the far end of this laguna other than  male Teal but I did meet up with John and Jenny Wainwright who were approaching from the opposite direction and recorded a small charm of Goldfinch.  Whilst together we watched a Marsh Harrier drift over and then I made my way to the Launa del Alamo Blanco where, as just informed, I found the hide chock-a-block with photographers and not a scope in sight.  Looking at the range of equipment, and the that of others seen later on, there must have been more than 250,000 pounds worth of equipment on the reserve!  The resident White Stork was hiding at the back of the water so I decided to move on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas.

Laguna del Alamo Blanco as seen by the miriards of photographers
Lots of Common Coots and a handful of the Red-knobbed Coots along wot the duck population made up of mainly Mallard and Shoveler but also a few, hiding Teal, Common Pochard and at least seven Ferruginous Ducks.  In front a Grey and a pair of White Wagtails plus a few Little Grebe.  No shortage of resting Cormorant and a single Yellow-legged Gulls.  A small number of House Sparrows were feeding in front of the hide to my left along with a few Chiffchaff and a Bluethroat put in a brief appearance.  And all the while a constant supply of feeding Crag Martins.

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica (PHOTO: John & Jenny Wainwright)

Time to move on and with the northern hide overlooking the Laguna del Trebol also full of photographers, but still able to note the good number of Red-knobbed Coots and Chiffchaffs, I made my way to the southern hide overlooking the water. 

Laguna del Trebol looking towards the snow-capped peaks in the far distance

Here, finally, I had the hide to myself.  Lovely to watch the active Red-knobbed Coots and in front of me both Cetti's Warbler and Bluethroat feeding at the edge below me.  A Robin put in a brief appearance and a Grey Wagtail flew across towards the hide.  Finally, a male Stonechat was seen away to my right.

Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus

The Laguna del Lirio was relatively quiet other than the many Chffchaff but, eventually, another Red-knobbed Coot and a second Stonechat.  My estimation is that, presently, there my be a minimum of twenty Red-knobbed Coots on site.

Red-knobbed Coot Focha Moruna Fulica cristata

To end my morning back to the Laguna del Alamo Blanco where, finally, a little more room.  John and Jenny had just seen the Spotted Crake immediately in front of the hide.  John Ross and his wife finally found us and even Mick Richardson was suddenly in the hide.  As a result we moved round to the edge of the water to look at the back of the water where we were successful in getting good views of the Spotted Crake.

Cetti's Warbler Ruisenor Bastardo Cettia cetti

Back in the hide we watched a Buzzard being mobbed by a pair of Kestrel and then a couple of Purple Swamphen paddles across the water in front of us.  John saw the flight of the Snipe across the water and the White Stork could be seen along with a heron.

Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio
Making my way back through Turtle Dove Alley I stopped to watch a pair of dark morph Booted Eagles overhead and then a couple of Spotless Starling.  A Rock Dove was seen at the end of the lane along with a flying Cattle Egret.  A final total of 38 species


Distant record shot of seven Ferruginous Ducks Porron Pardo Aythya nyroca
Whilst I made my way back to Mezquitilla, John and Jenny Wainwright called in at Padul on their way back to Salar.  John. report follows.


Padul Laguna 

A bright and warm day here.  We parked up and headed for the small area where the Dunnocks were usually seen, but there was a tree down across in front of the feeders, where they are noted.

We then carried on round the laguna seeing Common Magpie, Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings and a Marsh Harrier.


By a stream we spotted a couple of Tree Sparrows in a small bush, while further on we noted Serins, Spanish Sparrows, Sardinian Warblers and an Iberian Grey Shrike.  Lots of Corn Buntings and

Chiffchaffs about as well as Stonechats.  Another female Marsh Harrier came past us and a Grey
Heron flew off from one of the fields.

Grey Wagtail Lavandera Cascadena Motacilla cinerea
As we made our way along the boardwalk - which is now closed off due to being underwater part of the way - we put up a male Merlin.  Then more Chiffchaffs were seen as well as Blackcap, a Moorhen, Grey and White Wagtails and a nice surprise was the Bluethroat that we disturbed - sitting in a bush.  A Cetti´s Warbler and a Water Rail was heard here also.  Not a bad day's birding overall.

Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita
Looks like I missed out on the opportunity to see my first Merlin since 2017.

Bird seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Heron, White Stork, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Spotted Crake, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Snipe, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Waxbill, Serin, Goldfinch.

Moorhen Gallineta Comun Gallinula chloropus

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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