Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Monday 14 January

Having driven down to the Cabopino marina east of Marbella with Steve Powell in the hope of seeing the visiting Snow Bunting and dipped, we came home via the Guadalhorce reserve in Malaga in the hope that the late afternoon arrival might coincide with sight of the wintering Short-eared Owls recently reported.  Again, we were unsuccessful so carried on to the Laguna Grande to see what might be about.  Quite encouraging to think that we recorded 33 species in our stray of well less than an hour.

Greenshank Archebebe Claro Tringa nebularia
We were greeted by House Sparrow and Monk Parakeet and as soon above the western arm our first couple of Plack RedstartsCormorants travelled to and from the main water and in with the Spotless Starlings in a nearby dead tree a single Common Starling.  Having crossed the footbridge to make our way to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande the Spotless Starlings took off one way as a Sparrowhawk dashed away in the opposite direction.  Another Black Redstart and then a couple of White Wagtails on the track before we reached the hide.

Common Sandpiper Andarrios Chico Actitis hypoleucos (Canon EOS 7D)

From the hide it was obvious that the Cormorant colony counted over one hundred individuals and we managed also to find both Cattle and Little Egrets plus a single Grey HeronCollared Doves on the trees along with more Spotless Starlings and then to look at the water

Part of the Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo roost (Canon SX60 bridge camera)
Eleven Shelduck and ten Black-necked Grebes counted but the Shoveler population had diminished since my last visit and just a couple of Mallard and Common Coot.  Immediately below the hide we had a single Greenshank along with a Common Sandpiper and half-dozen Black-winged Stilts.  Both Chiffchaff and Spotless Starling were probing the grasses.  A little further back a quartet of Dunlin were feeding with a single Ringed Plover.

Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula with 3 Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina behind
At the far island with the dead tree a Whimbrel was feeding close by and, on checking the photos, I was able to establish that the two smaller waders were Black-tailed Godwits along with a single Kentish Plover.

By way of excitement we watched a Buzzard hovering and then a male Marsh Harrier trying to take a Cormorant from the top of the "Osprey " pole.  Obviously a bird with bigger eyes than stomach as the Cormorant seemed not to be too bothered by the harrier's efforts.

Marsh Harrier Aguilucho lagunero Circus aeruginosus and sizing up a Cormorant below

There was small a number of Yellow-legged Gulls on the water when we arrived and before departure a larger number of Black-headed Gulls had arrived.  Just the occasional Crag Martin feeding over the water and as we set off back to the car a Robin put in a brief appearance on the track.  Finally, not just a female Kestrel roosting but a Booted Eagle passed over.

Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus in the setting sun
Birds seen:    
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow



Shelduck Tarro Blanco Tadorna tadorna (Canon SX60 bridge camera)

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus

Camera comparison

I used both my EOS 7D with 100-400 lens and the small, lightweight canon SX60 on the same subject to make a comparison before deciding which, or both, cameras to take on my upcoming visit to Borneo.  Impressed when I saw the results of the small camera and, I must admit, disappointed with the results from the larger camera.

(Canon SX60)
(Canon EOS 7D)

(Canon SX60)














Greenshank Archebebe Claro Tringa nebularia (Canon EOS 7D)







Part of the Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo roost (Canon SX60 bridge camera)                       













Same subject with Cann EOS 7D

 Very much tempted just to take the small, lightweigh Canon SX60



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