Friday 1 February 2019


Thursday 31 January

Not just the last day of the month but also time to say good-bye to our visiting Dutch-birder friend, Lisette as she leaves for home early next week.  Still, come November Lisette will be back with us to continue her Malaga birding and walks in the neighbouring countryside.  We eventually met up with Olly and Corrinne Hibbert and John and set of for Zapata to see if the tracks and area around the ford were as safe as led to believe.  Indeed they were.

On arrival we quickly recorded House Sparrow, Spotless Starling and Collared Dove as we made our way down to the Rio Gualhorce.  Soon up came a pair of Great Tit and an over-flying Cattle Egret plus a resting Kestrel on top of a bare tree.  As ever, there seemed to be White Wagtails everywhere.  Once parked a the for we could take in the birds either on the water, such as Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Shoveler plus those feeding or resting at the edges.  Here we found a very concealed Heron plus both Green and Common Sandpiper along with a single Greenshank.  A brief appearance from a Meadow Pipit before we added a Ringed Plover to the sightings.  Behind us the loud calling of Cetti's Warblers, foraging Chiffchaffs and the occasional Blackbird before a Grey Wagtail put in an appearance at the water's edge.  A Cormorant flew over on its way up river and taking a short walk up stream we found a dozen Jackdaw.

Linnet Pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina

Having crossed the ford in just the one car a stop on the other side produced another couple of Green Sandpipers in the concrete run-off and the sight of an Osprey above us making its way downstream.  Both Serin and Blackcap were found in the neighbouring trees along with more White Wagtails.  Another good sighting was that of a male Black Redstart.  A Little Egret was resting at the water's edge.

White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacila alba

Back across the river and then up to the reed bed.  Here we found numerous Goldfinch and Linnet plus another Robin and a couple of Meadow Pipit, most enjoying a lovely bath in the exposed stream.  A couple of Greenfinch in the nearby trees along with a female Reed Bunting whilst two Moorhens made the mad dash across the exposed water.

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis

Working our way along the track we also found a trio of Sardinian Warbler and Stonechat.  On a nearby post a Buzzard came to rest and a second Kestrel was seen over the airport perimeter. Whilst two dozen Cattle Egrets and about a dozen Jackdaws were feeding on the turned soil as they followed a tractor in the field behind us we also had a the first of a couple of Zitting Cisticola in the reeds.  Crag Martins were by now feeding above us.  Checking out the local starling flock we even managed to find a Common Starling in their midst.

Returning by taking the same route back rather than straight onto the nearby road, we stopped near the turn to the ford and watched a female Marsh Harrier drop down in front of us and, at the same time, also saw the Osprey circling above before moving away.  A Hoopoe was calling away to our left and a lovely male Kestrel was back in the original tree seen on entry to the site and then back towards the airport where we found a Red-legged Partridge walking across the top of the underpass entry!

Male Kestrel Cernicalo Vulgar Falco tinnunculus

No Waxbill or Penduline Tit but we did manage a final species total of 43.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Red-legged Partridge, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.
Linnet Pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina and White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacila alba enjoying their ablutions.

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