Following yesterday's hour down at the Rio Velez to check that I was all right to drive and chance to rediscover what birds, trees and rivers look like, this morning I took myself off to the Charca de Suarez on the western outskirts of Motril for three hours super birding. Dry and cloudy a I set off at 9 and a large gathering of feeding Pallid Swifts above the top of the neighbouring apartment blocks. All very quiet as I approached and very little to be seen in "Turtle Dove Alley" other than Collared Doves and House Sparrows, albeit I was sure I had a first Turtle Dove of the year but the view was very obscured and if back they were bound to be found inside the reserve. This indeed proved to be the case with at least half a dozen individuals noted. And having taken the back road I could not but help seeing the breeding House Martin colony in full swing at the back of the reserve.
About a dozen of us waiting for Mano to open the gate and I was pleased that visiting friend from Sweden, Hans Borgjessen, was able to join me. Straight to the new hide overlooking the Laguna del Alamo Blanco before the overnight birds were disturbed and already we could here Cetti's Warbler, Nightingale and Turtle Dove in the immediate vicinity. Once ensconced we were able to find a young Glossy Ibis feeding immediately in front of the hide with an adult at the back of the water. Two White Storks present on this occasion along with a pair of Black-winged Stilts. Just the one Moorhen initially and then Hans drew my attention to well-ringed Spoonbill (origin northern Europe, either Holland or Germany). I don't why I bothered to leave the hide for a better view as the bird simply completed the circuit and reappeared in front of the hide!
It seems out of place to record such a common bird as Spotless Starling but, at the same time, a small party of Bee-eaters flew over and another, larger, group later in the morning. Things really beginning to hot up now as a Snipe emerged from the grasses to our near left and then, wonders of wonders, a Spotted Crake right out in the open a little further back before crossing to the island and back again. At least all in the hide had excellent views and most good photographs of same.
|Spotted Crake Polluela Pintoja Porzana porzana|
|Squacco Heron Garcilla Cangrejera Ardeola ralloides|
|Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia|
At this point we decided it was time to see what might be found on the main Laguna de las Aneas. An interesting walk as we quickly added Goldfinch and then a handsome male Serin. A Zitting Cisticola was busy singing and making occasional short flights and a Blackcap was finally seen having heard so many as we made our way along the track.
On arrival at the hide Manu had his scope in place for us take a look at the resting male Little Bittern. He then informed us that as he left the previous hide, about two minutes before us, the recently -arrived Purple Heron had flown over; one that we missed on this occasion. The water was occupied by mainly Common Coots but immediately in front of us on our left of the island was nesting Red-knobbed Coot and its mate in the water nearby. The Mallards had arrive and we also had a couple of Little Grebes.
|Male Little Bittern Avetorillo Comun Ixobrychus minutus|
|Turtle Dove Tortola Europea Streptopelia turtur|
|Mother Red-knobbed Coot Focha Moruna Fulica cristata sits tight whist dad-to-be stands (sits) guard|
|Night Heron Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax|
So on towards home and driving back down Turtle Alley only Collared Doves and a trio of Common Kestrel to add to the list making a final total of 47 species in three hours plus the earlier Pallid Swift. And when was the last time I saw 9 warbler species in one session and also managed to record 9 new species for the year list? An excellent way to get back into birding and shared with great company.
|A pair of White Storks Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia|
Mallard, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Spotted Crake, Moorhen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Snipe, Redshank, Greenshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Western Orphean Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Bonelli's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
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