Collected visiting birders Nigel and Judy Lambert from Melton Mowbray, UK and we were at the Guadalhorce by 9.15 for a morning's birding in very warm and sunny conditions but a stronger breeze than had been anticipated; but definitely short sleeves and shorts! No sooner had we arrived and we seeing many House Martins, especially at their nesting site under the footbridge, along with the resident Rock Doves below the motorway bridge. But no red-rumped Swallows seen all morning. A good number of Common Swifts were feeding higher in the sky and as we reached the end of the bridge looking down to our left we had a good view of of a feeding Spotted Flycatcher.
On to the Laguna Casillas which contained a few Coot and a number of Black-winged Stilts along with a couple of Little Grebe. To our left a pair of Mallards and a quartet of Common Pochard before we found the single male White-headed Duck. Both Cetti's Warbler and Nightingale were very vociferous with their songs and hen the arrival of our first Little Egret.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the track, we were able to take a very close look at a basking snake, at least two meters long. And what about those strange blue eyes? It has now been confirmed as a Montpellier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus and at about the maximum length for this species. Literature describes it as a mildly venomous rear-fanged colubrid - so don't stick your finger down its throat!
|Basking Montpellier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus at the edge of the track opposite Laguna Casillas|
|Distant Osprey Aguila Pescadora Pandion haliaetus thinking about tiome to go on a fishing expedition|
|Serin Verdecillo Serinus serinus|
|Avocets Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta|
The Laguna Grande was its usual busy self with a good number of Black-headed and even a handful of Yellow-legged Gulls. A few more Black-winged Stilts and a nesting pair of Avocet before concentrating on the small waders below the hide. Just the single Curlew Sandpiper but at least five Dunlin and about a half-dozen Kentish Plover. Again, more Ringed Plover but no Little Ringed Plovers. Out on the water itself we had a trio of Flamingo and a pair of resting Shelduck. And then it was time to return to the car, picking up a male Blackbird on the way, and make our way onwards the airport for a well-deserved lunch break.
|Black-winged Stilt chick Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus - but will it survive the hungry gulls?|
Suitably refreshed we then headed down to Zapata with a first stop at the ford. Lots of House Martins and Barn Swallows in the air and a small number of Goldfinch and Linnet feeding at the water's edge. Unfortunately, a couple were messing about near the weir upstream where we would have expected to find our waders so we concentrated on the ford itself. A Night Heron was happily sitting on a small rock adjacent to the downstream edge of the ford and then a Little Egret came to join him.
|Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta|
|Night Heron Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax|
|Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Iberica Motacilla flava iberiae|
Common Swifts were now overhead as we made our way back up to the main track and on towards the airport via the Mass reed bed. Greenfinch, Blackbird and Stonechat were added to our sightings for the day and stopping to watch the avian activity in the wide crossing/gap in the reeds w enjoyed the bathing display of Linnets, Goldfinches, Blackbirds and Spotless Starlings. Amongst the many House Sparrows we even managed to find a male Spanish Sparrow. Continuing on we picked up more Blackbirds and Serins and a male Sardinian Warbler on the track whilst the Cetti's Warblers and Nightingales continued to serenade us with their very recognisable renditions. By the time we returned to the city we had managed to record 53 species.
Shelduck, Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Sender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail, Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.
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