Up and away on a bright, clear, warm and sunny morning to Malaga Cruise Port to collect visiting American birder Wade and Carol who had just arrived on the Emerald Princess. So a very pleasant day's birding at the Guadalhorce followed by an hour at Zapata before it was time to get my guests back to their cruise ship for the final leg to Barcelona before heading straight home to Florida.
Over four hours at the Guadalhorce where we managed to find some good birds having been welcomed by Blackbird and House Martins and especially Collared Doves along with the usual regulars. As we approached the footbridge we had our first sighting of Red-rumped Swallow and numerous Common Swifts in the air above. On both sides of the track we could hear many Reed Warblers and coming off the bridge a male Sardinian Warbler. A Little Egret put in a brief appearance slightly upstream but soon disappeared into the vegetation. So, with Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving overhead, onto the first hide.
Laguna Casillas was not overcrowded with birds but at least nine nests with sitting birds found so Black-winged Stilts are in full swing this breeding season as are the Coots. Indeed, some Stilts have already led their newly-hatched chicks down to the water's edge on the Laguna Grande. A pair of Mallard and about ten Common Pochard were also seen. Then, partly hidden by reed cover, another seven Little Egret. Now we had regular fly-pasts of Barn Swallow, House Martin and Common Swift.
|Little Egrets Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta|
In addition, we were able to see three Herons resting in the bare trees to the back of the water and a Green Sandpiper at the far end of the laguna. This was where we picked up the Black-tailed Godwit coming into breeding plumage that very kindly made its way to the front so that we could have a better view from the hide!
|Black-tailed Godwit Aguja Colinegra Limosa limosa|
|Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (above) and Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (below)|
Returning by the same route we then made our way to the Laguna Escondida. picking up a couple of Crested Larks on the way. A couple of Little Grebe immediately in front of the hide and a single Coot. Where were all the birds? But a little patience and gradually some activity at the far end as first a pair of Gadwall cam out of the reeds followed by a Moorhen. A brief appearance by a male White-headed Duck but eventually as many as three in sight.
|Most of the dozen Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus on the Laguna Grande|
|Turnstone Vuelvepiedras Comun Arenaria interpres|
|Avocet Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta|
A short walk up stream to the small weir soon produced a couple of Little Ringed Plover a pair of blue-headed Yellow Wagtails of the Iberian sub-species.
|Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius|
A high Short-toed Eagle was spotted by Carol and then it was back to the birds feeding near the weir including Green Sandpiper and Greenshank along with a couple of Redshank and a pair of Black-winged Stilts.
|Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia|
A Jackdaw flew over the trees on the opposite bank and hen the arrival of another Little Egret. More Collared Doves about as we made our way to the reed bed and spent some time parked at the top watching the activity below as (mainly) House Sparrows and Goldfinches came to bathe and drink. But also seen were Spotless Starling, Serin, Crested Larks and, finally, a lone Greenfinch.
Then it was back to the port with ten minutes to spare and a list of well over fifty species for Carol and Wade,
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Short-toed Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Greenshank, Green sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.
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