|Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Thursday 1 April
What a cloudy, overcast and dull start to the day when I met up with finds Derek and Barbara Etherton along with Jerry and Barbra Laycock at the the Guadalmar church so that we could bird the Desembocadura de Guadalhorce, Malaga before the Easter holiday makers arrived Blackbirds and House Sparrows in the neighbouring trees and as we set off the site entrance a couple of Great Tit then the first of the calling Reed Warblers. Cetti's Warblers soon joined in and as we crossed the footbridge a few of the resident Rock Doves were observed. Slightly downstream a Pochard paddled out from the bank to join a Cormorant whilst, overhead, two departing Shelduck. Whilst watching the arrival of the first House Martins which build their nests below the bridge we also watched a hovering Kestrel slightly upstream.
Rather than take the usual tour of the site we headed straight for the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande in order to arrive before the casual visitors, on the way recording our first Nightingales, Sardinian Warbler and Zitting Cisticola. As soon as we arrived it was obvious that there were fewer Cormorant present but no shortage of Black-winged Stilts. A couple of Avocet were feeding near the hide and on the scrape in front a Common Sandpiper. A couple of Spotless Starlings flew over and at the back of the water we found the lone Black-necked Grebe. Very few Slender-billed Gulls on the water and, initially, only a handful of Shelduck until they were joined by a further fifteen.
In addition to a few House Martins feeding over the water, we noted the arrival of a small number of Barn Swallows plus a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Checking the far island Derek found a single Dunlin and also noted was a small number of Black-headed Gulls. The arrival of a few Sandwich Terns was most welcome and then the pleasure disturbed by a fly-past of screaming Monk Parakeets.
|Only a few Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus on the Rio Viejo
Setting of for the Laguna Escondida we encountered a pair of Mallard making their way across the track to the water and once arrived just a pair of male White-headed Duck and a single Little Grebe at the back of the water. A couple of Coot put in an appearance and as we departed a Crested Lark was recorded.
|Kentish Plovers Charadrius alexanrinus
The Laguna Casillas was very quiet with just a single Little Grebe and a pair of Pochard along with a couple of Coot. A lone Moorhen did venture out for a few minutes and there were both Goldfinches and Serins in the neighbouring tree. Moving on to the neighbouring Wader Pool there was no shortage of Black-winged Stilts but also a quartet of Shoveler and a single Little Ringed Plover and Little Grebe. Even a single Redshank put in an appearance.
|Nevermind blushing brides, look at the Slender-bills Gulls Larus genei resting with Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis (PHOTO: Derek Etherton)
Once again the Rio Viejo (Old River) delivered the goods albeit in not such great numbers as last Monday. Over thirty Black-winged Stilts and eleven Flamingos to immediately grab our attention and then, close at hand, a handful of Slender-billed Gulls, a Greenshank and the first of very many Redshank. A single Ruff was a delightful addition. A Red-legged Partidge dashed away along the shore line and looking towards the far end we could seen the massed roost of both Slender-billed Gulls and Sandwich Terns. Closer inspection also produced a Black-headed Gull and then time to check out the shore at the far end where we found a large number of small waders including Great, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Sanderling and Dunlin.
|Kentish Plovers and Sanderlings Calidris alba
A little on the breezy side when we reached the Sea Watch but plenty of gull rafts on the water, mainly immature Yellow-legged Gulls. In addition there were fishing Sandwich Terns and a couple of Gannet. Time to start our way back and although the sun trying to force its way through still on the cloudy side but more and more visitors beginning to arrive in the area. A posing Zitting Cisticola was a lovely sight and then more Collared Doves when we reached the Wader Pool. But, just as we were approaching the avenue leading to the footbridge, we all heard the very familiar and welcome sound and, looking up, found the half-dozen recently-arrived Bee-eaters. What a lovely, almost, end to the morning. Jackdaws were added as we reached the church and then time for a refreshing coffee before making our respective ways home.
|Zitting Cisticola Buitron Cisticola juncidis
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Flamingo, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Greenshank, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
|Slender-billed Gulls Gaviota Picofina Larus genei