Monday, 26 April 2021

Guadalhorce, Malaga

 Monday 26 April

The Wader Pool at the Desembocaduro del Guadalhorce

Approaching the end of the month, the rain has passed over and the days are getting sunnier and warmer.  Time for a morning visit to the Desembocaduro del Guadalhorce in Malaga to see if I, too, can see some of the reported recent arrivals.  Greeted by Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Blackbird as I set of towards the footbridge where I found the breeding House Martins, a couple of Rock Doves and already many calling Nightingales.  A handful of Common Swifts came down to feed over and take on water.  Moving on a Serin was seen on the fence and a Cattle Egret was flying out of the reserve towards the church. To my right many singing Reed Warblers.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

Once at the Laguna Casillas just the one bird on the open water but it was a real surprise in being a Great Crested Grebe.  Eventually I also found a heron, couple of Little Grebe and five Little Egrets in the tree at the back.  A couple of male Pochards were also found to me left.  Once I had noted both the Moorhen and Coot plus three Black-winged Stilts I moved on the Wader Pool.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

The Wader Pool appeared to be "chocker-block" with white birds.  No less then 23 Avocet along with  a slightly larger number of Black-winged Stilts. A couple of Shelduck flew in and also three Redshank present.  In front of me a Common Sandpiper then a pair of Slender-billed Gulls joined the gathered throng.  Behind me Cetti's Warblers and over the water feeding Barn Swallows and more House Martins, the latter mainly feeding over the neighbouring river.  Then a Hoopoe flew over theatre to rest on the island's tree.

Hoopoe Upupa epops

Time to see what was on the Rio Viejo (Old River) and not surprised to see relatively few birds as the water level was so high.  A number of Black-winged Stilts plus Ringed, Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers plus a single summer plumage Sanderling.  Another Sardinian Warbler, Goldfinches and Greenfinches as I continued on down to the Sea Watch.  Nothing to be seen out at sea other than a handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls so back into the reserve proper and make my way towards the Escondida Hide.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Both Spotless Starlings and Monk Parakeets as I made my way back and upon arrival at the Laguna Escondida just the single Coot on the water and a sleeping Pochard at the very far end.  However, before departing another three Coots put in an appearance and a pair of male Pochard and a single female White-headed Duck also moved out onto the open water.

Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis with Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus and Black-winged Stilt.   But note the two diminutive Little Terns Sterna albifrons (back centre)

Finally arriving at the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande a number of surprises.  Just the one Cormorant and Flamingo numbers were down to less than ten.,  Still lots of Black-winged Stilts but the far island away to the right held a half-dozen Shelduck and yet more Avocet (29 recorded during the visit).  Having noted that the Cormorant was accompanied by a few Black-headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns I looked closer at the nearer island and found yet more of the same.  Putting the scope on the far island described above revealed scores of Sandwich Terns.  During one of their few massed flights around the water I noticed that one of the terns seemed extremely small so waited until the identified tern had landed then used the scope to focus and confirm the presence of a Little Tern.  Even more scrutiny also produced a single Gull-billed Tern.  Not long after the main tern flock seemed to disappear over the back but the, now two, Little Terns flew our way and came to rest almost in front of the hide.  Meanwhile, at the back of the laguna, a small number of Slender-billed Gulls were still present.

Little Terns Sterna albifrons

Also present near the hide were a couple of Redhank along with Little Ringed Plover and two Dunlin.  Meanwhile, a Yellow-legged Gull watched over the proceedings from atop the large resting pole and a Crested Lark was found in the vegetation  just beyond the scrape.  A most enjoyable morning apart from the arrival of a party of very noisy children on an "outing."  They may have been wearing masks but I could not help but think it was perhaps most irresponsible to be taking young teenagers, who would not have received a Covid vaccination, out in large numbers to mix with older adults.

Gathering of the Little Egrets Egretta garzetta

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Golfinch.

Dunlin Calidris alpina

Redshank Tringa totanus

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

More Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta with a few Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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