Saturday 25 September
Common Kestrel? These days nothing "common" about these small, delightful falcons. On the other hand, this was the first species recorded as I approached the Charca de Suarez in Motril and also the last species seen at the end of Camino Patria in the growing fields at the back of the reserve as I started back to Mezquitilla. An early morning visit and only time for ninety minutes as I had to be back early for a local appointment. Great to meet up again with friend Mick Richardson along with his Spanish birding pal, Juan Perez. Still warm and calm but sufficient cloud to keep the temperature down a little.
Approaching the Charca itself both Collared Dove and even a Wood Pigeon traversing "Tip Alley" before meeting up Mick and finding Blackcap almost immediately. Numerous calling Cetti's Warblers and ere long a small group of Red Avadavat flew over. Once at the Laguna del Alamo Banco Mallard and a couple of White Stork. A Heron was resting atop the pole in the middle of the water.
|Heron Ardea cinerea with Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata below|
Moving across to the small hide at the bottom of the Laguna del Taraje we found more Mallard along with a couple of Teal, Gadwall and Moorhen. Ere long a pair of Purple Swamphen were found along with the first Red-knobbed Coot followed by a very short-stating Kingfisher.
|Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca|
Continuing on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas we found Spotted Flycatcher, Chiffchaff and Blackbird. A Nightingale was calling from the depths of the very dense bushes to our left and then the first Great Tit. On the water quantity rather then depth of species including mainly Mallard, Common and Red-knobbed Coot along with a few resting Heron. However, more diligent searching also produced Little Grebe, Purple Swamphen, a couple of Ferruginous Duck, single Pochard and more Moorhen. Lovely to find a juvenile Night Heron at the far end and whilst no Cormorant, on this occasion there were at least a quintet of Black-headed Gull.
|Distant record shot of juvenile Night Heron Nycticorax nyticorax|
Whilst at the Laguna del Trebol north end we witnessed a Ferruginous Duck fly past which was later located at the far end when we visited the southern hide to this water. Perhaps the bizarre sighting at the northern hide was the very rough-looking Blackbird in just about the worst state of moult; talk about "hen pecked!" The walk between the two hides produced a lovely Pied Flycatcher and another Great Tit.
|Heavily moulted Blackbird Turdus merula|
Leaving the hide to walk to the Laguna del Lirio I happened to look up and watched a Booted Eagle circling high above. Then, at the water, the massed observers were watching the Kingfisher that was happy to remain atop a water height post for the duration. What a way to end the short visit.
|Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus|
|Kingfisher Alcedo atthis|
But that was not the end of the birding. Taking the Camino Patria at the back of the reserve, rather than turn right into Turtle Dove Alley, what I now refer to as "Tip Alley", I continued straight on and my journey was most worthwhile. Stopping near a rather dilapidated greenhouse on the right to check out some "strange looking" doves resting on the bare top wires, I realised that only were they Turtle Doves but immediately below was both a Hoopoe and a Zitting Cisticola along with a rather large flock of House Sparrows. Just a little further on and I stopped to watch the feeding Common Waxbills at the side of the road and, on the opposite side of the road, a large charm of Goldfinch. hardly worth mentioning that I was welcomed home by the screaming Monk Parakeets!
|Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur|
|Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild|
|Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis|
Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Heron, White Stork, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, House Sparrow, Waxbill, Red Avadavat, Goldfinch.
|Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis|
|Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio|