Thursday 8 August 2013

Charca de Suarez and 9 Ferruginous Duck

Thursday 7 August

Cattle Egret  Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis (PHOTO: Steve Powell)
 What a very pleasant way to spend a summer's day; lunch with Steve and Elena Powell followed by sitting doing nothing for the afternoon on a terrace with a gentle breeze, plenty to drink and watching a pair of Kestrels gliding around the clear blue sky above.  Then the girls went their separate ways (I don't think this counts as part of the pleasant day!) whilst Steve and I drove over to the Charca de Suarez reserve on the western outskirts of Motril for the evening opening.  Considering that I had already recorded both Thekla Lark and Red-rumped Swallow as we drove down from the mountain where the local flock of Bee-eaters were busy feeding and screeching at each other then some rather lovely birds by UK standards had already been seen.

Turtle Dove Tortola Europea Streptopelia turtur (PHOTO: Steve Powell)
Leaving the N340 at Salobrena to drive towards the reserve we were soon to see scores of feeding Rock Doves and Cattle Egrets in the neighbouring fields along with the usual Spotless Starlings.   Take a right down the concrete track I know as "Turtle Dove Alley" and ere long we had duly seen at least a dozen of these delightful visiting doves along with a pair of Greenfinches and many Serins and House Sparrows.  With the rear entrance to the reserve now gated, it was a question of driving round to the front and parking on the road, the car park having also been closed off to further extend and develop the site.

Departing Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinerea (PHOTO: Steve Powell)
Entering the site it was straight to the main hide with a few Collared Doves drifting around threes and a Little Grebe with four very young chicks on the Laguna del Taraje.  A few Goldfinches then a family of Spotted Flycatchers was seen approaching the Laguna de las Aneas and the hide, indeed they were seen in twos and threes all over the reserve, where we were to discover a good occupancy of visitors.  Unlike previous visits, the gates must indeed have opened a little early rather the opposite!  Lots more activity than Steve's visit a week ago with good numbers of both Coots and Moorhen along with Little Grebes.  The Mallard population was well represented with a mixture of ages and most seeming to be at rest.  Indeed, looking at the nearby island immediately in front of the hide what appeared to be a skinny duck lifted its head to reveal a lonely juvenile Black-tailed Godwit; all on its ownsome and, no doubt, looking a little company and security.

Purple Heron Garza Imperial Ardea purpurea

At least a half-dozen Grey Herons on the water including youngsters and a single Purple Heron.  The quartet of Little Egrets were at the back of the water where I also discovered a p[air of juvenile Night Herons resting at the water's edge.  Overhead, a continuous movement of a few gulls, mainly immature Yellow-legged Gulls abut also a handful of Black-headed Gulls.  The occasional Barn Swallow was joined a single Sand Martin which was rather a very pleasant surprise , closely followed by a few House Martins.  Before moving on we managed to find a couple of Purple Swamphens doing their usual meandering walk amongst the reed edges followed by balancing on one leg whilst they used the other to hold young shoots up to their beaks.

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus (PHOTO: Steve Powell)
Then on to the Laguna del Trebol where Steve had already arrived in time to find a Little Bittern and Red-knobbed Coot, the latter decked out in his glossy white collar complete with identity number.  I quickly found the coot but the Little Bittern, whilst less than ten metres away, was very well concealed in the reed edges and impossible to get a decent photograph.  After a while I returned to spend far more time at the main water whilst Steve continued on round to the back to check out the same water from the other side.  Here Steve managed to find another Little Bittern plus both the Red-knobbed Coots.  How many RKCs have been introduced to the reserve as, on returning to the Aneas I also had a collar-marked individual?

However, I mainly concentrated on watching the Purple Heron, Night Herons and Purple Swamphen until I found a little brown duck with a white rear end and realised I was looking at a Ferruginous Duck.  A rather lovely way to end the evening I thougt as I made my way to the far side to join Steve.  I then carried on to the Laguna del Lirio where I was in time to find a departing adult Night Heron along with a Reed Warbler

Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta checking out "Who dat down dere?"

Meanwhile, Steve returned to main water to see the Ferruginous Duck and, on meeting me again fifteen minutes later, was able to report that not only had he seen the duck but by then there were nine of the bird and he even managed to get them all into one frame as the light rapidly disappeared.  In addition, he managed to find a White Wagtail and the few Cattle Egrets that had started to arrive for their nightly roost before I left was now rapidly increasing.  So back he came disturbing the feeding Blackbird on the main track and we set off back to Frigilliana having duly recorded 31 species at the reserve - plus the four seen earlier in the day.

A group of 10 Ferruginous Ducks Porron Pardo Aythya nyroca gathered for the night (PHOTO: Steve Powell) 

Young Black-tailed Godwit Aguja Colinegra Limosa limosa seeking company with the Mallards Anas platyrhynchos

One of at least three Red-knobbed Coots Focha Moruno Fulica cristata taking its early evening bath
The ever-present Spotted Flycatcher Papamoscas Gris Muscicapa striata
A very static Scarlet Darter (Broad Scarlet) Crocothemis erythraea seen from the small hide

Birds seen:
Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Bee-eater, Thekla Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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1 comment:

  1. As always, another fantastic account of your birding as well as the beautiful dragonfly species Bob.
    I see what you mean about your Spotted Flycatchers.
    I hope you catch up with some Pied Flycatchers and Whinchats soon Bob.