Thursday 19 September 2013

A Guadalhorce "quickie!"

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus harrying gull
Wednesday 18 September

Jenny dues back from the UK about 8pm so, having completed jobs in the house, I took myself off early so that I could spend about ninety minutes at the Guadalhorce, Malaga arriving about 6 and leaving at 7.30pm.  A very pleasant, warm and sunny evening as I made my way straight to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.  The first thing I noticed, using binoculars as I walked up the slope to the main track above the western arm of the river, and confirmed when I arrived at the Laguna Grande, was that the Cormorant numbers had trebled since last week; there were now three birds resting on the tall pole!

A half-dozen Little Egrets on the river along with the odd Moorhen and a Heron as I made my way into the reserve and then, walking along the track from the other side of the bridge on the direct path to the Laguna Grande, for a pair of Sardinian Warblers followed by quite a sizable flock of Greenfinches in the adjacent bushes, a single Zitting Cisticola and a couple of Crested Larks.  Approaching the turn towards Esondida and I was able to watch a Booted Eagle glide over in an easterly direction whilst more and more Herons made their way towards the main water.   The first arm of water held a juvenile White-headed Duck and then to the Laguna Grande itself where there was a good-sized flock of mixed Gulls, mainly Black-headed and Yellow-legged, including immatures of the latter, plus singletons of both Audouin's and Mediterranean Gull.

Marsh Harrier Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental Circus aeruginosus complete with computer orange tint!
On the water a smaller number of Coots and very few Mallards but a handful of Shoveler.  At least a score of Black-winged Stilts and more than a dozen Ringed Plovers including a number of juveniles.  Other waders included a single Little Ringed Plover, at least five Common Sandpipers and a solitary Turnstone.  It was also rather lovely to have a Greenshank drop in right in front of the hide.  In addition to the trio of Cormorants there were increasing numbers of Grey Herons present, at least ten, plus a smaller number of Little Egrets.  Only a couple of Little Grebes were noted.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia
I was joined at the hide by a delightful pair of birders from Branston near Coventry who were now volunteers at a site I first visited back in the mid-to-late seventies when Colin Potter had just taken over.  Strange to say, upon arriving they asked if I wrote a blog, must have recognised my photograph, as they has been reading it only the night before.  As you can imagine, much reminiscing took place re the wonders of birding the Midlands almost forty years ago!  Sad to say, I forgot or make a note of their names or their friend (David?) with whom they were staying in Mijas.  Well, if you are reading this blog, then please do email me/make contact so that I can pass on the latest news, etc.

Back to the birding.  In addition to the regular toing-and-froing of both Spotless Starlings and Monk Parakeets we also had a wonderful aerial display from a female Marsh Harrier ans she regularly put up the gulls and anything else below her at the time.  I wonder if I managed to get a half-decent photo and, if so, whether or not it will let me treat it and post without gaining the dreaded orange tint.  If this blog has an accompanying illustration you will know the answer!  Looking at the back of the water there seemed to be a regular passage of Collared Doves beyond the trees abut then, to make it all worthwhile, a pair of Greater Flamingos, what looked like mother and juvenile; probably two of the three individuals that seem to have been here for weeks.

Time to think about setting off for the airport so a very quick visit to the Laguna Escondida where I duly recorded both Little Grebes and more Coots.  Duck wise, in addition to a quartet of White-headed Ducks I also picked up a handful of Common Pochards.  Making my way back to the footbridge, only the odd Greenfinch but a pair of feeding Red-rumped Swallows were watches along with a small number of Goldfinches.  And that was it; I made the airport pick-up venue with a minute to spare - which was when "S**s Law" rather than "Murphy's Law kicked in and the plane arrived forty minutes late!

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

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