Wednesday 2 October 2013

Guess what was seen by some of our international visitors?

 It is always good to receive reports from friends who have travelled out to Spain for some birding (even if in the case of Steve Kitchen he was supposed not to be on a birding visit this time!), especially as most, if not all, of the writers have accompanied at least one field visit with the Axarquia Bird Group.  My friends Iver and Inger Zink-Nielsen come out quite regularly from Denmark and I am usually able to meet up with them down at the Guadalhorce in Malaga but this year they arrived much earlier than usual and, sad to say, we were unable to get together on this occasion.  But there is always another day, "An otra dia."

Iver and Inger were once more in the Fuengirola area in late September and sent the following report:

Today, 29 September, in the Parque de Sohail in Fuengirola we saw a Rosy-faced Lovebird like the one from Namibia on this the website: Lovebird.  Apparently they vary a lot in plumage.  Are there any findings in this area?

This time we have come to Spain about five weeks earlier than usual because we wanted to go to Tarifa to watch migration.  Apart from the more frequent raptors we saw a very fine Rueppel's VultureWhite-rumped Swift has been on our want list and we had a single one.  At the golf course Montemedio we saw about 40 of the introduced Bald Ibis.
(Spanish) Bald Ibis Ibis Eremita Geronticus eremita

Till now we have had only a single visit to the Guadalhorce, from where we can mention Honey Buzzard, Little Tern and Knot as species that we have not seen very often.
Here in Fuengirola we are enjoying watching "our" two Peregrine Falcons.  At least one of them is spending the nights on top of the next building - now for the third consecutive year.
We are going back to Denmark next Monday (30 September).
Many thanks Iver and Inger for the report and a safe journey home.  Let us hope that we can meet again when you return next year.
Meanwhile, this morning I received the following report from Steve Kitchen who, I had the pleasure of meeting earlier in the year.

Report from Dona Lola Resort – Calahonda:
During April of this year I had the pleasure of meeting up with Bob Wright for a great
morning’s birdwatching around Ventas de Zafarraya and the hinterland to the north. We
saw some great birds including Azure-winged Magpie, Great Spotted Cuckoo and
Bonelli’s Eagle; it was a truly memorable few hours.

Spotted Flycatcher Papamoscas Gris Muscicpa striata (PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)

I was fortunate enough to return to Spain with my wife recently for a week’s holiday at
the Dona Lola resort in Calahonda (approximately mid-way between Fuengirola and
Marbella). Although this was not going to be a birding holiday as such, having an
apartment close to the beach did present the opportunity for some sea-atching and with a
small stream running to the sea adjacent to the apartments there was the prospect of some
interesting sightings. Upon our arrival numerous Red-rumped Swallows were feeding
above us and a healthy population of House Sparrows was obviously resident around the
resort. Other “regulars”, not surprisingly, were Blackbirds, Collared Dove, Spotless
Starling and Feral Pigeon. An early highlight was a Spotted Flycatcher feeding from a
Yucca right in front of the apartment; Pied Flycatchers were also seen at the beginning
of our week at Dona Lola although neither species were seen during the last couple of
days. Maybe they were off to their wintering grounds in Africa, or perhaps I just missed

Pied Flycatcher Papamoscas cerrojillo Ficedula hypoleuca (PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)

Sardinian Warblers and Blackcaps were seen every day with Cetti’s Warbler
seen on a couple of occasions but heard many times; a Wren was seen only once!
A Common Kestrel appeared to be resident a little way along the coast and was
seen most mornings.
Little Egret Garceta Comun Egretta garzetta PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)

The small pool formed at the end of the stream proved to be attractive to a number of
species, Grey and White Wagtails regularly stopping-by for a drink.  No Yellow
Wagtails were seen here but the large numbers seen at Mijas Golf during a brief visit
made up for that and Cattle Egret were also numerous there!  A single Little Egret,
assumed to be the same bird, visited the pool most afternoons and generally seemed
undisturbed by the beach lovers; Grey Herons passed by on several occasions but were
never tempted to stop. 
Turnstone Vuelvepiedras comun Arenaria interpres (PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)

Turnstones were virtually resident on the beach with up to a dozen birds being
seen and were often accompanied by lesser numbers of Sanderling.   One
magical moment was standing on the beach virtually surrounded by the two
species who seemed totally oblivious to my presence as they busily searched for
pickings in the sand.  Out to sea species were very much as expected.  Yellow-
legged, Black-headed and Lesser Black -backed Gulls were numerous and
Sandwich Terns were seen feeding most evenings.  Cormorants were seen
occasionally as were Balearic Shearwaters however a high point was when an
Audouin’s Gull visited the pool; I only noted a single Northern Gannet during
the week, a juvenile bird.
Audouin's Gull Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii (PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)


Elsewhere a few additional species were recorded during the holiday including
Booted and Short-toed Eagles near Estepona where a Wood Pigeon was a
surprise sighting.  Large numbers of Griffon Vultures created a great spectacle
during a brief visit to the Sierra Crestellina where a male Black Redstart and
male Stonechat were also seen.

(Blue-headed) Yellow Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Motacilla flava iberiae

Over fifty species were recorded during the holiday, not bad for a "non-
birdwatching" holiday; the only disappointment was not seeing a single Hoopoe
during the week.

Sanderling Correlimos tricactilo Calidrus alba (PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)

It sounds as if you had a great birding break despite yourself, Steve!  And no
complaints, as yet, from the lady wife.

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

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