Saturday 28 December 2013

All quiet at the Guadalhorce

Friday 27 December

Lovely clear and sunny start to the day so I was down at the Guadalhorce in Malaga by 9.30 in the hope of seeing a wonderful range of birds, especially waders and raptors.  What a joke!  By the time I left I began to think that there would have been more birds at home with our resident Black Redstart and White Wagtail on the terrace, Jenny hanging out the washing and the remains of the turkey in the fridge!  Forget the "Western Front" this is where the quiet was to be found - apart from the regular joggers and cyclists out girding heir loins or whatever.

I eventually found a wader when I reached the Wader Pool with a single , sleeping Black-winged Stilt.  Ant that would have been it had I not finally ended up at the Laguna Grande where I doubled the count with a one-minute view of a solitary Redshank.  There were also four more roosting stilts but not a gull in sight on or over the water.

And yet the start of the day had not been so bad as I drove down the mountain accompanied by the early-rising flocks of Goldfinches, Thekla Larks and even a rather lovely female Kestrel.  Loads of Thekla Larks and White Wagtails to be seen and then, on arriving at the Guadalmar church, a pair of male Blackbirds to give some sort of encouragement for the walk to come.  No sooner up on the embankment leading to the footbridge than I had a small flock of Spotless Starlings, the first of a three Sardinian Warblers seen during the morning and a handful of Serin

Walking over the bridge, nothing to be seen on the river either up or down stream, I passed a single Robin and saw the first of many individual Cormorants overhead as they made way to and from the Laguna Grande.  A septet of the wild bunch, otherwise known as those screaming, marauding Monk Parakeets, passd overhead and I was at the Laguna Casillas which duly produced a single Coot.  Patience.  Eventually, a handful of Pochards, single Little Grebe and a couple of Mallard were found along with another half-dozen CootsChiffchaffs, the dominant bird of the day, were feeding all around me and I even had a male Stonechat come to visit.

The single Teal was obviously on a scouting visit form the neighbouring Wader Pool as it was here that I found the other seventeen of his tribe along with the above-mentioned Black-winged Stilt.  As I walked down towards the beach and the Sea Watch, I had a good view of my only raptor of the morning, a female Kestrel.  Another Sardinian warbler and a Robin along with a dozen or so Black-heded Gulls overhead and then e the first Herons, a couple resting above the bank of the old river.  My was there some water here along with all the lagunas; no wonder there were no waders to be seen.  Next a rather lovely Black Redstart and a couple of White Wagtails before reaching the end of the track.  The sea was flat calm with a single fisherman on the eastern side so no waders here.  Out on the sea a couple of small rafts of Yellow-legged Gulls but nothing else.

Returning in the same direction I had a rather lovely little Zitting Cisticola give me the "once over" from a few metres in front and then picked up a couple of Crested Larks on the flat area to the right.  I was also just in time to see the only Little Egret of the day drift downstream in an easy flight.  All was quiet again until I reached the Laguna Escondida where I found more Coots and a handful of Little Grebes.  A single Black-necked Grebe had joined the party at the back of the water which was where I found the ducks; not many but a dozen Shoveler, handful of Mallard, a single Teal and at least a dozen White-headed Ducks.  A few House Sparrows were messing about at the side so I made my way round to the main hide at the Laguna Grande and all the birds that I expected to find.

What birds, where were they?  A total of about forty Cormoranats and up to fifteen Grey Herons but very little else.  Amongst the dozen Coots spread out across the water I did manage to find a single Moorhen and there was another Black-necked Grebe along with a single Little Grebe.  Just a few Mallards and Shovelers but then a pair of Gadwall drifted into sight at the back of the water.  I have already referred to the single Redshank and the quartet of Black-winged Stilts so the only other bird to record was the juvenile Flamingo, of which there were two on the small island at the back, far right of the pool.

And that was just about it; even the resident Rock Doves were missing from below the road bridge but I did have a dozen fly over whilst walking between the lagunas Escondida and Grande.  A final total of 33 species and got home early, fortunately, to discover that Jenny had slipped on the terrace and was ling there in the sun, fortunately only for about ten minutes, awaiting my return and help.  A lot of pain so the afternoon was spent at the local hospital to have her coccyx checked out and x-rayed, etc before finally get ting the all clear to return home.  No breaks but take the pain-killers three times a day.  Now you know why I am late getting by quiet day's birding published!  Jenny is feeling much better this morning but it looks as if I am still going to be on cooking, as well as all other, duties for the next day or so! Roll on 2014 so that we an finally get rid of this unlucky13 year!

Happy New Year to you all in case this should be my last blog of the year.

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin.

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

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