My only ever sighting of a Moustached Warbler in Spain was about four years ago at the El Honda reserve near Elche, just inland from Alicante. So having had a bird discovered at the relatively local site of Charca de Suarez on the western outskirts of Motril by Steve Powell a couple of weeks ago and then re-sighted the following week-end, I decided that today would be my only chance to see for myself, if the bird was still present, before disappearing down to New Zealand at the end of the month. Pleasant start to the day here with a little hazy sunshine and uneven cloud cover so away before nine but had to call in at the tyre-shop to have all tyres checked as none of the local garages seemed to have a reliable airline and, I suspected, I had at least one slow puncture on the car. All completed and on our way so that Jenny and I arrived at the sight be about 10.30.
|And White Wagtails Lavandera Blanca Motacilla alba on every road and waterway.
|Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita; what a delightful little warbler to watch
The walk round to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas produced a resting Kestrel followed by very many more Chiffchaffs and, on arriving to have sole use of the hide, the first thing we saw was yet more Chiffchaffs. On the water many Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls along with a good number of Coots, Moorhens, Mallards and Shovelers. A handful of Pochards were at the back of the water along with half-a-dozen Grey Herons and a handful of Cormorants. In addition to the Little Grebes, a single Black-necked Grebe was feeding to the rear and then yet another Purple Swamphen to the right. The occasional and regular White Wagtail put in an appearance but no other small birds save for a single Black Redstart. In addition to the Mallards, a small number of Cattle Egrets were resting on the small island in front of the hide.
|An immature gull more afraid of the water than the observers in the hide
|Common Coot Focha Comun Fulica atra above and Red-knobbed Coot Focha Moruna Fulica cristata below
To stay or not to stay, that was the question. A slight movement behind me and I had been joined in the hide by a local birder from Almuneca, Hamish Nicol. He obviously brought good luck with him and was able to return a favour. No sooner had I told him about the bird I was trying to find and also the presence of the Red-knobbed Coots, which he was then able to observe, than I retuned to looking closely once again at the opposite reed bed. And there it was, the most fleeting of sights as he Moustached Warbler emerged from the reed almost at water level for all of two seconds. However, the bird had not been seen by Hamish so explaining where in the reeds it had appeared we both looked again and, sure enough, another brief visit which meant that we both got good, but very brief, sighting. Unfortunately the bird had disappeared before I could get the camera on it but a Moustached Warbler had now been added to the 2014 sightings in Spain.
|One of many Little Grebes Zampullin Comun Tachybaptus ruficollis
|A most handsome male Shoveler Cuchara Comun Anas clypeata
Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's warbler, Moustached Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Startling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.
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