It would appear that I managed to get away from sunny Spain before the rains came, especially judging from John and Jenny Wainwright's experience today (your 9 February) as reported by John below. Here, we have just completed a hot and sunny day (now 5.30 pm compared with your 4.30 in the morning) and our visit to the relatively local Aroha Island reserve, north of Kerikeri in the Island of Bays, produced new Zealand Dotterel, both Oystercatchers, Australasian Harrier, Royal Spoonbill, Sacred Kingfisher, New Zealand Fantail, Califonia Quail and loads and loads of Common Myna. I really must download some of the photos and if somewhat decent post on the Axarquia Birds and Wildlife Facebook page.
Now for John's report and all photos are his, taken on the day.
Charca de Suarez 9th February
Dreary day, rained on/off all day.
A dreary day as we started away from Salar, but en route we saw Buzzard, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves , Spotless Starlings, Common Kestrel and House Sparrows.
On arrival at the reserve the weather had dried up a bit although there were huge puddles as we entered the main gates. Overhead the Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls were mewing and in the hedgerows at least two Cetti's Warblers were singing. In the firs by the main gates a Black Redstart and several Serins were seen as were two Mallard on the scrape.
|Chiffchaff (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
As we headed for the open hide a female Blackcap flew across our front and up into the lightly foliaged trees, then a Chiffchaff was heard singing. At the hide the reed bed was alive with Chiffchaffs and on the lagoon there were Common Coots, Mallard, Moorhens and Little Grebes. A female Marsh Harrier was spotted as it flew over the back of the lagoon an a Reed Warbler was singing in the rear of the reed bed. The rain started so we moved onto the hide at Laguna del las Aneas where we saw Black-winged Stilts, Cormorants, Grey Herons, Shovelers, Mallard, Common Pochard, Crested Coots (collared of course) and Yellow-legged Gulls. In the bushes and reeds we saw Great Tits and Chaffinches and above the lagoon Crag Martins and several House Martins. We waited here until the rain stopped - be it only for ten minutes or so - which gave us time to get to the hide at Laguna del Trebol. More Chiffchaffs were seen here as were Stonechats, Cetti´s Warblers, Goldfinches and White Wagtails.
|Little Grebe (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
In the reeds across the lagoon we located two Purple Swamphens and on the water four Crested Coots, Teal, Mallard, Moorhens and Common Coots. Above the lagoon plenty of Crag Martins and more House Martins were spotted. In the trees Jenny found a small group of five Barn Swallows who seemed deign to fly about in this rather wet weather. A movement in the bottom of the reeds to our front gave us some very quick views of the Moustached Warbler, but a Chiffchaff wasn´t going to have it in his feeding area and made several attacks at it, but it did return thirty minutes later, only for twenty seconds though.
|Just about sight of the local Moustached Warbler (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
The rain stopped again for a few minutes so we headed for the hide at Laguna del Lirio, where we picked up Gadwall and Blackbird and a Buzzard, also a male Blackcap, two more Purple Swamphens, Chiffchaffs and Goldfinches. Another break in the rain so we decided to have another quick look at the open hide where we found another Moustached Warbler.
|Grey Heron (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
The rain is getting harder now so we made our way back to Salar, seeing Cattle Egrets, Lapwings and two more Buzzards on the way.
Quite an eventful day, John and Jenny!