Thursday, 3 April 2014

John & Jenny at Huetor Tajar

Thursday 3 April

John and Jenny Wainwright managed to get ninety minutes birding in this morning whilst in Huetor Tajar before the rains returned but, at least, managed to find a range of hirundines and Woodchat Shrike and at least one Kingfisher.  Some of us were not so lucky.  I was busy, all the way down near Benahavis to the west of Marbella, attending an Andalucia Bird Society (good value if you have not already joined and includes four beautifully printed magazines delivered to your door) committee meeting.  It looked beautifully sunny outside until I came to set off off home after lunch and discovered that the rains were still with us.

One of a score and more Monk Parakeets Cotorra Argentina Mylopsitta monachus at the Malaga Parador
Having driven down yesterday afternoon so that I could stay overnight with Bob and Ellie Davison, I called in at the Malaga Parador to see if "Pepe," the sole surviving Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus  had survived the winter.  No sign of Pepe but, after the single Hoopoe, I found over thirty Monk Parakeets feeding on the short grass next to the car park.  Difficult to make out whether they were feeding on seeds very close to the ground or just trying to rip out roots or whatever to build nests.

Common Magpie Urraca Pica pica in the car park at the Malaga Parador
And what is it about the sole (common) Magpie Pica pica that hangs around the car park?  Has it been given a name by the locals?  I have never see a Magpie here at Casa Collado and even when I drive up to the Zafarraya pass and beyond they are not a common bird.  So why a single bird here?  Must be relying on titbits thrown out by the golfers.  Certainly, the last time I was there the Magpie actually came and perched on the wing mirror next to the driver's door as if food was taken for granted.

First-year male Blackbird Mirlo Comun Turdus merula ignoring both of the above!

Now to John's report from this morning.

Huetor Tajar: 3rd April

A very Spring day with sunshine and showers

After we had been to Huetor Tajar to get my brakes checked we decided to have a look around the small stream that lies at the north of the village.  Here we found Red-rumped and Barn Swallows in good numbers, also House and Sand Martins only a few of each of the latter birds.  Greenfinches sang from the tree tops and Linnets and Crested Larks from the harrowed fields. 

Red-rumped Swallow Golondrina Daurica Cecropis daurica (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Further along we saw two Woodchat Shrikes, Spotless Starlings and a Blackbird at the small allotment and along the waters edge two Green Sandpipers, Yellow Wagtails, Goldfinches and a Great Tit were noted.

Woodchat Shrike Alcaudron Comun Lanius senator (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
A flash of turquoise going downstream and then across the fields gave us a very rapid view of a Kingfisher.

Instead of crossing the ford we drove along the muddy track in the direction of Fabrika putting up another - possibly the earlier one - Kingfisher, which we had not seen perched on a thistle no more than twenty foot to our front (what a photo miss!), this flew out over the stream and hovered several times before disappearing upstream.

(Iberian) Yellow Wagtail Lavandera Boyera Iberica Motacilla flava iberiae (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Here, in that area, we also saw Moorhens, House Sparrows, a pair of Mallard, more Sand Martins, Serins, a White Wagtail and Little Egret, a notable addition was three Common Swifts coming through.  A Common Kestrel and two more Woodchat Shrikes and a Buzzard were also seen on the way home. 


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