Friday, 8 August 2014

Charca de Suarez

Thursday 7 August

Off to Velez de Benauldalla this evening and who could go so close to Salobrena without making a t least a short stop at the Charca de Suarez reserve?  The new motorway extension got us to the area in time to allow a maximum of one hour for birding so straight down "Turtle Dove Alley" and the a walk down to the new "open" lagoon followed by a very brief stop at the main hide.  Amazing how quickly an hour disappears so the onward journey to Velez had to be direct rather than back along the alley as above.

Turtle Dove Alley certainly lived up to its name with ten of the species seen on the concrete road along with the resident House Sparrows, a small flock of Greenfinches, the odd Goldfinch and a few Serins.  Even a Zitting Cisticola caught jenny's eye then mine as we made our way on down the road.  Entering the reserve, parking now a problem as it would appear that the bathers/beach-goers take up all the available spaces for free parking for the day, and a walk down to the new pool seeing the fist of a few Spotted Flycatchers.  Upon arrival the water looked very quiet until a closer look with bins followed by scope revealed a good selection of waders.  A couple of Little Egrets at the back right but many Common Sandpipers rushing around, bobbing away and then a couple of Green Sandpipers.  The big wader turned out to be a young Green sandpiper.  next on the list was a single Dunlin with a very black stomach and taking a closer look revealed a lone Little Stint next t it as the breeding Little Ringed Plovers wandered around.

Night Heron Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax
Also on the pond were the resident Black-winged Stilts but no ducks, grebes or wagtails.  Overhead a regular, but small in number, passage of both Barn Swallows and House Martins feeding between here, the neighbouring reed tops and the other nearby pools.

Everything was a bit of a rush but finding Manu in residence at the main hide he showed me his headshot of a male Little Bittern taken earlier in the day when it had been caught by the local ringer ("Bander" if you are reading this across the "Pond").  On the water a much smaller number of Coots than we usually encounter and only a single Moorhen and a one pair of Little Grebes.  The island in front of the hide held a small number of resting Mallards along with single Little and Cattle Egrets.  Just the one Pochard to be found on the water.  Over the water it was more House Martin than Barn Swallows feeding.  A small number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Black-headed Gulls present but the final view before setting off back to the car was a pair of adult Night Herons sitting in the reeds at the back of the water to the left of the scientific hide. 

A very rushed visit but it did produce 27 + 2 species and, meeting completed and driven back to our mountain, I was welcomed home by a friendly Little Owl sitting on the nearby pylon in addition to the local Thekla Larks.  I seem to seen this owl every evening this week so, just perhaps, he has taken up residence to keep me company as I have limited opportunities to go out birding!  And I also had a Hoopoe sitting under the tree at the bottom of the drive this morning (Friday) so somebody still loves me!!!!

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Zitting Cisticola, Spotted Flycatcher, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

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