Thursday, 1 October 2015

Axarquia Bird Group visit to Charca de Suarez

Thursday 1 October

After the rains and storms earlier in the week it was lovely to see the return of sun, clear skies and warm sunny weather.  Wonderful to see such a magnificent turn out of 21 members of the Axarquia Bird Group for this month's private visit to the Charca de Suarez reserve on the western outskirts with some travelling from west of Malaga as well as well inland in Granada province.  And we were not to be disappointed with the end result.  Indeed, leaving the reserve with a minimum total of 33 species recorded some of us travelled back via "Turtle Dove Alley" on the other side of the reserve's fence and, stopping to see a very close Red Avadavat take off form the fence, remained to record a further 10 species.  Add on the White Wagtail when we arrived "round the corner" for our Menu del Dia and the Red-rumped Swallow above as we left the venta we finally finished with a total of 52 species for the morning.  Out special thanks to Motril Town Council and it's representatives for permitting our visit.

Approaching the reserve in from Turtle Dove Alley, Bryan Stapley and I had a surprise to see an unexpected Wood Pigeon cross the main road and then a quartet of Red-legged Partridges take off from the alley soon after our entry.  A few Red Avadavats, Goldfinches and Serins about as well as an early Blackbird before arriving at the reserve.

Teal, Anas crecca
Where to start.  With such a large group we seemed to split into about three groups and then made use of the various hides around the reserve before our departure just after 1pm.  The Laguna del Taraje duly produced not only a couple of Purple Swamphens, Little Grebes, a single Gadwall and an occasional fly-past of a Kingfisher or two but also the resident Little Bittern which flew up the water to disappear to our left.

One of many Purple Swamphens Porphyrio porphyrio
Meanwhile, those at the new Laguna del Alamo Blanco continued to turn up trumps with its resident Kingfishers and regular movement of Red Avadavats albeit the later were quick to dive don into the reeds before most could get a good, long look.  It was here that  A Bluethroat fed immediately in front of the hide and a few were lucky enough to have a Water Rail walk out , again, immediately ion front of the observers.  Just to add a little cream to the cake, a first Moustached Warbler then put in a brief appearance so well worth keeping an eye open for this lovely warbler during the coming months.  Even the Flamingos arrived from the main pool.

"My" Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at the main hide
A watchful Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Leaving the new water to walk to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas,a female Pied Wagtail seemed to have taken up feeding residence for the day on the muddy track towards the rear entrance of the reserve.  On the water itself were the usual Coots, Moorhens and  Little  Grebes  along a number of Mallards and a few Common Pochards.  A handful of grey herons around the edges along with Grey Herons whist at the back we found a pair of collar-ringed Red-knobbed Coots and a pair of juvenile Night Herons.  A single Squacco Heron sat on a dead branch in the far water but on closer inspection of the photograph it has proved to be another juvenile Night Heron, making a trio as seen last Sunday.  Again, more Kingfishers and even a Chiffchaff before we were introduced to the Great Reed Warbler that fed on the left-hand side of the island immediately in front of the hide.  As last week, a single Black-winged Stilt hid at the back of this island and a handful of Sand Martins occasionally fed over the water. They were later joined by a short-staying small flock of Black-headed Gulls.

The very busy Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus opposite the hide on the main pool
The Laguna del Trebol added very little other than most were able to see a Red-Knobbed Coot in its natural state and without a large white identification collar.  It was very evident that a passage of Barn Swallows was under way as they were seen in steady numbers over all pools and neighbouring fields.

The stop in Turtle Dove Alley following the site of the Red Avadavat quickly produced a male Black Redstart and a pair of Cattle Egrets flying overhead in the distance.  No shortage of Whinchats on the fields either side of he road along with a Northern Wheatear, female Common Redstart, Crested Lark, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Serins along with the occasional House Martin to add to the overhead Barn Swallows.  Whilst the Kestrel rested on the electricity post a female Marsh Harrier drifted overhead.

With both David Jefferson and Gerry Collins active with their respective cameras, perhaps some of their photographs may best illustrate the wonderful birds seen this morning.  All are acknowledged apart from mine.  Thank you all for attending and I trust that you enjoyed the morning as much as I.

Two of the trio of Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus
Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Booted Harrier, Kestrel, Water rail, Moorjen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Yellow wagtail, White wagtail, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Red Avadavat, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Marsh Harrier  (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Kingfisher   (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Kingfisher   (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Flamingo  (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Little Egret (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Snipe  (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Water Rail (PHOTO: David Jefferson)
Kingfisher (PHOTO: Gerry Collins)
Water Rail (PHOTO: Gerry Collins)

Now that's a hair cut on this Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

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