Sunday, 4 October 2015

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Saturday 3 October

Arriving later (9.45) than I had intended, I met Andy Paterson who had already arrive at the mouth of the western canal and was on his way back home.  After a short conversation we were joined by a visiting birder from Sheffield who had actually made the discovery the previous lunch time and emailed Andy.  unfortunately, Andy did not receive the message until just before 6 pm but was on site within twenty minutes and the "object of their desire" was still present.  At least Andy managed to get a good photograph well illustrating this very special bird.  Unfortunately, the bird was not present on Saturday morning.  So what had I missed?  Not only a Solitary Sandpiper which, and no reason why it should not be accepted by the Spanish rarities committee, would be only the third such record in the country.

One of many Little Grebes zampullin Comun Tachybaptus ruficollis
All excitement over I decided to have a walk around the reserve  on what was a calm and cloudy morning albeit the sun was trying to break through by mid-day and becoming quite warm.  The air and trees, when the little rascals came to rest, seemed to be alive with flocks of marauding, screaming scoundrels otherwise known as Monk Parakeets.  Cetti's Warblers were also calling all over the site and I could, even from afar, see that many Cormorants had returned to the site.  All the usual birds were seen, even if i small numbers, as I made my way to the Laguna Casillas.  here it was a case of plenty of White-headed Ducks but very little else save the odd Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe.

Male White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala (Note how the bill colour has lost its blue)
Arriving at the Wader Pool there was not a bird to be seen!  Much searching did produce a pair of teal hiding under the tree on the island and then both a Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff were also recorded.  More excitement walking towards the old river, the Rio Viejo, as a heron flew over towards the sea and a Hoopoe crossed the track.  A couple of Blackcaps were feeding in the nearby trees and then I was looking over the very full old river.  And whata sight with a good number of waders and the odd Black-headed Gull.  Lots of Ringed Plovers and Sanderling but also good numbers of Kentish Plover and a bout a dozen Black-winged Stilts.  Finding a couple of Dunlin and a single Curlew Sandpiper then led to me finding the Ruff that landed whilst on the far bank was a Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper.  In addition, there was a pair of juvenile Flamingos just beginning to show the first signs of pink and, over the land, a Crested Lark and a small number of Greenfinches.

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
Nothing of note towards the sea other than a Kestrel resting on a fence post but far too many fishermen so the beaches empty of birds.  Returning to the Wader Pool some sign of life with the arrival of a Little Egret and a Redshank along with both Coot and Little Grebe.  The Osprey had returned to the feeding post at the back of the main pool and even a Booted Eagle was resting in the adjoining tree.

Osprey Aguila Pescadora Pandion haliaetus

Record shot of a distant Booted Eagle Aguililla calzada Hieraaetus pennatus
The Laguna Escondida added Mallard, Gadwall and Shoveler along with Coots, Moorhens and Little Grebes. A Kingfisher dashed away to the near corner and then I was off to spend the remaining few minutes at the Laguna Grande.  Lots of Grey Herons and Cormorants but the delight was to find a couple of Common Starlings in with their Spotless Starling cousins.  In addition to the Osprey and Booted Eagle, a second Booted Eagle was also present in a neighbouring tree.  Finally, walking back to the bridge, first a Stonechat, then a Goldfinch and finally a Spotted Flycatcher to complete the morning's sightings and a total of 44 species.

Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina with a slightly decurved bill

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.


Now who is this little beasty crossing the track in front of me?  Better known as a Spurge Hawkmoth Hyles euphorbiae


Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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