Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Monday 14 December

Off to Malaga this morning to change the address on my car tax and what a wasted journey that proved to be!  So, with a little time to spare and the sun trying to shine on a very calm day I came home via a couple of hours down at the Guadalhorce where, first of all, I checked out the lower end of the western canal where the water was now running freely into the sea and the sea itself for any sign of gulls etc.  Then it was back to the main entrance where I spent just under an hour taking in the main Laguna Grande before walking back with a short deviation to the Laguna Escondida.

Approaching the river mouth I had a number of Spotless Starlings and the occasional Blackbird and then a small flock of Serin feeding on the bank.  A friendly Monk Parakeet came to feed on seeds almost at my feet whilst the rest of his motley crew screamed and dashed around overhead.  Cetti's Warblers were calling and a Sardinian Warbler dashed for cover into a nearby bush.  Below me a single female Black Redstart was foraging away whilst a solitary Heron rested on the opposite bank.  At this point very few House Sparrows and just a couple of Crag Martins feeding overhead.  Out at sea the  occasional Cormorant and distant Lesser Back-backed Gulls with a few Black-headed Gulls nearer the port.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Crossing the footbridge I noticed that a few of the resident Rock Doves were roosting in their usual place under the motorway bridge and a Moorhen crossed the river.  A couple of good-sized charms of Goldfinches were feeding on the abundant seeds in the nearby meadow.  The it was on to the Laguna Grande passing a small number of Shoveler in the river approach plus a considerable number of feeding Goldfinch.  Strange to see a small roost of Collared Doves at the base of a distant tree and then to the hide itself to observe the laguna.   Certainly no shortage of Cormorants with over seventy in residence along with about a dozen Heron.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

On the water a few Mallard and Shoveler but also a couple of White-headed Ducks along with about a dozen Coots.  At the far side many Little Grebes and a trio of Black-necked Grebes whilst in the tall trees at the back I found both a Marsh Harrier and a Booted Eagle.  However, much closer and to my left a second Booted Eagle posed very  well.  Below me a Chiffchaff was well occupied and a good number of Crag Martins were feeding above the water.  Once the Marsh Harrier had taken to the air over the far side of the laguna she disturbed the, till then, hidden waders so revealing a Redshank and a a quartet of Marsh Sandpipers which took shelter on the small, distant island to the right.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Walking to the Escondida I had a White Wagtail for company on the track and looking back at the man water I could see that there were now two Marsh Harriers in the air, a magnificent female and juvenile.  Arriving at the small laguna most of the birds were at the far end including a large number of Gadwall and a handful of Teal.  More Moorhens and Coots but just the one pair of Mallards.  A male Stonechat posed in a bush to my left and more Goldfinches arrived to feed in the nearby weeds.

Gadwall Anas strepera
Job done and time to get home and as I left the hide and looked up i was in time to see the local Osprey returning to the main laguna.  The last bird recorded was a single Robin as I approached the track back down to the road and my car.

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cettis Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch


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