Saturday, 23 April 2016


Thursday 21 April

Up early after a restless night and I mean early!  Washed, dressed, eaten and on the road by 5.45 so that I could be at Zapata to meet up with Derek and Barabara Etherton, who also had Micky Smith and Lindsay Pheasant in the car with them, before 6 o'clock.  One more into Derek's car and then off down to the flood plain adjacent to the Guadalhorce below Zapata in search of that nocturnal feeder, the Red-necked Nighjar.

Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata
A few false alarms as we came across the resting Crested Larks but eventually a brief glimpse of five Red-necked Nightjars as they suddenly took off from the bank at the side of the track but a few minutes later we stopped the car and looked at the shining yellow torch on the ground in front of us. Yes, we had found a settled Red-necked Nightjar and where able to get our "bibs" on the bird.  My first or the year.

With dawn rapidly approaching we returned to the ford whilst the Nightingales began their beautiful chorus and immediately found five Little Ringed Plovers and a single Moorhen going about their early-morning feeding along with a Greenshank.  To the right, downstream, the river looked disgusting with the amount of foam that had been gathered as whatever pollution had been emptied into the river further upstream but looking in that direction we had five Night Herons,  Black-winged Stilt and a single Grey Heron resting in the water.  A lone Yellow (Blue-headed) Wagtail worked the edges and a quick drive upstream produced Blackbirds and Common Kestrels.

Early morning Cattle Egrets Garcilla Bueyera Bubulcus ibis passing over
The first of many Cattle Egrets passed over on their way to respective feeding grounds and a couple of Common Sandpipers were at the ford and thinking (and acting) thought of a procreational nature. If it works these little waders then the same must be true of the larger birds as within a couple of minutes we stopped having heard a Common Cuckoo calling and almost immediately found the male in a small tree on the opposite bank across the reeds.  No sooner found than the female flew past him.  No doubt some nearby Reed Warbler, and they were also heard singing, is in for an uninvited visit along with an unwelcome present!

Working our way to "Short-toed lark Corner" we had our first Goldfinches and Serins along with a couple of Sardinin Warblers.  At least five Hoopoes were seen on the neighbouring fence and then our first Short-toed Larks on the track.  As we parked the car a Red-legged Partridge crossed the track and  our first of a few Zitting Cisticola's put in a appearance as the Cetti's Warblers commenced their calling from the reeds below.

Serin Verdecillo Serinus serinus trying to catch the first rays of morning sunshine
A walk to the end of the track and back found both a Whitethroat and a couple of Waxbills plus many Little Egrets but not, this morning, the targeted Little Bittern.  Daylight now and more activity with Barn Swallows, Collared Doves, Jackdaws, House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings recorded.  Approaching the car we had a number of Stonechats, Short-toed Larks and a rather lovely Black-eared Wheatear.  Greenfinches to the left and a passing Cormorant overhead. Naturally, we had to have a fly-past from a handful of Monk Parakeets.  Now approaching 8.30 so time to withdraw and take breakfast at a nearby venta.

An unexpected Black-eared Wheatear Collalba Rubia Oenanthe hispanica
Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Cormorant, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Little Ringed, Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Cuckoo, Red-necked Nightjar, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Short-toed Lark, Barn Swallow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Whitethroat, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Waxbill, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

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