Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Charca de Suarez turns up a few surprises!

Tuesday 30 August

With the annual community meeting scheduled for 7pm in Velez de Bendaulla it left a bare hour to take a quick look at both , what I call, Turtle Dove Alley and the adjacent reserve at Charca de Suarez on the western outskirts of Motril.  And what an evening it turned pout to be - and not all that we had planned!Over thirty species recorded in the hour and then, following a stop at friend Steve Powell's in Frigiliana for a cup of tea on the way home, jenny had a fall which resulted in a severe head wound and possible fractures so resulting in the emergency summons of an ambulance to deliver her to the local hospital at Velez Malaga.  kept in overnight for observation and possibly a second night before she can return home, that's the end of this birding adventure resulting in me cancelling my visit to the Loja area today and the is week-end's stay down at Tarifa which would also have taken in nearby Barbate ad La Janda.  But at least the resulting injuries are not as severe as first thought so I shall have Jenny home very soon.

Turning into "Turtle Dove Alley" we immediately had a couple of Crested Larks on the road and House Sparrows exploring the first house and then, with an hundred metres or so, both Serins and a couple of male Red Avadavats in full breeding plumage with their deep red waistcoats with white spots, a first ever sighting for Jenny.  A little further on our first Turtle Dove on the road picking up grit with another pair in a roadside bush and a quartet flying overhead crossing the path of a small charm of Goldfinch.  Wonderful.  A stop at the ruined building on the corner where the Little owls had bred earlier in the year produced feeding Barn Swallows, more Crested larks and a Spotted Flycatcher.  Whilst a flock of Spotless Starlings settle on the overhead wires a Common Kestrel took off nearby for a gentle wander round the area.

On to the Charca itself and the first birds seen, very high overhead, a pair of Honey Buzzards.  This is usually the peak week for Honey Buzzard migration, hence the planned visit to Tarifa this week-end.  Reaching the hide overlooking the Laguna del Alamo Blanco we came across Steve Powell trying out his new bazooka of a Canon lens, a 500 f4 prime purchased at last week's Birdfair at Rutland Water.  I can see that future meets are going to end up with Steve, Olly and Rick Owen comparing lenses and trying to determine who has the largest so, no doubt, lots of innuendo-like comments such as mine's bigger than yours , etc!!  The pool itself had lost a lot of its water but, in doing so, created some lovely muddy area just right for waders and so it turned out.  First a Green Sandpiper then a Greenshank joined by a Wood Sandpiper with a couple of Ringed Plovers in attendance.  A small flock of White Wagtails was working the edges and then a water rail exploded from the reeds to our right to dash across the almost dry laguna.

Moving on to the hide overlooking main water of the Laguna de las Aneas the water was almost full with mainly Grey Herons of varying ages and eclipse Mallards with fully grown juveniles.  A few Common Pochard were also identified and had we had more time I might also have added the pair of Garganey that were reported to be presently favouring this laguna with their presence.  Lots of Common Coots and Moorhens along with a small number of Yellow-legged Gulls.  In addition to also finding Little Grebes and a dozen or so of Little Egrets, a single Squacco Heron flew into sight to perch on the distant bare tree immediately in front of the scientific hide on the far side.  Th e juvenile Black-winged Stilt that landed on the edge of the small island immediately in front of the hide was an added bonus.

Just time for a quick look at the Laguna del Trebol where we, in addition to more Common Coots and Moorhens, found a couple of Red-knobbed Coots including one without an identification collar. Given that also recorded Monk Parakeet, Collared Dove and  Cetti's Warbler we thought that we had had a magnificent hour and quite an eventful afternoon - but that was before the unwelcome surprise that was to befall us on the way home.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Heron, Honey Buzzard, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper,  Yellow-legged Gull, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Red Avadavat, Serin, Goldfinch.

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

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