Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Grasshopper Warbler at Zapata

Tuesday 27 September

A trip to that delightful spot on the Guadalhorce just above the airport near the hamlet of Zapata this morning with Steve and Elena Powell certainly turned up a most wonderful surprise.  We had arranged to meet up with Mick Richardson at 10.30 when the other two chaps were after a photograph of some rare dragonfly that had been reported frequenting the ford.  Me? I went along for the ride to try and get my right eye focusing again and in the hope of seeing more birds than I saw yesterday.

In the event we all arrived earlier than expected with Mick less than five minutes ahead of us.  He was just parking up to get best advantage of the dragonfly should it appear so I must have missed the sight of the day (forget that, call it year or even since coming to Spain) by no more then two or three minutes.  There, right in front of Mick, a Grasshopper Warbler wandering around the edge of the ford barely five metres away and if the car that crossed the ford towards us had been a couple of minutes later then we, too, might have seen this mega bird for Andalucia.

A rather lovely Pied flycatcher Papamoscas Cerrojillo Ficedula hypoleuca
So, what did we see apart from the Sardinian Warbler and Blackbird as we approached the ford?  A rather lovely distant Pied Flycatcher that came to the ford to feed when the chaps had gone off searching for dragonflies.  Upstream both Common and Green Sandpipers and Little Ringed Plover along with a pair of Greenshank and a couple of Little Egrets plus the occasional Heron and Moorhen.  Above, lots of feeding barn and Red-rumped Swallows along with a few Sand Martins.  To give a little colour, a pair of Kingfishers happily dashed up and down posed for us on the reed edges whilst a Grey Wagtail also put in a brief appearance until chased off by the next crossing car.

Distant Kingfisher Martin Pescador Alcedo atthis 
Smaller birds included a few Common Waxbill and a number of Goldfinches and Linnets and, near "Short-toed Lark Corner" a flock approaching an hundred Serins on the fence, track and opposite trees.  Certainly, there was always the odd Crested Lark about and in terms of raptors we saw Kestrel, Osprey and even a Sparrowhawk before the last sighting of the morning, a Cattle Egret sitting atop a lone horse.

One of the newly-arrived Greenshank Archebe Claro Tringa nebularia
Birds seen:
Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Osprey, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Little Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Grasshopper Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, House Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.
Another departing individual, this time the Pied Flycatcher

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

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