Thursday, 27 October 2016

Charca de Suarez with the One-eyed Birder!

Cormorant Phalancrocorax carbo
Wednesday 26 October

A beautiful calm, clear, warm and sunny day so I took myself off to the Charca de Suarez reserve in Motril mid-afternoon; time to collect post from Velez de Benaudalla and see what might be about in Turtle Dove Alley.  What an evening; a visit that produces the 255th  species of the year along with many other surprises.  Great, which just goes to show that I am not going to be beaten by the missing eye - even if it is very difficult to pick out our smaller birds.

A few Cattle Egrets on the recently ploughed fields as I approached the turn into Turtle Dove Alley and then immediately greeted by the first of a few Crested Larks.  Knowing that Red Avadavats like these long grasses at the side of the road I crawled along slowly and then stopped to check out individuals on the roadside and, sure enough, a true pair of Red Avadavats feeding on the grass seeds.  A little further on and a couple of Greenfinches feeding alongside House Sparrows.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
On round to the Charca entrance where a Blackbird was watching over the entrance gate from on high and straight to the Laguna del Alamo Blanco where a number of Mallards were in residence along with a quintet of Snipe and a single White Wagtail.  Moorhens, young and mature, regularly popped out of the reeds and just as I was about to leave the female Pintail that had been seen at the site for the past week flew in along with a couple of Little Egrets.

Female Pintail Anas acuta
Next it was n to the main hide overlooking the Lagunade las Aneas where there were very many ducks, mainly mallard but also Shoveler, Pochard and a few Teal.  Whilst scoping the Pochards to my right I found the (female?) Marbled Duck that Manu had informed me was presently on site along with an unexpected Fuerruginous Duck, my first of the year.  Similarly, I was surprised, as was Manu, to find a single Black-necked Grebe along with a good number of Little Grebes.  Lots of Cormaorants but no gulls on the water.  At the far end a single White Stork was present as was a single juvenile Flamingo, both apparently quite happy and contented to be on their own.   A Kingfisher flashed past the hide and repeated the exercise ten minutes later.

The distant solo White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Scoping the edges revealed a number of Grey Herons along with the Moorhens and Coots plus a collar-ringed Red-knobbed Coot and a juvenile Night Heron.  Then the Pintail returned to this water giving very close views.

Distant juvenile Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax in the falling light

On the island immediately in front of the hide almost "no room at the inn" with resting Mallards, Pochards, Shovelers, Cormorants and Cattle Egrets.  Closer inspection also revealed a Grey Heron and a juvenile Spoonbill.

Juvenile Spoonbill Platalea leucordia
leaving my belongings in Manu's care I made a quick visit to the Laguna del Trebol where i quickly found and photographed the non-collared Red-knobbed Coot, so lovely to see the bird in its natural state.

Un-fettered Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristala
Returning to the first laguna via a very quick stop at the Laguna del Taraje where I had a Purple Swamphen immediately in front of the hide, I was in time to see both a Black-tailed Godwit and Common Sandpiper drop in for the evening.

Time to had off home and both Stonechat and Spotless Starlings on the wires as I departed.  All in all, a very good couple of hours.  REMEMBER.  Opening hours change next week on 1 November and evening openings until the end of January will be fro 4 to 6pm.

Female Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Marbled Duck, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Crested Lark, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Red Avadavat, Greenfinch.

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

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