Friday, 18 November 2016

John and Jenny at the Charca de Suarez

17 November 2016

Whilst I was making my way to the Charca de Suarez to join the Axarquia Bird Group meet, John and Jenny Wainwright were travelling down from Salar to take in a couple of extra sites on the way before we all met up outside the reserve in readiness for the 4 o'clock opening.  Some great birds recorded as can be seen by John's report on the afternoon.

A very warm day with very little wind.

As Bob had arranged an afternoon visit to Charca de Suarez we decided to make a day of it and visit Padul on the way down, but alas the best plans etc!!  As the whole valley was in dense fog we continued onto the Suarez area.

Our first port-of-call was the now renowned "dipper" picnic site where we found Grey and White Wagtails, Chaffinches and Cetti´s Warblers.  Walking downstream to the bridge we saw Blackcaps, more White Wagtails, Spotless Starlings, Blackbirds, Great Tits, Collared Doves, a single Robin (although several more were seen on exiting the area) and House Sparrows.

Upstream we found the Mallard on his usual resting place - on the bough of the tree, another Grey Wagtail was disturbed from the "waterfall" and several Chiffchaffs were seen foraging in the little reed island.  As we approached the roundabout of the A7, Jenny spotted two raptors, one being Common Buzzard the other a Bonelli´s Eagle.
Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
We left now for "Turtle Dove Alley", and all was quiet until we reached the ruin, whereupon we found Greenfinch, Goldfinches, Chiffchaffs and Stonechats.  A mewing overhead gave us a trio of Common Buzzards and a Common Kestrel was seen hunting over the meadow.

Growing Bananas (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
It was nice to see the banana trees in fruit again with their hands of bananas ripening, but I digress.
Moving along to the "T" junction and turning right we came across an irrigation ditch which had a few puddles in at the top end and a culvert from the opposite side of the road gave us some running water.  Here we found a male Bluethroat, Meadow Pipits, Black Redstarts and good numbers of Serins.  A small flock of Black-rumped Waxbills came out of the bushes and landed in the reed bed about 100 yards away, these were joined by the Serins from the stream and a few House Sparrows as well.  A male and female Avadavat was located later (this was our total of this species for the day).  A few Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) about here today plus one Large White (Pieris brassicae).

Along the track a flock of eleven Cattle Egrets landed and hunted the verges for food, and a Little Egret flew over them, as did a Hoopoe and another Common Kestrel.  As we headed for a cafĂ©, two Crested Larks flew out of the grasses on the side of the track.
Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
After coffee we headed for the beach but only Spotless Starlings, House Sparrows, two Rock Doves and a raft of Yellow-legged Gulls were seen here.

At 16.00 we were let into the reserve - after spotting a Kingfisher which came across from the beach area and flew into the reserve towards the new lagoon.  And after enquiring about the Jack Snipe was told he was found on the new lagoon but very hard to locate (that was certainly true), as I don´t think anyone of the group saw it!!  But during our time at this hide we did spot two Buzzards and a Booted Eagle plus a Common Kestrel.  Lots of Teal here with a smattering of Shovelers and a few Mallard, Also in the area we saw Kingfisher(s)-probably the same female, Moorhens, Common Coot, Green Sandpiper, Little Egret and Cetti´s Warblers.  To the left of the hide another Little Egret and two Common Snipe were located, along with more Teal and Shovelers. White Wagtails were about and a Grey Wagtail was spotted as we left the hide.  A greyish, quite large raptor was spotted landing in the trees by the "Bluethroat hide", although nothing definite was proved it was thought to be a Goshawk!!!
Common Buzzards Buteo buteo (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
At the large hide we met up with most of the group, here on the island, we saw Spoonbill, Little Egrets, a juvenile Greater Flamingo, Mallard Teal, White Wagtails and a few Pochard.  While in the water we found two Wigeon, more Pochard and Mallard, a single Shelduck, Little Grebe, Common Coots and Moorhens. A Kingfisher came directly across the laguna and landed in the reeds to the right of the hide - out of sight, naturally.

Across the back of the laguna, we found the Red-knobbed Coot and a single White Stork. A Pintail was noted moving out of sight to the right hand side of the hide as two Grey Herons flew over. Not a lot more was noted apart from a couple of Blackcaps, Great Tits and as we left on of the hides a small flock of Crag Martins came over.

Its amazing how quickly two hours go, as we said our goodbyes, and made our way home in the twilight.

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