Sunday, 15 January 2017

A rather quiet morning at Charca de Suarez

Saturday 14 January

Off nice and early so that I could be at the Charca de Suarez reserve on the western outskirts of Motril by opening time at nine o'clock.  A calm, cool and cloudy morning with just the occasional break to reveal some blue sky albeit back in Mezquitilla this afternoon it was beautiful warm and sunny with clear blue skies.

Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita

On arrival straight to the Laguna del Taraje where I was rewarded with a couple of Purple Swamphens, Mallard, Coot and Little Grebe plus the odd Moorhen or two.  But all about me the ever-bust feeding Chiffchaffs.

Purple Swamphen Calamon Porphyrio porphyrio
On to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas where, once again, there was a good supply of Coot, Mallard, Shoveler and Pochard plus White Wagtails, Cormorants, the long-staying White Stork and a "collared" Red-knobbed Coot at the back of the water.  The arrival of a small flock of Black-headed and two Yellow-legged Gulls added to the variety.  The first raptor of the morning, a Common Kestrel, was seen resting on the top of the adjacent radio mast.  No egrets and just the single Grey Heron a the back of the water.

Red-knobbed Coot Focha Moruna Fulica cristata
Having checked out the main residents it was back to the Laguna del Alamo Blanco so that, at  least that was the intention, I could spend most of the morning watching the arrival and departure of the local waders and await a showing by the resident Water Rail.  What a hope!  The only wader seen all morning was a single Black-winged Stilt and no egrets to be seen.  Lots of Chiffchaffs and about three pairs of Teal and I did eventually locate a feeding Cetti's Warbler.  A female Marsh Harrier made a brief and distant appearance.  In addition to a handful of Moorhen two Purple Swamphens were observed.

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
So, change of plan as I looked for a rewarding, and warmer, hide for the rest of the morning and arrived at the Laguna del Trebol.  A Red-knobbed Coot was feeding immediately below the hide and a further half-dozen were also found.  In addition to the Chiffchaffs and Common Coots, the trio of Wigeon were still on site and a Robin flew across to visit the bush immediately in front of us.  Over the water we began to see the arrival of many Crag Martins to feed over the various lagoons.

Wigeon Silbon Europeo Anas penelope with Red-knobbed Coot behind
Walking back towards the entrance I was entertained by first a female then a male Black Redstart and even a male Blackbird.  Just to be on the safe side, I made a quick return visit to the hides at both the Lagunas del Taraje and del Alamo Blanco before deciding to call it a day and leave just after noon.
Black Redstart ColirrojoTizon Phoenicurus ochruros

Both a Robin and Kestrel were seen driving down "Turtle Dove Alley" plus a Crested Lark at the far end and a quick visit to the picnic area at Velez de Benaudalla produced a good mixed flock of Greenfinches and Chaffinches.  It also revealed the over-growth of vegetation on the far wall which, if the Dippers breed here again this year, will make them difficult to observe.

Birds seen:
Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, White Stork, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Chafinch, Greenfinch.

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

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