Wednesday 15 February 2017

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Wednesday 15 February

Chris back to the airport before noon so chance to send over a couple of hours down at the Guadalhorce "ponds" before returning to Mezquitilla.  Lots of water, too much it would appear to attract any number of waders but I did eventually record 41 species albeit nothing new for the year.

Greeted by a couple of Collared Doves (were these the same two that watched over me when I finally reached the Laguna Grande?) it soon became obvious that the reserve was inundated with Spotless Starlings which, it appeared to me, were feeding and moving in at least four distinct and separate flocks. A single Heron on the river but not another sighting until I found a quartet on the Lagauna Grande.    Reaching the Laguna Casillas I was surprised to see a virtually empty water with just a good handful of Common Pochard and three Little Grebes.  The a couple of roosting Black-winged Stilts and the first sighting of many Chiffchaff, the latter no doubt busily fattening up in preparation for their return migration to northern Europe within the next few weeks.  Then the first of three Barn Swallow sightings during the visit.

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus

Walking to the Wader Pool a few Goldfinches passed over the track and on the water at least a dozen Black-winged Stilts.  At the back three pairs of Teal and a single pair of Mallard on the main island.  A solitary Little Egret was feeding at the back and as I watched a juvenile Flamingo worked its way along from the old river.  A little searching soon found a couple of resting Snipe.  The first White Wagtail was working the edge and it was on my return visit that I eventually found a Ringed Plover on this water.

Lots of water in the old river and, again, many more Black-winged Stilts and probably totalling at least a score.  On a very small "island" measuring at most two  by one metres, twenty Sanderling were feeding in the company of a quartet of resting Grey Plover along with a single Common Sandpiper.  On the other side of the track I dully added Serin, Black Redstart, Robin, Greenfinch and Stonechat along with both Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls.  Even a Cattle Egret was foraging on the large rocks.  With the scope focused out over the rough sea I was, perhaps, fortunate to see the passing Gannet.

Grey Plover Chorlito Gris Pluvialis squatarola
Back via the previous pools and on to the Laguna Escondida passing my only Crested Lark where I found Little Grebe, Coot and a few White-headed Ducks.  A Sardinian Warbler perched in front of me and a male Blackbird landed in the top of a nearby tree.  Finally, to the Laguna Grande where there seemed to be even more water and along with the scores of Cormorants hundreds of Spotless Starlings and more then fifty Shoveler.  A Marsh Harrier drifted over which put many of the Shovelers in the air but calm soon returned. At the very back the only Moorhen seen during the morning and then, to the left of the main water, a dozen Black-necked Grebes and a handful of Black-headed Gulls.  The far island produced a single Greenshank and as I watched was joined by a lone Green sandpiper.  Walking back to the car a Hoopoe was disturbed and a male Kestrel was sitting on top of the reserve sign seeking out his next meal.  And so ended my morning's visit.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Snipe, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, White wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

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