Wednesday 12 April 2017

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Tuesday 11 April

Jenny on an early flight back to the UK so chance to send a few hours down at the Guadalhorce, Malaga before returning home for lunch and getting down to the domestic duties.  Whilst welcomed by the resident Monk Parakeets, Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings, Rock Doves and Blackbirds along with a few of the summer House Martins, I realised that something was very different.  The track edges had been trimmed on both sides and on reaching the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande I also noticed that the vegetation in front of the hide had been tidied up and cut back, as had the areas in front of all the hides.  However, once reaching the eastern arm of the river I also noticed that the lower land on the landside of the track had also been severely cut back; rather like one of those long-haired male hairstyles of the 1970s having visited the barber for a drastic short back and sides!

Adding Sardinian Warbler and House Sparrow as I made my way to the main hide I was greeted with many Black-winged Stilts and a good number of Cormorants still present plus a couple of Herons.  On the water about a dozen Black-headed Gulls and a pair of both Little and Black-necked Grebes.  Both the odd Cattle and Little Egrets departed and I moved on to the Laguna Escondida. Here I found both Red-crested and Common Pochard along with Mallard and Moorhen.  The Laguna Casillas also produced Common Pochard, Mallard and Little Grebe but, in addition, a few White-headed Duck, Gadwall and CootGoldfinches and Barn Swallows feeding overhead.  As with all areas, there were numerous Black-winged Stilts and many already incubating their eggs.

The Wader Pool had finally started to lose some of its water and produce the necessary sandbanks to attract the waders though, today , there was just the single Redshank and a pair of Common Sandpiper along with a solitary Little Ringed Plover.  Two Spoonbills were in residence and joined by half-a-dozen Little Egret.

Squacco Herons Garcilla Cangrejera Ardeola caloides (taken with mobile phone)

However, it was the Rio Viejo , the Old River, that finally produced the goods.  Lots of Black-winged Stilts but also a pair of Avocet.  Smaller waders included both Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers along with a handful of Curlew Sandpiper.  Whilst a sole White wagtail patrolled the near bank I was made aware of the pair of Squacco Heron resting in the near corner.  No camera with me but on watching a local Spanish birder make use of my scope to take a picture with her phone I thought, why not me, I have a phone with a camera.  But I must admit, I was pleased that the young lady used her expertise to actually take the record shot of the Squacco Herons.  Not a bad morning, well under three hours and 35 species recorded.

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, Goldfinch.

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