Saturday 12 August 2017

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Little Bittern Avetorillo Comun Ixobrychus minutus
Saturday 12 August

Another early morning start and arriving at the Guadalhorce just before seven in the dark the fist first seen ere a pair of Backbirds taking advantage of the sodium lights for some early foraging.  With the first signs of light away to the east as I crossed the footbridge, I put up a Crested Lark resting on the track a the start of the "bamboo avenue" and then, at the other end, a resting Red-necked Nightjar taking advantage of the warm stones and yet to be disturbed by the first visitor of the day.  Lovely bird which let me, from about ten metres, put down the scope and camera case, take up camera and stand and then decided to fly away.  What a tease!

Juvenile Black-wiged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
On round to the Laguna Casillas and in the now large wet area behind the hide held a quartet of Mallards, three Wood Sandpipers and a single Black-winged Stilt.  From the hide itself the water contained about a dozen Coot, a couple of White-headed Ducks and the same number of Common Pochard along with Moorhen, plenty of Little Grebe and  a departing quartet of Red-crested Pochards which had, presumably, spent the night on the water.  Above the first Barn Swallows and House Martins put in an appearance along  with a singe Pallid Swift and an over-flying Little Egret.

On to the "Wader Pool" which looked decidedly uninviting and, as on my last visit, the deep footprints through the sandy mud to the first low island were being used by the ten Little Ringed Plovers as, what I can only describe as bunkers, to gets some from the sun as the temperatures begin to soar.  At least a dozen Black-winged Stilts on the pool and a single juvenile Flamingo.  Whilst both single Redshank and Dunlin were noted, I was more interested in, first, the resting Peregrine Falcon in the tree at the far back and, secondly, well away in the tower block in the distance the sight of a Barn Owl looking out of its either nesting space or roost.  To complete the listings a Collared Dove flew over, then a juvenile Goldfinch from the tiny charm landed in a nearby tree and a female Common Kestrel was recorded.

The short walk down to the Rio Viejo (Old River) produced a large gathering of birds looking like a snowfall on the far water.  Lots of gulls which were mainly Mediterranean plus a few Audouin's and a handful of Yellow-legged Gulls.  A score of Black-winged Stilts were roosting on the far back and feeding around their legs were eight Curlew Sandpipers along with seven Dunlin,  a couple of Little Stints and another Common Redshank.

Curlew Sandpipers Correlimos Zarapitin Calidris ferruginea and Black-winged Stilts Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus

Making my way back towards Laguna Casillas I picked up the first Spotless Starlings and House Sparrows of the day and from the hide was in time to see a pair of adult Flamingos fly over.  Two Gadwalls had now arrived and a flighty male Sardinian Warbler was active along the track.

Passing Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus over Laguna Casillas

The Laguna Escondida might not contain the recently seen Marbled Duck but there were five Ferruginous Ducks on the water along with Mallard, White-headed Duck and a handful of Teal.  At the far end another Red-crested Pochard and more Coots, Moorhens and Little Grebes but the most obvious, and nearest, sighting was the lovely Little Bittern happily fishing from a horizontal reed below me to the left of the hide.  Indeed, the scope produced a male Little Bittern at the very far end of the water.

Hunting Little Bittern Avetorillo Comun Ixobrychus minutus
So on to the Laguna Grande and the main hide where yet more Mediterranean and a couple of Black-headed Gulls were recorded.  A trio of Collared Doves seemed to be very busy away to my left and the single Little Egret was roosting high in a tree, perhaps waiting for the return of his friends the Cormorant.  In front of me a couple of Kentish Plovers and a handful of Ringed Plovers along with a single Wood Sandpiper.  Not just the small number of feeding Barn Swallows and House Martins above but the large number of feeding swifts, mainly Pallid but a few Common Swift.  With the sun now well and truly up and the temperature rapidly rising, I decided at 10.15 to call it a morning and head off home.  A Zitting Cisticola as I made my way back to the car to bring the morning's total up to 43 species and realised, upon arrival, that in three and a half hours I had not heard nor seen a single Monk Parakeet!

Ferruginous Ducks Porron Pardo Aythya nyroca on the laguna Escondida

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Little Egret, Flamingo, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collard Dove, Barn Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldinch.


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