Friday, 27 October 2017

Axaquia Bird Group at the Guadalhorce

Thursday 26 October

Sixteen of us at the Guadalhorce, Malaga this morning which marks the tenth anniversary since the very first meeting of the Axarquia Bird Group in October 2007.  Perhaps we should have replicated that visit and visited the old railway track at Ventas de Zafarraya so, instead, will mark the occasion by visiting this mountain site next month.

Whist assembling at the entrance track up to the river we had a plentiful supply of Blackcaps in the nearby bushes and, overhead,  it seemed a constant stream of the marauding and screaming Monk Parakeets.  We could see a few resting Cormorants on the trees near the Laguna Grande and then, overhead, first a Barn Swallow followed by a handful of Crag MartinsHouse Sparrow, Spotless Starling and Collared Dove made up the introductory species. At this stage both Zitting Cisticola and Blackbird were also recorded.

Juvenile Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus
Crossing the footbridge the odd resident Rock Dove was seen under the road bridge along with both Heron and Coot on the river.  Having crossed the footbridge, four members walked on the eastern arm,  five headed of to the Escondida  and we remaining seven ended up at the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande, having watched the departing 17 Cattle Egret pass overhead.  At least a score of Cormorant in residence along with a few Herons and resting Shoveler and Mallards.  A pair of Black-necked Grebes were on the water and a lone Little Egret dropped in to take a look at the trio of juvenile Flamingos.  At the back of the water we soon found the resting Osprey, obviously digesting his recent fish breakfast as every now and again he would look down and find another little morsel at its feet.  In front we had a couple of Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper.  before leaving, as well as the numerous Chifchaff, which we were to find in abundance throughout the reserve, we also found our first Booted Eagle hiding behind the Cormarants in a tree to our left.

And so onto the Escondida wheer we found White-headed Duck, Mallard, Pochard and Gadwall along with a number of Little Grebes and a regular crossing of the water over the full length by a number of Kingfishers.  Were there as many as six present? A Robin put in an appearance to our left along with the site of our second Stonechat of the morning and loudly-calling Cetti's Warbler.

Little Grebe Zampullin Comun Tachybaptus ruficollis
The Laguna Casillas was surprisingly empty of birds with just a single Little Grebe and a handful of Coots.  Eventually a Moorhen but the action was on the dry scrape on the other side of the track.  A small flock of Serin then a handful of Goldfinch before we found the male Pied Flycatcher.  In a dead tree at the back not only a pair of Bluethroat but also a Black Redstart.  A Red-legged Partidge was heard by many of us and then, immediately below, a lone Meadow Pipit wandering around on the dried earth.  Finally, the regular appearance of a number of Greenfinches.

Stonechats Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus
Not too many Black-winged Stilts on the Wader Pool but we did have a single Little Egret and another trio of juvenile Flamingo.  A few Ringed Plovers but the star s were possibly the pair of Ruff (one Reeve).  John and Jenny had just watched a quartering Marsh Harrier and saw our, we think, third Booted Eagle of the morning.  More Chiffchaffs busy feeding as we carried on down to the Sea Watch.  The sea was like the proverbial mill pond and it took some time to realise that there were any birds about.  A small flock of about two dozen Black-headed Gulls almost in front and then we saw an overfly of a couple of Mediterranean Gulls. A little further out about the same number of Yellow-legged Gulls but more spread out.  Scanning the distant water we picked up a couple of quartering Gannets which confirmed their identity as they dived down into the sea with a great splash.  The other group also picked up Cory's Shearwater.

Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus
Working our way back in reverse direction we soon added the Peregrine Falcon which was still resting high on the tallest chimney to our right.  Meanwhile, others had added both Crested Lark and Corn Bunting.  In addition a Jackdaw was recorded by Derek's group plus both Hoopoe and a Buzzard.  And they managed to find the hiding Teal.  By the time our various lists had been coordinated the group had recorded 62 species for the morning and then, not long after crossing the river to make our way home, a wandering single Raven crossed the road to add to the Jackdaw seen earlier.

Just received an udate from John so three more species to add to the list; Redshank, Sandwich Tern and Grey Wagtail.  Updated total now 66 species.


Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cory's Shearwater, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Pergrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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