Tuesday 17 July 2018

Charca de Suarez with John and Jenny

Tuesday 17 July

Now back in Spain and lovely to receive an email from John and Jenny Wainwright re their visit to the Charca de Suarez on Sunday.  Certainly more fun than driving over to East Midlands airport to join the cattle-truck-in-the-sky, otherwise known as Ryanair, on a swelteringly hot day and even worse on the plane itself.  At least my very late check-in, three hours before the flight, got me a window seat in the emergency door area so lots of leg room to make up for the uncomfortable seat itself!  I think it might be a case of getting the spare bins out and venturing forth once more myself before driving down to Tarifa on Saturday.

More good news from John that Jenny is making great progress and now walking further. And she was in charge of the camera for Sunday's visit to the Charca!

Charca de Suarez ; Sunday15th July

A very warm day with a light breeze now and then.

We arrived at the reserve about ten minutes before opening, overhead a few Barn Swallows and House Martins were seen.  Entering the reserve we headed for the new laguna hide, Laguna del Alamo Blanco, lots of Spotted Flycatchers down this track today, mostly juveniles waiting for food.

Juvenile Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
At the hide a Purple Swamphen was feeding in the far reeds also about were a couple of Mallards, a Black-winged Stilt, oodles of Bee-eaters their calls drowning out most of the small birds in the reeds. But after a while they moved on a tad, and we could hear the Common Waxbills and the Great Reed Warbler calling; we did see the former later on though.  Common Swifts were in good numbers and as we were about to leave two more Purple Swamphens came out of the reeds squabbling and raced across the laguna putting two Shovelers up. 

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Then over to the Bluethroat hide overlooking the Laguna del Taraje only a Little Grebe, Moorhen and a Mallard about here so we moved round to the bamboo hide.  In the trees at the back of the laguna a pair of Turtle Doves were making trips back and forward and to our front a Red-knobbed Coot was feeding while in the reeds a Moorhen and its two chicks were spotted.  Suddenly a clattering of reeds and a Little Bittern flew out and across to our left.  Back along the track to the entrance and turning down towards the main public hide, we called in at the Chameleon corner hide, here more Red-knobbed Coots, Turtle Doves and another Little Bittern, this bird suddenly took off when a Common Coot came out of the reeds behind it.  A few Sardinian Warblers and a Cetti´s Warbler  plus some House Sparrows.

Distant Turtle Dove Streptopella turtur (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
At the main public hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas we were watching a Red-knobbed Coot at its nest when another Little Bittern flew across and landed in the reeds to the right of the hide. A sudden outburst from a pair of Red-knobbed Coots - to the right of the island - as a Yellow-legged Gull swept down and plucked one of its chicks from the laguna and swallowed it as it flew off.  Then a Common Kestrel and two Black-headed Gulls flew over.  At the back of the hide two Ferruginous Ducks (or are they the hybrids??) were spotted, as were Shovelers, Mallard and Little Grebe.  The trees to our far right were roost to eleven Grey Herons and around these trees several Crag Martins were logged.

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
We made our way back to the bamboo hide at the Laguna del Taraje where, as we made ourselves comfortable, a Kingfisher flashed across towards the Bluethroat hide.  Then we noted Common Waxbills, Great Reed Warbler, Spotless Starlings, Blackcaps and yet more Spotted Flycatchers here, the latter seem to have had a bumper breeding year.  On our way back to the exit we spotted a Chameleon in the bushes.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Lots of good birds seen and especially the Kingfisher having just read the BTO report that the "Beast from the East" weather back in February seems to have virtually wiped out most of these beautiful birds back in Britain.  All observers are now asked to send in any reports of Kingfishers seen in the UK.

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

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