Well, time to walk off the turkey and see what might be about at the Guadalhorce in Malaga. Seven of us turned up for the December meet of the Axarquia Bird Group with the promise of a cloudy but dry morning, a little wind but also the possibility of some sunshine come late morning. In the even it was a little windier and colder then expected on the exposed parts of the the reserve so we were all well wrapped up for the session. But then, come late morning, the clouds broke, the breeze eased and we were all wondering just how to try and remove a few layers as it got warmer and warmer and probably reached 20C by the time we departed for our respective homes at about 2.30. But it was a very enjoyable morning and lots of good bids to be seen by the group which included John and Jenny Wainwright, Marcus and Liz Rootes, visiting Dutch birder Lisette Heikoop and her friend Henk along with myself. Our final tally for the visit was just about 60 species.
Approaching the entrance slope up to the western branch of the river we were greeted by both House Sparrow and Chiffchaff along with the first of very many Spotless Starlings to be seen during our stay. The stretch from the entrance to the footbridge was inundated with Back Redstarts, they seemed to be everywhere. In addition, was also picked up Robin, Sardinian Warbler and Greenfinch whilst Cormorants, Herons, Monk Parakeets and Collared Doves passed overhead.
But the best was yet to come. We eventually located the "LBJ" beneath the shrubs next to the viewpoint and were delighted to recognise our little Bluethroat. No sooner seen than we had a raptor in the sky. Having finally identified the bird as a Booted Eagle a second distant individual was also seen and, at the same time, an Osprey in close proximity. Not to be outdone, a Common Kestrel drifted past on the other side of the river.
|Dark morph Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
|Male Pochard Porron Europea Aythya ferina (above) and the flock on Casillas
|Spotted Redshank ArchibebeOscuro Tringa erythropus and below with Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus and feeding Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
|Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epops
|Common Kestrel Cernicalo Vulgar Falco tinnunculus
The return walk and on to the Laguna Escondida produced a couple of Serin and a Robin plus more Hoopoes, Crag Martin, Black Redstarts, Goldfinches and Chiffchaff but, probably best of all, the sight of three Booted Eagles immediately overhead and a male Kestrel in a nearby tree. The laguna itself was very quiet with just the odd Moorhen, Coot and Little Grebe until a Marsh Harrier appeared at the back of the water looking for its midday meal. That brought out both Mallard and Teal. All this and a pair of Kingfishers busy dashing back and forth across the water.
|Booted Eagle Aguililla calzada Hieraaetus pennatus
A Zitting Cisticola was picked up on the way to the Laguna Grande where we found a large number of Cormorants plus a single juvenile Flamingo and yet more Herons. Lots of Spotless Starlings and the occasional Common Starling were seen whilst on the water we had a large flock of Shoveler plus maybe a dozen Shelduck, a few Mallard and even a single female Pintail.
|Female Pintail Anade Rabudo Anas acuta
|Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia admiring its own reflection
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Great Skua, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.
|Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
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