Thursday, 13 June 2019

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Thursday 13 June

On site at the Guadalhorce in Malaga just before 8.30 in the hope that the birding might be relatively comfortable before the heat really set in, as it did by mid-morning when I made an early exit to call in at the airport re tickets so only about two and a half hours on site for my almost 40 species.

Arriving I immediately saw both Jackdaws and Collared Doves and the walk to the footbridge produced a pair of Sardinian Warblers.  Crossing the footbridge plenty of House Martins in the air and a few Barn Swallows.  To my right the first Spotless Starlings of the morning and then the first Common Swifts feeding quite low.  Once over the bridge a movement to my left revealed a Zitting Cisticola and, approaching the first hide a handful of House Martins.

Once at the Laguna Casillas only the one Mallard seen and a similar count of Little Grebe.  On the other hand over a score of Black-winged Stilts with at least sight nests counted.  To add to the list, about five or more Coot and a single MoorhenReed Warblers were seen and heard all around me and then a Cetti's Warbler perched on a bare branch for a few seconds.

Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata

On to the Wader Pool and a single Grey Heron and four Little Egret to add to yet more Black-winged Stilts. A Kestrel flew over and up returning to the pool I also added a pair of Crested Lark and a couple of Little Ringed Plover.  A passing Blackbird and a couple of Goldfinch also improved the sightings at this articular water.

Flock of resting Audouin's Gulls Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii
My walk to the Rio Viejo (Old River) produced a Greenfinch before checking out the water where yet more Black-winged Stilts and numerous House Martin and Common Swift were seen. A Kentish Plover was found hiding on the parched beach as a result of the evaporating water but, at the far end, a large gathering of gulls.  Using the scope the  great majority were identified as Audouin's Gulls, some compete with rings on their legs, but a small number of Slender-billed Gulls.  In with the gulls I could quickly identify a few Little Tern and then the scope zoomed in on a Common Tern and, on checking a general view of the flock on camera, I even discovered a Sandwich Tern.

Common Tern Charran Comun Sterna hirundo to the far left

Back then by the same route and on to the Laguna Escondida where as soon as I arrived a Kingfisher dashed across the water in front of me.  A few Coot and Mallard along with a trio or Little Grebe whilst towards the back a handful of White-headed Duck and maybe as many as a quartet of Pochard.  On the dead tree to my left  a couple of Bee-eaters which were later joined by a third before the arrival of a male Kestrel.

One of three Bee-eaters Abejaruco Europea Merops apiaster

Finally to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande where all but two of the gulls were Slender-billed, the others being Black-headed Gulls.  No Acocets but a few more Black-winged Stilts and just the one Kentish Plover.  Also present, apart from Collared Doves, House Sparrow, Spotless Starlings and a constant stream of feeding House Martins over the water, a total of eleven Greater Flamingo.

Five of the Greater Flamingo Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus on Laguna Grande

With sun now well and truly beating down I decided to call it a day and head off home as I walked back towards the footbridge I stopped to watch a House Sparrow come to rest on a small perch and discovered my first Monk parakeet of the morning - and not a single sound from this normally raucous species.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Swift, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.
Record shot of the Sandwich Tern Charran patinegro Sterna sandvicensis

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