Tuesday 16 July 2019

Charca de Suarez with John and Jenny

Tuesday 16 July

I may be over in the UK at the moment but John and Jenny Wainwright are still in Spain and had the opportunity to visit one of my (relatively) local and favourite birding sites, the wardened reserve of Charca de Suarez in Motril on Sunday last.  So good to read about all those lovely species that one associates with the Charca including Turtle Dove Red Avadavat and Common Waxbill but no mention of a possible Black-rumped Waxbill.  I'm beginning to miss them already so must hurry back as soon as I can.

Charca de Suarez:  Sunday 14th July

Strong winds on way down but very humid at reserve.

Not a lot on the way down to Suarez, a few Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings, Jackdaws and Woodpigeons.  As we parked up a flock of Yellow-legged Gulls came over and then while we were waiting for the reserve to open a Spotted Flycatcher was noted.   Barn Swallows, Common Swifts and House Martins were also logged before we gained entrance.

We headed for the "Alamo hide" and as we progressed up the track several Bee-eaters were seen.  In the hide we were welcomed by the "permanent" White Stork while in the reed beds a group of six common Waxbills were frolicking.  At the far end of the laguna three Marsh Harriers came into sight as did a Grey Heron which was quickly chased off by the Harriers.  A Zitting Cisticola landed on a tall reed and a movement below it gave us a pair of Penduline Tits.  A few Turtle Doves about here with an individual settling on the "Kingfisher poles". As a Marsh Harrier flew low over the reed beds a Purple Heron was disturbed and as it landed it disturbed a Red Avadavit and a Woodchat Shrike that had been hidden by the branches of a tree.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
On the water Moorhens and their young as well as Common Coots and their young fed with several Mallard in the background, a Cetti´s Warbler started singing as we left the hide, and a single Red-rumped Swallow was logged.
At the Taraje hide, a Purple Swamphen was spotted and a juvenile Black-winged Stilt appeared from the reeds and started feeding in front of the hide.  A Moorhen zigzagged in and out of the reeds, while in the bushes to the right of the hide a Spotted Flycatcher took up post, whilst below a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) was flitting about.
Moving down to the "Taraje bamboo"hide, a Blue-headed Wagtail, Mallard, Coots and Little Grebe were all the birds that were seen here, although Common Waxbills were heard regularly.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Doing a big walk round to the main Aneas hide we noted Great Tits, Blackcaps, Chaffinches, Spotted Flycatcher and House Sparrow.

At the main Aneas hide hundreds of Common Coots, Little Grebe and Moorhens were about, a couple of Red- knobbed Coots, Mallard, a Pochard, Grey Herons, Grey Wagtail and Little Egrets.  Above us three Black-headed Gulls wheeled, joined a while later by the Yellow-legged Gulls.

Just at that moment a female Common Kestrel came down into the water, it then pulled itself up onto a rock under the shade of the reeds of the island.  It started drinking and then secreted herself in and under the reeds, popping out every couple of minutes then disappearing back into the reeds.  She stayed there for at least twenty minutes, putting up with the attention of young Coots and Moorhens which sat up on the rock and looked at her.

Female Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Not much more to see today except two Tortoises which were feeding in their enclosure.

A few species of butterflies were noted Cardinal (Pandoriana pandora), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and not forgetting the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

Juvenile Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
An interesting aside from John, as follows, re the female Kestrel "hiding" in the reeds.  The item about the Common Kestrel was very strange I don´t know whether she was just tired as she came down in the water with a big splash, or she maybe was after one of the many chicks that were about today? 

Female Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

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