Saturday 5 October 2019

Charca de Suarez

Kingfisher Martin Pescador Alcedo atthis
Saturday 5 October

Away early to collect visiting London birder Corinna Smart from Nerja and then on to the Charca de Suarez on the western outskirts of Motril for a lovely sunny and calm morning's birding.  Arriving early we were able to take the small diversion to travel along "Turtle Dove Alley" and well rewarded we were.  Not the Collared Doves on the wire as we turned off the main road but the numerous small finches feeding below the reeds and grasses at the sides.  First up a small mixed flock of Serin and Greenfinch followed by House Sparrows and then a brief sighting of the local Red Avadavats.  Within minutes we had also seen a Zitting Cisticola then very close views of a male Red Avadavat in full breeding plumage and looking most handsome.  Not content with one on the road we then had a pair posing close by in a small tree.  But our cameras were in the boot; we had only made sure that we had binoculars in the car at the start of the concrete road!  Then followed a Common Waxbill and more Serin before we made our way to the reserve's entrance noting the charm of Goldfinch on the way.

However, as we approached the end of Turtle Dove Alley we had the pleasant surprise of seeing a Sparrowhawk circle away and one suspects that the above would be on the raptor's breakfast menu.

Purple Swamphen Calamon Porphyrio porphyrio

Arriving at the Laguna del Taraje I was surprised by the lack of a Little Grebe and even more so by the single Purpe Swamphen that was happily feeding immediately in front of the bamboo hide.  A dozen or so Mallard and a couple of Red-knobbed Coots plus many feeding and squabbling Moorhen were also noted.  No sooner had a Great Tit moved in front of us than it was the first Kingfisher of the morning that spent a few seconds in a tree to our front before flying away to our left.  Meanwhile, the start of the continuous accompaniment of calling Cetti's Warblers as made our tour of the site.

Red-knobbed Coot Focha Moruna Fulica cristata

As we walked along to the Laguna del Alamo Blanco we were entertained by a feeding female Pied Flycatcher.  No sooner settled in the hide which was packed with photographers and not a scope in sight and only one pair of bins noted than we were able to see the presently resident White Stork along with a small number of Mallard and Moorhen plus a single female Shoveler.  A single Grey Heron posed on a bare perch towards the back and stirred the mass photographers into action as it took flight.
Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinerea

With so little birding activity and a full house at the hide we decided to move on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas.  here we found mainly Common Coot but were soon also identify a few Red-knobbed Coots.  Again, a number of squabbling Moorhen and a single, basking Cormorant.  At last, a couple of Little Grebe along with a Common Pochard.  Scoping the back of the water we were able to find a single Ferruginous Duck.  Corinna spotted the pair of Barn Swallows that passed overhead and having listened to the noisy Wren behind us an individual suddenly appeared in front of us, posing for seconds with tail held erect before disappearing into the reeds next to the hide.  Again, lovely to see close views of both Pied Flycatcher and Kingfisher, with the latter fishing immediately in front of us.  Leaving we also saw a couple of Blackbird.

Time to enjoy your catch Kingfisher Martin Pescador Alcedo atthis

Then it was on to the Laguna del Trebol passing a Robin on the way where we found more Common and Red-knobbed Coots plus Moorhen, two more Purple Swamphen and, at last, a visiting White Wagtail.

White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacilla alba

As we made our way to the final pool, the Laguna del Lirio where we found yet another Purple Swamphen and a hunting Kingfisher, a small flock of Spotless Starlings was seen above us.

Little Grebe Zampullin Comun Tachybaptus ruficollis

having completed our cycle of the reserve we made a final return visit to both the Lagunas del Taraje and del Alamo Blanco before departing.  And as we travelled back along Turtle Dove Alley in the hope of another sighting of the Red Avadvats we found a pair of Barn Swallows and a female Stonechat but, alas, all the small finches had dispersed as the heat increased.  A wonderful morning in excellent company and time to relax back at home and enjoy the warm afternoon.

Pied Flycatcher Papamoscas Cerrojillo Ficedula hypoleuca
Shoveler Cuchara Comun Anas clypeata

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, White Stork, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Red Avadavat, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Our resident White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia

White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacilla alba  with attitude!

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful morning indeed and great to have a report I can point my friends to! Thank you once again for escorting me to a lovely NR & an unforgettable Turtle Dove Alley.Good to be reacquainted with Spanish birding including a lifer of Red Avadavat!