Monday, 16 December 2019

Charca de Suarez, Motril

Sunday 15 December

This moth's Axarquia Bird Group meet was held at the Charca de Suarez on the western edge of Motril and lovely to see eight members join me for a most enjoyable morning; good birding in good company and between us over 40 species recorded. Barrie and Jan Avis travelled all the way west from Mercia and Lindsey Pheasant and Mike Kinchington had come up almost as fore from Marbella.  Good to see "Axarquians" Marcus and Liz Rootes join me and I was able to bring Dutch birding visitor Lisette Heikoop with me.  Finally, but not least, also lovey to see Adriana Pizzato from nearby Salobrena once again.

Arriving in good time we came across a field of Cattle Egret once under the old N340 and entering "Turtle Dove Alley" soon added Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow and the first of a few Stonechat.  All very quiet as we drove the extensive crop of pampas grass to the old ruin where we came across a small flock of Tree Sparrows and the first Blackbird.  It was towards the end of the narrow concrete road that we spotted the movement low down in the grasses near the road edge and quickly identified the flock of Common Waxbill.  Watching these delightful little birds we then also had a male Red Avadavat and as we approached the next group of waxbills even managed to pick out a few of the local Black-rumped Waxbills.  Certainly a good start to the morning as we made our way round to the reserve's entrance, passing a small group of Serin, where the gates opened promptly on time at 9 o'clock.

Robin Petirrojo Europeo Erithacus rubecula

Once inside it was straight to the bamboo hide overlooking the Laguna del Taraje and recording many Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and Cetti's Warbler on the way.  Once inside we could see both Moorhen and Red-knobbed Coot immediately in front of the hide and these were joined very quickly by a lone Purple Swampnen.  A good number of Mallard on the water along with a Little Grebe and a couple of Common Coot which were soon driven off by their red-knobbed cousins.  A Heron drifted over whilst Chiffchaff fed in the tree to our right and a Robin posed to our left.  Before we looked up to record the feeding Crag Martins we also had our first of two Great Tits.

Red-knobbed Coot

Walking on to the large hide overlooking the Laguna Del Alamo Blanco we picked up a Black Redstart and once inside immediately recognised the resident White Stork.  The water was very quiet with just a quartet of Teal albeit we had visits from Moorhen and both White and Grey Wagtails.  However, there were two rather exciting sightings.

Female Common Teal Cerceta Comun Anas crecca

 A very small looking Booted Eagle remained perched in a tree at the back of the water and Lindsey was in time to spot the Spotted Crake that put in a very brief appearance at the water's edge right at the back - but not before most of us had also had a chance for a brief sighting.  Finally, a Marsh Harrier suddenly appeared low at the back and dropped into the reeds and a single Kingfisher flashed across the water.

What appeared to be a very small Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus

Moving on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas we found the large flock of Common Coot plus a smaller number of Red-knobbed Coot.  A couple of herons were resting on the island and a further half-dozen on either side.  A couple of Cormorant were sunbathing towards the back and then, apart form the Moorhens, there was a good selection of ducks.  Mainly Shoveler but also a small number of Mallard and about a score of Common Pochard.  Right at the back of the water we finally found a single Ferruginous Duck and Lindsey manage to sight the Gadwall at the far back on the left.  A couple of the group were fortunate to spot the trio of Snipe that suddenly flew away low below the hide and in addition we had White Wagtail, Chiffchaff an a small number of Little Grebe.  Eventually the two Yellow-legged Gulls were joined by a mixed flock of the same and Black-headed Gulls but they only remained for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, Mike had found a Common Starling amidst the small flock at the back of the reserve near the apartment blocks.

One of very many Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita

Once we reached the northern hide overlooking the Laguna del Trebol we had superb close views of a Bluethroat, Yellow Wagtail and a few Chiffchaffs feeding on insects attracted to the rotting weeds that had been dredged up from the water and now lying immediately below the hide.  A few Crag Martins made occasional feeding sorties over the water and on the water itself mainly Red-knobbed Coots along with a single Purple Swamphen and a number of Moorhens and Mallards.  Eventually, Lindsey managed to find a single Snipe and whilst trying to locate with his scope Mike added a second.

Bluethroat Ruisenor Pechiazul Luscinia svecica

On reaching the southern hide on the other side of the laguna, Barrie and Jan being the first to arrive managed to see the Water Rail that was feeding below the hide before disappearing off into the nearby reeds.  No birds were seen at the final water, the Laguna del Lirio but there were many Chifchaff as well as more Red-knobbed Coots and so we made our way back to the main gate in time for the closing of same at 1pm.  With the others following I took them back via Turtle Dove Alley where we not only found a good number of Common Waxbill but also a small charm of Goldfinches and a couple of Kestrel, so ending a lovely morning in splendid company.

Grey Wagtail lavandera Cascadena Motacilla cinerea
Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Spotted Crake, Water Rail, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull,  Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Black-rumped Waxbill, Red Avadavat, Serin, Goldfinch.

The resident White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia


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