Thursday, 5 December 2019

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Lots of Chiffchaffs Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita about now
Wednesday 4 December

Clear skies and the promise if a sunny day with a slight breeze as I set off at 8.30 for a morning at the Guadalhorce in Malaga and with no hold-ups on the motorway I was on site by 9.15.  Good start and even better when I was welcomed by a Hoopoe crossing the road and noticed both Rock and Collared Doves along with a House Sparrow on the high fence behind the goad as i walked up to the western arm of the river.  Walking along the bank I was aware of the constant flow of Cormorants into and out of the reserve and my first Black Redstart of the morning as I crossed the footbridge; a handsome male which came to rest on the handrail.

Reaching the Laguna Casillas I was immediately aware of the lack of birds, just a handful of Coot and a trio of Little Grebes.  Numerous Crag Martins feeding above the water and a solitary Booted Eagle resting in the dead tree to my right.  In the neighbouring trees and shrubs the expected Chiffchaff.

Distant Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus from Laguna Casillas

On to the Wader Pool where there were still many Black-winged Stilts and the one Greenshank.  However, it was the departure of the three Lapwing as I arrived that immediately caught my attention.  Just a couple of Mallard but almost  Little Grebes.  A couple of Cetti's Warblers were singing away behind me and the then the fly past by a screaming quintet of Monk Parakeet.  In the distance, not just more Cormorants but the first of the Spotless Starlings resting in the bare trees to the back.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia

A walk to the beach was nothing more than exercise as anglers were occupying the nearby beach and out on the water maybe a dozen or more gulls evenly split between Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls.  However, I had noticed the quintet of juvenile Flamingo on the old river (Rio Viejo) and on the way back also recorded Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler and a Jay flying parallel between track and the eastern arm of the river.

A few of the Black-necked Grebes Zampullin Cuellinegro Podiceps nigricollis

Whilst at the Laguna Casillas a White Wagtail flew past the hide and then commenced feeding on the track as I made my way towards the Laguna Escondida.  Before reaching the water I found a male Stonechat but the water itself held just a few Coot, a small flock of Pochard and a pair of Gadwall. A Heron was resting on the eastern bank.  Below the hide a foraging White Wagtail and a coupe of Chiffchaff were trying their best to occupy the dead tree at the water's edge.

White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacilla alba

Arriving at the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande my suspicions were confirmed when , again, I saw relatively few birds; lots of water but no great number of individuals.  Yes, maybe half-dozen Heron and fifty or more Cormorants but then the search started.  A couple of score of Shoveler off to my left and at the back of the water I picked up the pair of Avocet and maybe eight or nine Black-necked Grebes.  In the dead trees I eventually found the pair of raven and more Cormorants and the trees to my left held more Spotless Starlings and at least one Common Starling.  Two Booted Eagles at the back until one departed and the other moved to its usual resting place among the Cormorants to my left.

Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus getting closer to hide

On the scrape immediately in front of the hide a Common Sandpiper and a couple of Dunlin plus a Ringed Plover.  Then on the very far side I could see a few Black-winged Stilts and even a single Redshank.  Even a Moorhen ventured forth on my right.

Winter plumage Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina

So with 40 species recorded for the morning and all quite quiet, I decided to leave at 11.30 and head over to the Laguna Dulce near Campillos, assuming that that was where the ducks might be.

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Flamingo, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Jay, Raven, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow,


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