Thursday 9 January 2020

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Thursday 9 January

With jenny off to a hospital appointment at 8.15 I took the opportunity to drive into Malaga and spend the morning at the Guadalhorce reserve.  Upon arrival just after 9 o'clock I found it cool and cloudy with only a few minuscule breaks in the cloud; decidedly on the cold side and not until almost eleven before the sun popped its head out for a warm five minutes.  Nevertheless, despite the very high water levels I managed to find some good birds.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia

A couple of Monk Parakeets on the high fence at the back of the football ground and both White Wagtail and Robin as I made my way up to the riverside track.  Within a few metres a male Sardinian Warbler crossed the track in front of me whilst a handful of House Sparrows were showing well.  So on to the footbridge where looking upstream I found my first Heron of the day as a Cormorant made its way towards the main pool.  On the far side both a couple of Greenfinch and a Serin before heading on to the Laguna Casillas.  Looking around the water I found a couple of Mallards and a half-dozen Pochard plus a handful of Coot.  Just the one Little Grebe and a single Booted Eagle was resting in the dead tree to the right.

Common Pochard Porron Europea Aythya ferina

At the Wader Pool the main attraction was the lone Greenshank along with a dozen Black-winged Stilts and five Little Grebes.  Just two Moorhen and in the distance a resting Buzzard in a dead tree, which was still on view three hours later.  A single Heron flew in and took up residence.The walk to the Sea Watch produced a trio of Meadow Pipits and a few Yellow-legged Gulls overhead with occasional fly-pasts of Monk Parakeets.

Grey Heron Garza Real Ardea cinerea

On the Rio Viejo (Old River) itself a lone Lesser Black-backed Gull and n the further island a single Sanderling and three Ringed Plovers.  To my left first a Stonechat and then a male Black Redstart.  The sea seemed very quite but using the scope I managed to count five Gannets flying well out on the water.  Returning to the Wader Pool I added Goldfinch and Chiffchaff before adding a couple of Collared Doves having arrived at the hide.

Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus

Whilst at the Laguna Casillas, it now being a little warmer, the first of the feeding Crag Martins had arrived and a male Kestrel seemed to be hovering and "inspecting" the roosting Booted Eagle.  Meanwhile, a couple or more of Cetti's Warblers were making their presence known.  Approaching the Laguna Escondida I found a trio of Crested Larks and on the water a few Coots and Pochards.  Having noted a few more Little Grebes then the lovely welcome sight of a first male White-headed Duck, the first seen at the Guadalhorce for probably almost three months.

White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala

And so to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.  Maybe as many as twenty or more Cormorants and a further half-dozen Herons.  With the Cormorants were five juvenile Flamingos and in the dead trees to the left a few Collared Doves and three Booted Eagles.  Just a handful of Mallard but at least thirty Shoveler.  At the back a single Redshank which eventually found its way nearer to the hide where I could also see another Ringed Plover.  On the far water I eventually counted a total of ten Black-necked Grebes but no Little Grebes on this water.

Juvenile Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus with Cormorants Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo
Walking back to the car I found a flock of about thirty Spotless Starling and a couple of Common Starling.  No sooner had these birds moved away than a Blackbird flew across the track.  A little later on many more Stonechats, White WagtailsGoldfinches and Serins plus a couple of Linnets.  So on and under the footbridge to take the new exit to the said bridge and on to my car.  Given that it was only 12.30 I first drove to the far end of the beach where, as expected, I found the residing pair of Common Scoter but practically nothing else.

Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus

Why rush off back to Mezquitilla when you can drive under the airport and take a quick look at Zapata.  All basically quiet apart from a good supply of White Wagtail, Golfinches and Serin but I did add a handful of Short-toed Larks and, having crossed the ford, found a single Green Sandpiper.  Just Coots, Moorhens and Shovelers on the river itself and a lone Heron flew across.  Nevertheless, a final total of 46 species for the morning.

Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula

Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Common Scoter, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Heron, Flamingo, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

Three of the four Booted Eagles Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus

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