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|
|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|
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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