Wednesday 27 January 2021

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

 Wednesday 27 January

Velez Malaga for a medical appointment at 10.30 so upon completion off down to the Rio Velez on the western outskirts of Torre del Mar where I parked up just below the final road bridge.  Beautiful warm, sunny morning with the temperature in the low twenties and hardly a breath of wind in the almost perfect blue sky.  Perfect - or so you would think.  However, this much improved weather not only brought out the walkers, with and without dogs, but also scores of labourers in the fields to my left as they undertook planting and to my right a trio of farmers were busy cutting down the bamboos to take away the resulting poles for crop support.  What a mess.  Having prepared their cut bamboos for later collection, all the strimmings and unwanted bamboos were simply dumped in the river bed and come the next heavy rain will be washed out to sea and then back up onto the beaches for the local council to clear up the mess.  It's surely not rocket science to monitor the collection of the bamboo and either insist that the harvesters clear away and/or remove their cast-offs or simply charge a fee.  After all, somebody has to clear up the mess.  Enough said.

Of course the down side is that there were virtually no birds to be seen.  Greeted by both a Blackbird and White Wagtail as I parked the car and quickly followed by an overflying pair of Collared Doves and a trio of the resident Rock Doves, I set off towards the shore.  However, within fifty metres I realised there was little point with so much human activity so returned to the car and drove down to the pump house.  From the rapidly deteriorating hide I picked up a Hoopoe on top of the nearby electricity pylon along with a couple of Spotless Starlings.  A single Goldfinch on the fence but little else.

Hoopoe Abubilla Upupa epos

A walk down to the beach found a few anglers fishing from the shore and a dozen Black-headed Gulls resting on the water a little further along.  From the river lagoon I was able to look upstream and recorded over a dozen Cormorant resting in the bare trees and, on the water, first a Moorhen and then a pair of Purple Swamphen.  A little further on both a Coot and trio of Mallard.

Purple Swampen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio

Just as I was about to depart a single Mediterranean Gull flew in and settled on the water.  Leaving the beach with a couple of calling Cetti's Warblers I made my way back to the pump house where I recorded a single Serin and couple of House Sparrows and then on back to the car noting a few more Goldfinches on the fence.  

Mediterranean Gull Gaviota Cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus

Under the bridges and up to the arable field a little further upstream where I met even more workers in the fields and a mass of parked cars.  Very little to add until I reached the muck heap where I recorded a trio of Crested Larks and half-dozen feeding Chiffchaffs.  Making my way back to the main road I then added, in addition to more White Wagtails, a departing single Cattle Egret and the only Black Redstart of the morning.

Rather than turn east and head home I continued on so that I could take an anti-clockwise tour of the growing fields on the western side of the river.  Very little to add other than more Crested Larks and White Wagtails until almost the full circle when I stopped to see maybe forty House Sparrows and a dozen plus Serin making use of the puddles on the pat to my right for a really good bathe before flying backwards and forwards between water and fence, but not totally ignoring the surrounding feeding opportunities.  And so ended the short morning with the last new species of the day being  male Stonechat just before reaching the main road.  As I waited for an opportunity to join the traffic I could not but help notice the additional Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings around the area.

Serin Verdecillo Serinus serinus

Birds seen:

Mallard, Cattle Egret, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.

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

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