Saturday 20 March
|The Wader Pool with mainly Black-winged Stilts|
Cold and breezy when I set off at 7.45 but at least it was sunny and very little cloud. However, reaching the motorway and looking west it was dark and ominous suggesting that I might be making a rapid turn round or, at best, putting a waterproof in the rucksack when I arrived. Upon arrival at the Desembocadura del Guadalhorce it was obvious that the Guadalmar area had had a recent shower and was more cloudy as well as colder with a very stiff breeze. But there were Spotless Starlings flying around and approaching the footbridge a pair of hunting Kestrels. Both Mallard and Rock Dove seen upstream from said bridge and then he first Barn Swallow of the morning.
|Avocets Recurvirostra avosettsa and Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus|
Then it was straight on to the Laguna de Casillas where I found a male White-headed Duck and a couple of female Pochard plus Little Grebe, Moorhen and Coot. However, it was the Wader Pool that provided the mass of birds with 45 Black-winged Stilts along with five Avocet and a pair of Redshank. Studying the water i also found a single Common Sandpiper plus a Greenshank. At the far end a pair of Little Grebe whist a lone Heron was sharing one of the bare trees at the back along with the roosting Cormorants. Before leaving a small charm of Goldfinch arrived.
|Redshank Tringa totanus|
Lots of interesting birds on the Viejo Rio (Old river) with another score of Black-winged Stilts plus both a Black-headed and Slender-billed Gull. More than ten Kentish mixed in with the half-dozen Little Ringed Plover and still a single Little Stint. On the far side, a solitary Green Sandpiper and a pair of Shelduck. Meanwhile, a regular passing of Monk Parakeets just to keep my hearing in check.
The sea was somewhat rough arriving at the Sea Watch and the poor light certainly no help. I did eventually find the gull flock which consisted mainly of Lesser Black-backs but also a half-dozen or so of Mediterranean and maybe a score of Black-headed Gulls. There must have been some fish about as the mixed flock also included a couple of Gannet. Making my way back the same way I encountered my first Collared Dove of the morning along with a Blackbird.
As I made my way towards the Laguna Escondida I looked up and watched an Osprey moving upstream overhead no doubt heading towards the Zapata area and the chance of a fine fish lunch. Then, once at the Escondida, eighteen Pochard and six male White-headed Ducks on the water along with more Little Grebe and Coot. A pair of Shoveler at the far end came as somewhat of a surprise and I was to find another pair still present on the main lake a little later on. Not just Spotless Starlings moving about but a lone Jackdaw perched on one of the main motorway street lamps beyond the far, northern, end of the laguna.
Yet more species when I finally reached the Laguna Grande and the shelter of the main hide to myself albeit the rain did not arrive despite a slight sounding of thunder over the sea. Eight resting Flamingos but only two Black-necked Grebes at the far side. Shelduck numbers had reduce on this water to seven but still another score of Black-winged Stilts. In addition to the forty or so Cormorant I also found three Heron, a couple of Cattle Egret and more Collared Doves.
|Seven of the sleepy Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus|
Below me I enjoyed the presence of a sleepy Greenshank plus a couple of feeding Redshank. The Spotless Starlings were moving around in flocks of a score or more when, in the dull light, I saw a single bird moving across the laguna from right to left barely inches above the water. A very strange silhouette until midway across with no sun reflecting on it when I realised it was not a lonely starling but a late Kingfisher, yet to set off for its breeding territory. meanwhile, atop the tall roosting pole, a lonely Yellow-legged Gull looked down on the proceedings below.
|Greenshank Tringa nebularia|
Time to head off home to both miss any forecasted rain but also in time to see the Saints defeat Bournemouth and so proceed to the FA Cup semi-final. Making my way towards the footbridge I first came across a pair of Greenfinch quickly followed a by a pair of male Blackbirds on top of a thick bust to my left. It was whilst I was considering the fact that I had not seen a warbler all morning that the Blackbirds flew to the bush on the opposite side of the track and flushed out a Sardinian Warbler. The smile was certainly on my face, not because the feeding Barn Swallows had now been joined by a handful of House Martins, but the fact that upon reaching the bridge a Cetti's Warbler was screaming its head off below me. Back in the car and about to drive off when I realised that I had not seen a single House Sparrow all morning. Perhaps I should stop near the church as there was bound to be a few there when a male House Sparrow flew across the road from the sports field and landed on top of the bush two metres in front of the car. Definitely time to go home.
|Grey Heron Ardea cineria|
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.