Saturday, 20 March 2021

Desembocadura del Guadalhorce, Malaga

 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

Birds seen:

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.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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