Thursday 11 March
Lovely, clear and sunny start to the day as I drove to Rincon de al Victoria to collect a Dutch birder newly introduced to the wonders of birding, Lovely to have Eva with me for the morning at the Guadalhorce in Malaga and hope that she found her first birding visit both interesting and enjoyable - and looking forward to more birding in the future as her experience and understanding develops. By the time we departed after just over three hours we had identified 38 species and, for me, one or two interesting developments. Firstly, not a single Coot seen on any of the pools. Secondly, and interesting duck count as follows: Mallard 3, Shoveler 2. Pochard 8 White-headed Duck 3 and the runaway winner with 24 our friend the Common Shelduck!
|Shelduck Tadorna tadorna with the main flock below
A Sardinian Warbler flew across the track as we made our way to the footbridge and, once above the water, noted a pair of Mallard, Rock Dove and Cormorant upstream. The first small group of Monk Parakeets noisily passed overhead and Eva was first to see the distant, hovering Kestrel. Then a single Blackbird before arriving at the Casillas hide where, on the water, we found a handful of Pochard, a single male White-headed Duck and two Mallard. At least three Moorhens were also recorded along with a pair of Little Grebe but not a single Coot as was to be repeated at each pool and the old river.
|A lovely collection of Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus
Just as we departed towards the Wader Pool a trio of Black-winged Stilts flew in and in the bushes to our right a foraging Chiffchaff. Once settled in the hide we noted the many Black-winged Stilts on the water along with single Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Little Egret. As we watched a Common Redshank put in an appearance as did a pair of Avocet. Around us we had moving and calling Goldfinches along with a handful of Serin.
|First Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta of the year
Onwards to see what might be on the Rio Viejo (Old River where we found more Black-winged Stilts along with a few Black-headed Gulls and a half-dozen Little Ringed Plover. In a bare tree to our right we found our first Spotted Flycatcher of the year and then a small number of Greenfinches.
|Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
From the Sea Watch a couple of large rafts of Lesser Black-backed Gulls but very little else other than a few fishing Cormorant. So back to the Wader Pool, noticing a small number of House Sparrows on the way, where we found a newly-arrived Common Sandpiper. A single Crested Lark flew off the shore in front of us and away to the far side before we carried on with a few calling nearby Cetti's Warblers.
|Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo in full breeding breeding plumage
Very little at the Escodida pool other than Little Grebes, Moorhens and a couple of distant Pochard so straight on to the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande. Immediately in view the six Flamingo and very many Cormorant plus more Black-winged Stilts. More concentrated searching revealed a Redshank below us and at least two dozen Shelduck. However, much ,more concentration required to find the pair of Shoveler and another White-headed Duck. The flock of 8 Black-necked Grebes was still present at the back of the water and then a couple of Herons seen. And all the time the constant movement of about seventy plus Spotless Starlings plus the arrival of a lair of Little Ringed Plover.
|Sleeping Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus
Eventually time to make our departure as we left the hide a Hoopoe flew into the tree in front giving good view. Finally, once back in the car and crossing the river on the motorway, a Marsh Harrier flew across the road in front of us. What a lovely way to conclude a most enjoyable morning with Eva.
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.