|Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata|
Friday 17 September
Needing to take some more boxes up to Velez de Benaudalla I extended the afternoon so that I could also pay an evening visit to nearby Charca de Suarez on the western outskirts of Motril. It also made more sense than driving up to the reserve on the Saturday morning as the weather ought to be decidedly cooler rather then very hot and, perhaps, the smaller birds might be more active. Approaching Velez I had a Hoopoe cross the road in front of me and and when I left the village and reached the water station on the Guadalfeo I glimpsed the dark shape of a raptor drifting south just above the hill to my immediate left. Continuing on for another couple of hundred metres I was able to pull over, prepare my bins and hope that the raptor was still gliding south. It was indeed and turned out to be a very handsome Short-toed Eagle.
On this occasion I approached the back of the Charca reserve from the west and entering the narrow lane soon had a Kestrel resting atop a large tree on my left. Almost immediately a pair of Red-rumped followed by Barn Swallows as a Cattle Egret flew eastwards towards the reserve itself. And just before turning left to drive down "Turtle Dove Alley" a delightful Bonelli's Warbler flew up onto the fence to my right.
|Female Kestrel Falco tinnunculus|
Nothing to see in the alley until the Collared Dove at the far end and then a complete turn to travel back along the road towards the Charca. At the far (southern) end I found a small charm of Goldfinch and a large flock of about two dozen Seri. However, the most notable thing about Turtle Dove Ally was the tremendous increase in fly-tipping since my last visit in early June. The quantity of building, domestic and rural rubbish was absolutely astonishing. To say that this has made a lovely birding site a disaster is a gross understatement. It must surely be more than obvious to the local council and police that this is on-going and without any sign of action from the appropriate authorities. The site is now a disgrace, dangerous and despicable. At this rate, the road will be unaccessible by the end of the year. Turtle Dove Alley? Needless to say not a bird in sight. Therefore, time to rename this concrete alley to something more appropriate so, until further notice, I shall henceforth refer to it as "Tip Alley."
|Gadwall Anas strepera|
Arriving at the reserve itself I immediately went to the Laguna del Taraje where I found many Mallard along with a pair of Gadwall and a couple of Moorhen. Both Common Coot and a solitary Snipe put in an appearance before I transferred to the opposite end of the water and added Red-knobbed Coot, Shoveler and a well-concealed Purple Swamphen.
|Snipe Gallinago gallinago|
Very little at the Laguna del Alamo Blanco other than a pair of Moorhen and two, not one, White Stork. A single Greenshank wandered into the main area before I departed where, looking up, I was able to follow the passing Booted Eagle.
|Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus|
Once in the main hide overlooking the Laguna de las Aneas I was immediately confronted by scores of Common along with many of the resident Red-knobbed Coots. Only Mallards noted on the water itself along with more Little Grebe, a good number of Moorhen and a dozen Black-headed Gulls. In the trees to my right a quintet of Heron with another at the far end of the water. A Kingfisher dashed across the water then reappeared at the far end for a brief rest.
|Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata|
Making my way to the northern hide overlooking the Laguna del Trebol I added a Cetti's Warbler and once settled was suddenly surprised to see a Pied Flycatcher in the bush to the left of the hide. Well-concealed by twigs in front, the bird flew off rather than make a potential photograph possible. Again, more Red-knobbed Coots on show. Moving to the hide at the far end provided the first Spotted Flycatcher of the evening followed by a male Blackbird and then a second Kingfisher sighting but no chance of a photo as it sped across the water.
|Not one but two White Storks Ciconia ciconia at the Charca|
The last hide on the circuit overlooking the Laguna del Liro produced a second Spotted Flycatcher and finally, checking the small Laguna del Junco on the way out I not only found a single Little Egret but no less than tree Spotted Flycatchers along with a pair of Cetti's Warblers. With House Sparrows as I left the site giving a final total of 30 species, excluding the two "specials" near Velez de Benaudalla, not too bad a result for less then two hours at the Charca de Suarez.
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta|
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Snipe, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Bonelli's Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch.
|Greenshank Tringa nebularia|
|Well-hidden Purple Swamhen Porphyrio porphyrio|
|Shoveler Anas clypeata|
|Greenshank with White Stork|