Thursday 6 October 2022

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Dunlin Calidris alpina with Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

 Thursday 6 October

Lovely clear sunny, warm and cloudless day as I set off for Malaga and a visit to the Desembocadura del Guadalhorce. Collared Doves and Monk Parakeets as soon as I reached the walk to the footbridge where rested the resident Rock Doves, well, at least half a dozen of the flock.

Straight on to the Lagna Casillas where I found a handful of Shoveler along with a couple of Coot and a Little Grebe, the latter joined by three more. A Zitting Cisticola flew over the water and the pair of Mallards watched the departing Little Egret.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Approaching the Wader Pool I noted a juvenile Flamingo at the extreme northern end and found two more juveniles on the main pool itself.  Also present was a resting flock of twenty Black-winged Stilts plus a lone Shelduck, a quartet of Dunlin and a single Redshank. A pair of Ringed Plover working the edges when I noted the small, white shape partly hidden at the back of the far island.  Eventually the shape moved and it turned out to be a visiting White Stork, which was later to go on its own walk about.  A Kingfisher flashed across the water and the background trees held a score of Cormorants along with a few Spotless Starlings.  Watching a Spotless Starling foraging along the shore immediately beneath the hide the bird unsettled a resting Snipe, which would otherwise not have been seen.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia

At that point the resting Black-winged Stilts took to the air in mad-panic.  The reason was quickly revealed as, looking up, not so much the hovering Kestrel but the quartering Marsh Harrier.  As the waders lifted they revealed the passing Green Sandpiper.

Quartering Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosis
Resulting in a mass eruption of the Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus

Nothing to see having walked to the beach other than the small number of Yellow-legged Gulls working the eastern arm of the river but as I returned I saw the silhouette of a small bird perched in a tree below next to the old river,  Sun in the wrong direction but took a record shot and, upon checking once back home, was able to get confirmation of a visiting Common Redstart.

Distant Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Close up of the bird

Approaching the Wader Pool a Jay crossed the track and then it was on to the Laguna Escondida. A small number of Coot and as many Little Grebe along with a single Moorhen and a resting Heron at the far end. A Pied Flycatcher was resting on the small bare tree to the left often frequented by visiting Bee-eaters and no sooner had it moved that a pair of Sardinian Warblers made a short stop on the same branch before moving on.  Just as I was about to depart a lone Black-headed Gull landed on the water.

Once in the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande more Black-winged Stilts and a few waders including Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover along with a solitary Lapwing.  A few Collared Doves and more Spotless Starlings and then the arrival of the final bird at the very back of the water with the appearance of a single Black-necked Grebe.

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis at the back of the water

Tim to depart and make a stop for a "menu del dia" in nearby San Julian and then on upstream beyond the airport for a short visit to Zapata.  Now very hot so many , if not most, of the bords had taken shelter but I did fund a single Reed Warbler along with a very late juvenile Woodchat Shrike on a fence plus a couple of Stonechats.  Crossing the river to check the little stream beyond the bank I found both a Green Sandpiper and male Grey Wagtail.  Also recorded were more Cetti's Warblers, and a Little Egret on the river itself and, as I stopped to check a passing raptor, it obviously upset the six resting Red-legged Partridge who decided it was time to run to another tree for shelter from the sun.  Finally, no Bluethroats but a few Serin.

Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus at rest

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Snipe, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Green SanCommon Redstart, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Woodchat Shrike, Jay, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin.

Dunlin Calidris alpina with Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (bottom)

Visiting Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Ringed Plover Calidris hiaticula with Dunlin Charadrius alpina

Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia

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