Saturday 17 June 2023

Zapata and the Rio Grande

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

Tuesday 6 June

After the mixed experience up in the Pyrenees it was lovely to pay an early morning visit to relativey nearby Zapata for a couple of hours before breakfast and then on up to the Rio Grande to complete the morning's biding.  Most enjoyable to be out with Barbara and Derek Etherton and once more visiting former birding sites.  Beautiful warm, sunny weather with clear blue skies.

All the usual species recorded upon arrival and then the first Hoopoe of the morning. A Spotted Flycatcher was resting in a nearby tree as we passed and, at the same time, lots of singing Nightingales. Stopping above the reedbed we quickly added both Reed and Cetti's Warbers and the caught sight of our first Turtle Dove.  Monk Parakeets flew over and in the trees below both Blackcap and a Sardinian Warbler.

A number of Night Herons were moving about the area and above we had both Common and Pallid Swifts along with Barn Swallow and House Martin.  Naturally, a Woodpigeon would put in an appearance sooner or later but balanced by the passing Kestrel.  

Moving on to the river and parking near the ford we found Black-winged Stilt, Mallard and Little Ringed Plover.  A Little Egret flew in and, at the same time, revealed a single Iberian Yellow Wagtail.  Whilst we had both Serin and Jackdaw behind us, the water soon attracted both Grey Wagtail and a passing Heron

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

A final stop near the underpass and we were able to add a Red-rumped Swallow, Waxbill, Linnet, Bee-eater and a Stonechat.  Work completed, it was off to the local bar for our breakfast before heading up to the Rio Grande.

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae

Working our way through the small spinney towards the confluence of the Rio Grande and Guadalhorce we soon recorded both Spotless Starling and Golden Oriole.  Lots of Chaffinches about and then a passing Raven.  Continuing on towards the river we added Blackbird, Jay, Turtle Dove and Bee-eaters.  Once at the waterside Reed Warblers and a Cattle Egret, whilst above a number of both Common and Pallid Swifts plus House Martins. making our way back through the trees to take the track leading to the river and a suitable crossing place we also added more Nightingales, White Wagtail, a Spotted Flycatcher and Greenfinches as well as the local House Sparrows.

Bee-eaters Merops apiaster

Once alongside the river we saw the first Little Egret followed by a heron and another Hoopoe. Lovely to see a very close Squacco Heron and then both Mallard on the water and Barn Swallows above.  A small charm of Goldfinches accompanying a few Serins was noted along with a first Crested Lark.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

Making our way back from the over-bridge to the river crossing we stopped to see the arrival of a Purple Heron and more Little Ringed Plovers were also recorded.  Our final birds were a passing Buzzard and a number of Rock Doves.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

Birds seen:

Mallard, Little Egret, Heron, 

Squacco Heron with Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

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