Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Evening At Guadalhorce

Temp - 27C - Clear - Wind E @ 8 mph

Having finally shaken off my heavy cold it was time to venture out and so in the late afternoon Wednesday, after the main heat of the day had passed, Dee, Dave and I took the relatively short drive down towards Guadalhorce. This reserve is quite close to Malaga airport and begins at the mouth of the river Guadalhorce, it consists of old gravel pit workings and ponds make up a wetland habitat with coastal access.

Audouin's Gull
After parking at the local church we began our walk by accessing the site at the footbridge which takes you easily across the river. The first birds of note were a Kingfisher on the river, a single Kestrel and a couple of Monk Parakeet, in fact during our walk there were a number of these noisy marauders. Several Little Egrets were entrenched along the river bank and the familiar sound of Cetti's Warbler from within the reeds, but as per usual not seen. A couple of Sardinian Warblers, a bird that seems to enjoy giving me the runaround, and a number of Zitting Cisticola before arriving at the hide which overlooks the Laguna Escondida. 

♀Marsh Harrier - Golden head glistening in the evening sunshine!
Just prior to entering a Marsh Harrier was giving the surrounding pools a good old scare. However, a couple of Cormorant perched on a large dead tree just seemed to look on in amusement. A large raptor appeared from the south-east and although we only managed a brief glimpse, could well have been the tagged Osprey from Germany, which I'm told regularly winters here. From the hide a collection of Coots and Little Grebe and a pleasant surprise with a quartet of White-headed Duck, including juvenile

White-headed Duck on Laguna Escondida
From here we took the path that leads around to the hide at Laguna Grande, bypassing the eastern arm. The walk to the hide produced a flock of around twenty or so Greenfinch and a couple of Crested Lark also took flight from the scrub area.

Black-winged Stilt - Laguna Grande
The hide which overlooks the Laguna Grande provided a nice selection of waders and these included a good number of Black-winged Stilt, several Common Sandpiper, a selection of both juvenile and adult Ringed Plover, a lone Little-Ringed Plover, a single Turnstone and a late arrival, when a gorgeous looking Greenshank dropped in.  On the water a handful of Shoveler, a couple of Little Grebe, a mixture of Grey Heron and Little Egret, plus a pair of Greater Flamingos, what seemed to be a mother and juvenile.

Mediterranean Gull - Laguna Grande
The Gulls, which were plentiful offered many Black-Headed, but a good scan provided a single Audouin's, a single Mediterranean and Yellow-legged, of which there were several, including a good few juvenile. During our stay at the hide there seemed to be a constant passage of Collared Doves and over in the distance, where the ♀Marsh Harrier was performing once more, some large groups of Spotless Starling. An excellent first visit, even more enhanced by a constant passage of Red-rumped Swallows and Common Swifts.