Thursday, April 09, 2015

Guadalhorce and Home

Arrived back into the UK over four hours late in the early hours of this morning after an horrendous flight home, which even included thunderstorms all around on takeoff! I suppose we should be grateful that the flight wasn't cancelled after Ryanair cut 250 flights yesterday thanks to the French air traffic controllers strike, although I probably would have preferred to head back to Dave's.

Purple Swamphen
Anyway with our scheduled departure not until 9pm it was an opportunity to spend a few hours in the afternoon at Guadalhorce. It was still blowing an absolute gale when we arrived but thankfully the wind eased as the day wore on. The walk from the church to the footbridge had Sardinian Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, noisy Monk Parakeets and a fishing Cormorant, plus feeding over the bridge a group of House Martin. We decided to begin at the Del Rio Viejo and Laguna de la Casilla hides and the first bird of note was a Purple Swamphen nonchalantly walking across the lagoon. Waders included a couple of Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Little-ringed Plover, Avocet and several Black-winged Stilt. There were four Greater Flamingo, seven White-headed Duck and a mixture of Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Gadwall and Little Grebe.

Red-legged Partridge - Guadalhorce
As we walked between hides along the footpath a bird instantly caught the eye flying up from the rocks that run alongside the riverbank, a Black-eared Wheatear. We managed a couple of views of a very flighty bird but never quite got to nail it. A couple of Red-legged Partridge were also meandering between the rocks and Serin, Crested Lark and Greenfinch, of which there were many, were also recorded. The old river was a little quieter than normal but still held a large flock of Spotless Starling a single Redshank, Greenshank and over thirty or so Black-winged Stilt.

Little Egret
As we approached the sea-watch observation point, where the waves were almost crashing over the top a Whimbrel and Little Egret were feeding at the Rio Viejo mouth and a Hoopoe flew across the path and almost got blown away! The walk along the beach to the other side of the reserve was bracing and here Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover and Little-ringed Plover were all sheltering. The usual Yellow-legged Gulls were to be found but unfortunately no Tern activity. Sadly the high waves have also demolished the fence which separates the beach from the Plover nesting area and this was strewn with tidal waste.

Nightingale in song!
Finally a half hour in the hide overlooking the Laguna Grande produced few additions to the day list with the exception of Grey Heron, several Barn Swallows, a brace of Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiaeand Dave and Dee were amused with how long it took for a couple of Kentish Plover to mate, although they did seem to be at it for an awful long time! Final birds of the day, and indeed this visit to Spain, were a Nightingale in song as we walked back to the parking along the Rio Guadalhorce and a trio of Common Sandpiper along the bank. Another superb trip #birdingspain and I can't believe it's now only three weeks to our Oregon trip USA!