Thursday, June 09, 2016

Birding Spain - Guadalhorce

My second visit of three planned to Spain this year, this time staying with my buddy Dave for a few days at his villa in Mijas, near Malaga.

Hoopoe - One of three seen today
An early morning visit to Guadalhorce, near Malaga Airport was exactly the right thing to do today, with temperatures reaching a very uncomfortable 40C here in Mijas late afternoon! Having said that the reserve was definitely 'Club Med' for mosquitoes at this time in the morning as I got completely mullered, having forgot to get the repellent on before leaving.

Monk Parakeet - Surprisingly quiet!
The relatively quiet walk from the church to the foot bridge was soon interrupted, not only by a Antonov cargo plane taking off, billowing black smoke from the four engines as she lifted, but by the usual racket from the Monk Parakeets. Lots of House Martins zooming around the bridge and mingled in a couple of Red-rumped Swallow. A little higher up a good number of Common Swift, plus the odd Barn Swallow and Cetti's Warbler calling from the reeds. Just as I was about to move on a lovely sight of three Night Heron, as they passed overhead.

Turtle Dove in the bright sunlight!
One or two Sardinian Warblers within the scrub areas and the constant Zitting Cisticola calling overhead as I made my way towards Rio Viejo. The sun was just beginning to gain height and silhouetted against the backdrop of the sky a Turtle Dove perched up!

White-headed Duck - A speciality at Guadalhorce
Stopping off at the Del Rio Viejo and Laguna de la Casilla hides, which lead along the track towards the sea watch point it was apparent that Black-winged Stilt had completely overrun the pools. Many noisy pairs and several young scurrying around. The only small wader of note a Green Sandpiper, this along with seven Little Egret sitting up in the trees. On the pools at least five White-headed Duck, a speciality here, along with a single Pochard and double figure Little Grebe.

Slender Billed Gull - My first for the site!
The old river was also alive with Black-winged Stilt, a single Ringed Plover looking totally outnumbered. On the small island a group of birds at rest included a stunning full summer plumage Little Gull, (2) Audouins Gull, and singles of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern. However, a gull feeding in the shallows turned out to be a Slender Billed Gull, my first for Guadalhorce!

Bee-eater - One of seven today
The beach walk was rather quiet and I didn't bother to check out the plover nesting areas, preferring to leave them in peace. As I turned back onto the reserve a group of three Bee-eaters were sitting up nicely, offering a good photo opportunity. The path leading along to the Laguna Grande was alive with Greenfinch and Goldfinch, at least twenty of each and feeding on the ground a nice Hoopoe.

Spotted Flycatcher
The Laguna Grande was reasonably quiet and to be honest seemed a little high on water. A lone Greater Flamingo, looking quite forlorn against the backdrop of the bright sunlight. Ringed Plover, Avocet and Little-ringed Plover the only waders to be found and four Collared Doves perched up, along with a half dozen Spotless Starling. The walk back to the church produced a couple of Serin and a Spotted Flycatcher was my final record of the day!

ID the species!! Answers on a postcard...

Greater Flamingo on the Laguna Grande