With the temperature reaching 40C once again my last few days of this visit have been spent hanging around the villa grounds. However, on Saturday I wanted to do a little reconnaissance on an area of Zapata that I've seen mentioned in various birding reports. The area in question is actually on the opposite side of Malaga airport from the reserve at Guadalhorce, and also forms part of the Rio Guadalhorce.
Juvenile Cattle Egret at Zapata
It took a little finding but eventually after a bit of perseverance we came across the area after crossing a ford! Immediately on arrival a Night Heron took flight and a Yellow (Blue-headed) Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae and Little-ringed Plover were feeding on the peripheral.
Booted Eagle over the villa..
After a brief walk around the area it was apparent that this is excellent habitat, even being so close to the runway and backing onto an industrial area. We drove several of the tracks and had many Crested Lark, including juveniles, House Sparrow and came across a few juvenile Cattle Egrets too. Three Bee-eaters also made an appearance and a young Stonechat sat on the wires! Not really doing it justice on this visit I look forward to future visits, particularly in the spring!
Booted Eagle from the terrace..
I've not visited Dave before in June, preferring Spring or Autumn migration and with the temperatures soaring at this time of year I think from a birding perspective a wise decision is to stick to that. Having said that it's been an excellent visit, in particular to see Dave and the villa refurbishment, which looks stunning and also to visit some new areas. As usual the terrace birding has been brilliant with Crossbills in the morning, hundreds of Common Swifts in the daytime and Owls at night. Other birds for the terrace list included: Red-rumped Swallow, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Oriole and Bee-eater. I'm already looking forward to my visit here in September for the raptor migration down in the Straights!