Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Birding Spain ~ Tuesday Penultimate Day

I did consider the option of driving back up to Tarifa and La Janda on my last full day here but to be honest I was getting pretty drained by now, with little sleep and some intense birding, things were beginning to catch up!

Booted Eagle ~ Across the river!
That said I was down at the Guadalhorce at first light and having recorded all of the regular waders during my previous visits I decided to concentrate a little more on passerines for this particular stay. My first notable of the day was a Booted Eagle perched up across the western canal of the Guadalhorce as I approached the footbridge and of course the usual Monk Parakeets were already marauding, I estimated over fifty birds. Spotless Starlings were five times that amount though!

Zitting Cisticola (Fan-tailed Warbler)
As I made my way along the Rio Viejo (the old river route), flushing four Red-legged Partridge a couple of Stonechat were perched up and a Zitting Cisticola was feeding in the reeds below. A flash of red put me onto a Common Redstart and while watching this a Pied Flycatcher low in the canopy, there's certainly been plenty of these during this visit.

White-headed Duck ~ A speciality of Guadalhorce
My first extended stop of the day was at the wader pool, which held a couple of White-headed Duck and the usual selection of waders: Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Little-ringed Plover, Ruff, Greenshank, Snipe and I'd just spotted a Little Stint when three Flamingo flew in scattering all! Both Cattle Egret and Little Egret were perched up in the surrounding trees but two birds tucked away just behind turned out to be juvenile Turtle Dove's, once I'd got the scope on them!

OK ~ So not the best image but hey its a Bluethroat!
The reeds directly in front of the hide appeared full of activity and after close scrutiny produced Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff. Then from nowhere a small bird dropped onto the mud, a very nice adult Bluethroat. As if that wasn't enough excitement a second, a 1st winter juvenile suddenly popped up, then abruptly departed!

1st winter Bluethroat - Fortunately camera at the ready!
After leaving the comfort of the hide I walked up to the sea-watch point but to be honest at this time of day its simply impossible, with the harsh sunlight low and directly in your face. I decided to forgo the beach walk, too many nuddies already for this time of day and I hadn't had my breakfast yet so instead I chose to retrace my steps, this time with the sun to my back.

Woodchat Shrike ~ Quite a favourite on mine!
On the scrub below Crested Lark, Hoopoe and a Woodchat Shrike before I turned to concentrate on the old river itself. Once again all the previously recorded waders with the addition of Wood Sandpiper and Bar-tailed Godwit. Gulls mostly included Yellow-legged and Black-headed but unfortunately I've not managed the usual Audouin's Gull on this visit, or indeed Slender-billed Gull, which I've recorded here in the past.

Bar-tailed Godwit on the Laguna Grande
Finally a walk around to the Laguna Grande produced Red-rumped Swallow, Common Swift, Sand Martin, House Martin and then excellent views of an Osprey, before it headed off towards the airport. Additions to the list on the Laguna were: Dunlin,  Turnstone,  Sanderling, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover and two juvenile Shelduck.

A few more images of the day......


Iberian Hare

Kentish Plover

Banded Groundling

African Grass Blue

Broad Scarlet