Sunday, September 25, 2016

Birding Spain ~ Zapata 1st Attempt Sunday!

Having only discovered Zapata, this little gem of a site right next to Malaga airport earlier in June by reading the various blogs and Facebook posts from the AndalucĂ­a birding community, my first in-depth visit took place in the pitch black on Sunday morning. I must say that driving off-road in the complete darkness around a site I'm not overly familiar with can be a little daunting and with a ford to navigate, even more so!

Another early arrival over Zapata!
Why in the pitch black I hear you say? Well, Red-necked Nightjars to be precise as this is a known roosting area. I began about an hour before sunrise, naturally using my headlamps for the first glimpse of any red eyes tucked away in the dirt. As I reached the ford a couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons were standing along the edge, these together with Little-ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper, which didn't seem that bothered about my untimely appearance.

Arrival of Swiss Air into Malaga at dawn!
As I scoured the many tracks more birds were scurrying along, mainly Crested Lark and the odd Rabbit darted across my path. Being so close to Malaga Airport the first aircraft had begun to arrive, you are literally meters from the flare path but try as I might no joy with the Nightjars! A little too late in season perhaps?

Another Pied Flycatcher for the album.
With the sky brightening to the east I decided to park up at the ford and go walkabout. It was actually a real treat with Little Egret and Cattle Egret moving in droves overhead, more Pied Flycatchers and even Waxbills, another introduced species and spreading through Spain.

Greenshank ~ Not too bothered my presence!
Cetti's Warblers are plentiful here and Kingfishers too, a couple of Greenshank were noisily drifting up and down the river. Sardinian Warbler, Serin and many Spotless Starling but as the sun broke through it was time to call it a morning, so back to the villa for breakfast.