Friday, April 14, 2017

Diary Update #1 Spain 2017

๐Ÿ”† Friday 14th April 2017 ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ  ~ Arrived at the mates villa in Mijas around 10:30pm last night local time after an hour delay on the flight from Birmingham with Monarch!

A nice shower, a glass of wine, a bite to eat on the terrace around midnight and It wasn't long before I remembered why I love this place so much! The moon up above the Mediterranean casting a glorious sheen on the water, a Nightingale singing in the scrub below and then to top it all a Red-necked Nightjar calling as it flew through, stopping somewhere close-by and continuing to call.

I was up an hour before sunrise and down at Guadalhorce just in time to be eaten alive by the mosquitos! After parking at the church I took the short walk across to the reserve. First bird, a Great Reed Warbler grating away in the reeds that run alongside the Guadalhorce. I paused at the bridge crossing, making out at least a dozen House Martin in the now improving light, several Grey Heron silhouetted further down the river, plus a Cetti's Warbler calling from below.

Spoonbill on Laguna de la Casilla
From here around to the first hide at Laguna de la Casilla is literally Club-Med for mossies.... Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, a couple of Nightingale in full song and the inevitable Zitting Cisticola (Fantail Warbler). The laguna was reasonably quite to start with, a couple of Pochard and at least twenty Black-winged Stilt, over 100 today in total I reckon with many nests! On to the del Rio Viejo and here four Spoonbills feeding, three Little Egrets and a single Cattle Egret, which flew through. Lots of Common Swift passage, in fact for the whole of my stay today and several Barn Swallows also passing thru'.

Kentish Plover ~ A regular nesting bird at Guadalhorce
Moving on to the Rio Viejo, the Old River, and here a good selection of waders which included: Avocet, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Grey, Little, Ringed and Kentish Plover. On the opposite side of the track a lot of cutting back has taken place, quite severe in places and so it was quite easy to pick out the odd Crested Lark. Amazingly it wasn't until I was almost at the de Aves Marinas sea-watch area that I noticed my first Monk Parakeets, which are normally marauding the reserve in packs as soon as you arrive. Four Sandwich Terns was the best I could pick out in the low harsh sunlight across the water.

Bee-eater ~ In the morning light
I took the beach walk past the restricted nesting areas but the fencing looks like it's took a real battering over the winter and a lot of it is in need of repair. Several Kentish Plover scurrying around, gorgeous looking Wheatear and a couple of Bee~eaters before I re-entered the reserve to the north.

Wheatear ~ Along my beach walk!
My final stop was at the Laguna Grande but with lots of water currently covering the scrapes little chance of seeing any waders at close range. In fact despite most of the reserve getting a spring makeover the vegetation around the hide had not, thus restricting viewing somewhat. The four Spoonbill I'd seen earlier were now roosting here and every so often the Black-winged Stilts were forced into action by Yellow-legged Gulls carrying out reconnaissance on the nesting areas. Three Slender-billed Gulls, two summer plumage Black-necked Grebes out towards the middle and a single Mediterranean Gull were other nice finds.

Guadalhorce a good place to find ~Slender-billed Gull
My final stop was at the Laguna Escondida and here the majority of White-headed Ducks were to be found along with two drake Red-crested Pochards and from the rear of the laguna a Little Bittern in flight. Serin on route back to the car but It wasn't until I arrived back at the church that I spotted my first Red-rumped Swallows, with two overhead.

White-headed Duck ~ A Guadalhorce speciality!
After lunch down in Fuengirola we spent the evening on the terrace watching some excellent visible migration which included: Three Pallid Swift among the many Common passing through, plus Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Bee~eaters, Kestrel and I seriously hope that the two Red-rumped Swallows which are now hanging around the villa are not thinking of nesting against the new exterior paintwork!!

More images from today......

A dozen or so Painted Lady!
Red-crested Pochard


Kentish Plover