🇪🇸☀️22C Sunday 22nd April 2018
~ My first visit to Spain this year staying at my buddy's villa in Mijas. I had planned to go up to Sierra Loja today, but with low cloud and poor visibility at first light and a 90km drive, I thought it was a bit of a risk heading off up a mountain. Instead after breakfast, I decided to stay closer to home and drag Dave out for a visit to Guadalhorce, my favourite local reserve near Malaga Airport.
|Record shot of Western Subalpine Warbler|
As we walked alongside the Rio Guadalhorce towards the footbridge that takes you across to the reserve there were at least 50 or so House Martins
, which nest here each year under the bridge structure. Passing over the bridge a Hoopoe
and from the reeds below Cetti's Warbler
and Reed Warbler
before a Nightingale
also broke into song. Before continuing on I noticed some movement in the scrub and managed to obtain a record shot of the above Western Subalpine Warbler
which never quite broke full cover before flying off.
|Booted Eagle over Guadalhorce|
Prior to heading down to the reserve itself, we decided to take a stroll along the opposite side of the river which takes you under the main A7 autovia, where a group of Rock Doves
were in residence. There were plenty of House Sparrows
to be found too but from within the group I managed to connect with two Spanish Sparrows
. Zitting Cisticola
was a constant companion zitting away overhead, occasionally landing for a breather and then seven Bee-eaters
passed straight through, calling as they went. Just as I was contemplating the fact that there weren't many Monk Parakeets
around today six obligingly landed nearby but were sent on their way by a Booted Eagle
passing overhead. This must have spooked a Wryneck
too, which lifted, unfortunately disappearing over the rock bank and out of sight.
|Curlew Sandpiper nearing full summer plumage|
Heading onto the reserve and at the first hide at Laguna de la Casilla a Western Bonelli's Warbler
was singing for a short while. Four Pochard
, two White-headed Duck
, single Gadwall
and three Little Egrets
before I moved on to the del Rio Viejo. Here a dozen or so Black-winged Stilt
, some already on nests, Wood Sandpiper
, Little-ringed Plover
and Curlew Sandpiper
, which was almost in full summer plumage!
|Wood Sandpiper at del Rio Viejo|
At the Old River, where the water levels were quite high compared to what I normally encounter a further selection of waders which included Kentish Plover
. At the far side two Audouin's Gulls
at rest, along with a solitary Sandwich Tern
. When I reached the sea I paused for a while at Aves Marinas sea-watch tower, pretty rough seas today but I picked out a single Balearic Shearwater
and there seemed to be a constant passage of Terns
, almost entirely Sandwich
but at least two Gull-billed
|Whimbrel along the beach area|
I took the beach walk past the restricted nesting area, where several Crested Larks
could be found, a solitary Whimbrel
dropping in briefly but not a single Kentish Plover
, which nests here.
|Little-ringed Plover ~ Laguna Grande|
My final stop was at the Laguna Grande but with lots of water currently covering the scrapes little chance of seeing many waders at close range. That said a Little-ringed Plover
and Common Sandpiper
dropped in for a short while. At distance a couple of Black-necked Grebes
and in among the many Gulls two Slender-billed
, a regular here.
|A shy Whinchat|
The final bird of an excellent visit was an elusive Whinchat
, but I did manage to capture one image of him watching me, watching him!
There were a number of butterflies on the wing today but just the three species noted: Clouded Yellow