Saturday, November 24, 2018

πŸ“– #67 ~πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ Guadalhorce, Spain 🍁

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ☀️ 20C Saturday 24th November 2018 ~ Arrived in Spain for a short stay with my buddy Dave in Mijas last night and enjoyed an excellent day today at one of my favourite local reserves.

Guadalhorce, just a short drive from the villa and adjacent to the busy Malaga airport, gravel and sand extraction have created several large artificial ponds and scrubland. Coupled with the fact that the Guadalhorce river estuary is on one of the main Mediterranean-crossing routes between Europe and Africa. You can never be quiet sure what you are going to see during each visit.

Zitting Cisticola (Fantail Warbler)
After recent heavy rains, today was glorious with a light breeze, beautiful blue skies and a temperature of around 20C. We arrived around 9am and completed a tour of the reserve visiting the four hides and also covering the stretch which runs along the beach. Parking at the local church and walking down to the bridge crossing several Black Redstarts could be seen perched on the fences, Monk Parakeets were their usual marauding selves, two White Wagtail on the track and the scrubland running alongside the river held Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler and two Zitting Cisticola (Fantail Warblers), Cetti's Warbler was also heard.

Wintering Crag Martins
Overhead several wintering Crag Martins, along with a few Barn Swallows and then the first Raptor, this one a Booted Eagle, two in total today along with a dark phase morph! An Osprey passed at distance, and during the visit (2) Marsh Harriers, (3) Kestrels and a Common Buzzard were also noted.

Booted Eagle putting on a great display!
The hides at Laguna de la Casilla and del Rio Viejo were generally quiet, save for a single Pochard several Coots and (2) Little Grebes but the surrounding scrub seemed alive with more Chiffchaffs, Sardinian Warblers, Greenfinches a couple of Serin, Blackcap singing, at least (4) Stonechat and a single juvenile Bluethroat. (3) Hoopoes, (4) Crested Larks and (5) Meadow Pipits before we arrived at the Rio Viejo (the old river).

Black-winged Stilts ~ Spooked by a passing Marsh Harrier
Here there were (4) Avocets and a dozen Black-winged Stilt, but the recent rain had taken away a lot of the wader scrape so nothing further could be found of interest. At the de Aves Marinas sea-watch area there were 1000s of Gulls on the sea but the low sun and distance made observation almost impossible.

Dark Phase Morph Booted Eagle over Guadalhorce
I took the beach walk past the fenced restricted nesting areas, obviously deserted at this time of year and the beach had plenty of debris washed out from the rivers after the heavy rains, thankfully with very little plastic to be seen!

Some of the amazing 18 Black-necked Grebe counted today
Our final stop was at the Laguna Grande hide, this is where the bulk of the waterfowl seemed to be hanging out. Good numbers of Pochard, Shoveler, plus a single White-headed Duck and an amazing count of (18) Black-necked Grebes. Two Greater Flamingo plus (5) resting Greenshank and the usual collection of Black-winged Stilts. Many Cormorants and Grey Heron were roosting, along with the odd Little Egret mingled in and there were several large flocks of mixed Spotless/Eurasian Starlings.

More Images of the Day.....

Common Buzzard

Black-winged Stilt

Booted Eagle with Starling flock