Tuesday, October 24, 2023

πŸ“– πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ ~ Spain Autumn 2023 Update 2

 πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ  Tuesday 24th October 2023 🌀️  21C ~ Wind W@ 10MPH ~ A few hours at Zapata site details of which can be found HERE 

I could easily see the effects of the long summer drought at Zapata. The scrubland was mostly dead and the surrounding fields looked parched, despite the recent rains. That said the ford through the Rio Guadalhorce to the village was running well although not too deep and the reedbeds looked healthy enough. 

You can drive around the dirt tracks at Zapata but I like to walk. Above is my eBird track and as you can see Zapata lies very close to the runways at Malaga Airport. Frankly, if this was a British Airport you'd get arrested for just being that close!

Common Buzzards always look more vivid in the strong Spannish sunlight.

As I walked down towards the river seven Monk Parakeets passed noisily overhead and as I watched them pass a Common Buzzard drifted over. There were a few Serin in the treetops, along with Chiffchaff, Blackcaps and Sardinian Warbler. Stonechats appeared to be everywhere today and I gave up counting when I reached twenty. 

Crimson-speckled Flunky

Initially, I would have headed straight for the ford, but instead, I crossed the remaining scrub and accidentally scared a pair of Iberian Hares, always a treat to see. There were a few butterflies on the wing including Bath White and Swallowtail, plus one of the more common moths for the area interestingly named a Crimson-speckled Flunky. Groups of Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and a single Zitting Cisticola were also encountered by the time I reached the airport perimeter.

A Booted Eagle eyes me up!

As I reached the reedbeds adjacent to the airport two Hoopoes suddenly took flight, likely due to the Booted Eagle that was passing overhead. 

Common Waxbills are common at Zapata

The reedbeds were particularly quiet and despite hearing a couple of Bluethroats calling they never showed themselves. A small group of Common Waxbills were feeding along the reed edge and a Cetti's Warbler called from deep inside.

White Wagtail at Zapata

When I reached the ford a couple of White Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and a Kingfisher, which unfortunately I disturbed. 

A Common Sandpiper keeps an eye out.

Also of note were Common and Green Sandpiper, (4) Black-winged Stilt, (3) Little Grebe, (3) Little Egret, (2) Moorhen and (3) Grey Heron

Possible Epaulet Skimmer

There were several Dragonflies around today and after what seemed an age a few finally settled. I'm hopeful that one in particular may be my first Epaulet Skimmer but I await confirmation.

Long Skimmer Dragonfly ~ gorgeous blue eyes.

Also noted were Migrant Hawker and Long Skimmer, both of which I've seen here at Zapata before. 

Spotted Flycatcher ~ A first this autumn

The walk back to the car included (2) Red-legged Partridge, which scurried along in front of me, (2) Crested Larks and also produced counts of (19) Barn Swallows, (3) Crag Martin and my first Spotted Flycatcher of this autumn's visit.