Friday, 30 October 2009

Rio Guadalahorce, Malaga Province.

Birding at the coastal pools.

Having dropped Jayne off at the shopping centre I spent a couple of hours having a bimble around the reserve. I first had a look at the beach to see if there were any waders on the rocks or any interesting species out at see, the rocks were empty but out on the very calm water a group of six Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) were feeding together and a couple of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) could be seen diving out near the horizon. One of the local fishing boats was returning along the coast and was being followed by a huge cloud of gulls, these included Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser-black backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and closer to the shore a small group of Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) slipped by heading East.
I then moved to the main entrance, on way in several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) were seen from the bridge and a Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) scared me to death as it flushed up out of the dried out vegetation on the track towards the main hide. The water level in the main pool was quite low and I thought that there may be a few waders about but apart from the resident Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) they were noticeable by their absence. On the small island in the far right hand corner a couple of Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), several Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and three Spoonbills (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) were all roosting. Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) were the commonest species out on the water but they were joined by a couple of White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and some very scruffy looking male Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) still in partial eclipse plumage. The trees over the far side of the pool where the raptors usually perch were full of a hundred plus roosting Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) and a few Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). Passerines were also noted and these included Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and just as I was leaving the hide a cracking Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) flew across calling.
I then walked around to the hide in front of the long pool, nothing new was seen from here except for a passing flock of 20 or so Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) heading West.
Time was now pushing on so I started to walk back around to the car, on the way picking up Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and a single Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which flashed across the path in front of me then sat up in one of the many Shrub Tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) bushes. The last bird of the day was the Booted Eagle that I had met earlier but this time posing in one of the Eucalyptus trees by the river.
Photographs from the top: Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) Roost, Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).

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