A pleasant morning with the Axarquia Bird Group.
On the way over to meet Bob Wright, Andy Patterson and the rest of the group I made a short detour out on to the fields North of Antequera. On one of the many tracks that cross the area I picked up 3 Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) two males and a juv female. The one male bird was as bright and well marked as I have ever seen a real cracker. Whist watching the Harriers a large flock of Larks was flushed, most of the birds were Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), up wards of 200, along with Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis). Also seen were Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). I them continued on towards the meeting point but got caught in a blockage as the electricity people were hoisting a new set of cables between two pylons, one either side of the motorway. I arrived and then so did the rest of the group who had also been stopped. After a chat on the car park we made our way around to the Lagoon. Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Lesser-black backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and White Wagtails were seen on the dried out pools and 30+ Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) on the fields on the approach road. Out on the main lagoon a few Greater Flamingos (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), 4+ Common Crane (Grulla Común / Grus grus), 50+ Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) and hundreds of Gulls. We next visited the hides around the rear of the centre where Quite a few Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), several Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) were all the waders seen, along with Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). On the banks and in the marginal vegetation good numbers of Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) were feeding and a single Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) was picked up wandering the rocks that lined on of the islands. On the far side of the pools several Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were seen and a single Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). We then moved back towards the car park picking up a pair of Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) on the way. We moved on around the side of the lake heading south and stopped at a view point part way. It gave a great view out over the fields and marsh that were between the road and the Lagoon, but today there were few birds. A little further on a sizable (250+) flock of Common Cranes was seen and unfortunately flushed because of the door slamming which went on. The birds settled again but quite a bit further away, we still had good views. I then continued on to the Lagoons around Campillos but saw very little except for another closer group of Cranes which I managed a few record shots of.
Photographs from the top: Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Common Crane (Grulla Común / Grus grus).