Thursday, 25 February 2010

Rio Guadalhorce, Laguna Dulce and El Torcal, Malaga Province.

A good morning but the weather puts pay to the afternoon.

Laguna Dulce, Campillos.
I drove down to Benalmadena to collect two very nice ladies, Viv and Margaret for a days birding, we started the day at the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve near Malaga. The first stop was at the river mouth where the Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) seen earlier in the week was still present along with a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). A nice female Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) perched on the Giant Reed debris allowing Margaret her first chance to use the camera. Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) where also on the beach and Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) out on the sea.
A foggy Torcal.
We then moved around to the main reserve picking up a very pale pale morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), we then made our way to the hide looking over the main pool where we saw our first White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) both the males with their bright blue bills and the less colourful females. Other ducks included Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and several Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). White blobs could be seen through the tamarisk scrub and were identified as Spoonbills (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) on the margins of the lagoon there were good numbers of Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a few Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta). 
More foggy Torcal.
We had a look on the long pool from the hide picking up good numbers of all five expected Hirundine species, Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta). We then walked back towards the car and headed off north to wards Campillos and to Laguna Dulce where we bumped into the Axarquia Bird Group. On the lagoon there were a few Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), more Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Northern Pintail, Mallard and large numbers of Hirundines.
We stopped and had some lunch and while we were there the heavens opened and it did not stop all afternoon. We drove up to El Torcal and straight into low cloud and heavier rain. The only birds seen here was a pair of Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia). We spent the rest of the afternoon taking a slow drive back across country to malaga seeing very little except for a few plants and a very nice group of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). Plants included White Hoop Petticoat Narcissus (Narcissus cantabricus) and Dull Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca).

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