Thursday, 18 February 2010

Rio Guadalhorce, Malaga Province.

Collecting some good friends from Malaga Airport.

We travelled down to Malaga about mid day ready to pick John and Sharon up from the Airport later in the evening. While Jayne went and had a look around Plaza Mayor I spent a couple of hours at the Guadalhorce River Mouth and Pools. The destruction on the beach was amazing; the water had carried massive amounts of debris and rubbish down stream and washed it out to sea. The tide had then washed it all back on to the beaches, piling it up 2 or 3 metres deep, several animal carcases were floating around in the shallows, including cattle, goats, sheep and several dogs.
Well that was the bad news, now for the birds, there were literally hundreds of Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) feeding in the muddy waters at the mouth of the river. A great many Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) were floating around further out to sea with several Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) and a single winter plumage Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). On the beach on the opposite side of the river there were single Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) plus a small number of Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), all shuffling around between the tons of reed canes lying about. I then moved up to the reserve and as I was crossing the bridge the first of at least 4 Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) flew out of the Eucalyptus trees, this one was a very dark phase bird. Later I would see another bird which was lighter in colour and 2 pale phases in the air together. On the main poolthere were a couple of White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), several Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and loads of Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata). Then 2 Peregrine Falcons (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) flew in together and landed on the dead tree on the opposite side of the lagoon. The one bird was the standard immature but the second was the northern race bird (Calidus) mentioned on Andy Pattersons Birding the Costa blog which caused a few problems for several birds. The bird was much sandier than the standard bird and the head much paler. Both birds then flew off in the direction of Malaga and were soon replaced by some of the many Cormorants using the trees to roost and dry off. The long pool was very quiet, just a few hirundines whizzing low over the water and loads of Stripe-necked / Spanish Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa). I had a quick look from the hump but a gain nothing new was added except for a load but well hidden Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
I then went and picked Jayne up and we had a late Menu del Dia at one of the places on the industial estate near the Airport and then went and picked up John and Sharon.
Photographs from the top: Guadalhorce beach, Dead Animals, White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).

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