Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Rio Velez and Fuengirola Harbour, Malaga Province.

Spanish lifer in Fuengirola.

Jayne and I went down to the coast via Salar, Alhama to Torre-del-Mar, I then dropped Jayne off at the shopping centre and headed to Nerja to collect some new glasses. I then returned to pick Jayne up via Rio Velez, which was unrecognisable, since my last visit the river has washed away most of the reed beds and is now filling the whole of the channel. Without much cover to be found the birds were thin on the ground, the single Greylag Goose (Ansar Común / Anser anser) seen on my last visit was skulking around under some flattened Giant reed along with a single Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), these were the only duck species seen. I quickly made my way down to the beach hoping to find a few more species, several Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) rushed around the shore line along with a single Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and out on the sea I managed to track down a winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), 100s of Black-heads (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a few Yellow-legs (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). A couple of Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) flew out of the river and followed several Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) off east along the coast.
I decided to then walk back up the side of the swollen river and picked up Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis). The remaining time was spent trying to catch a puppy with a length of drainage pipe stuck on it's head. I assisted a Finnish lady trying to help the dog but it escaped, a phone call later in the afternoon from this lady said that she and her husband had managed to catch the dog and remove the pipe, good news!
We then decided that the time was going well so we would kill two birds with one stone and drive the coast down as far as Fuengirola, where we had planned to go in a few days time. We had some lunch and then walked out into the harbour to look for a Common Guillemot (Arao Común / Uria aalge) which had been reported a few days earlier on Andy Patterson’s Birding the Costa Blog. The bird was first seen at the far end of the main channel, I then retuned to the car to get the scope and made my way back to try and get some shots. By the time I returned the bird had vanished. I decide to walk along the outer sea wall to the mouth of the harbour but did not see any sign; on the walk back I again found the bird amongst the fishing boats and took some photographs. Whilst I was at the docks I picked up Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). On the way home Jayne spotted a nice pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which drifted over the motorway near Guadlhorce, Malaga.
Photographs from the top: Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and two shots of the Common Guillemot (Arao Común / Uria aalge).

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