Tuesday 30 March 2010

Malaga Airport, Laguna Dulce and Home.

Dennis and Ian's trip, Day one. 
Plus getting the much missed Lieca scope back!!!

Today was a double visit to Malaga Airport day, firstly to meet Andy Mounteford off his plane as he was carrying my Lieca Scope which had been taken back to the UK by good friends John and Sharon on their earlier visit. It was very kindly sent back to Lieca by the lads at INFOCUS in the midland even though I did not purchase the scope from them. If this is the service you get when you do not buy the goods from them, then I can imagine that they are a good place to get your kit from. Then to complete the scopes trip, Andy very kindly offered to collect it from John and returned it to me (luckily I have some very helpful friends). Unfortunately Andy is going back to the UK at the end of the month and will be missed.
Andy and I made our way to the mouth of the Rio Guadalhorce for a quick hour or so birding. On the sea we picked up Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and on the beach there were a few Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba). We then walked down the bank to the bridge which is the main entrance to the reserve, on the way we added Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a nice male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus).
I then dropped Andy off at the train station and continued on to pick up Dennis Coutts (from Shetland) and Ian Cummings (from St Andrews) both making a return visit for some more Spanish birding, their easyjet flight was a bit late but we were soon on our way up towards Campillos to have a look at Laguna Dulce. On the way we stopped briefly at the Rio Grande and picked up the first of many Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Mallard, Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Little Egret and  Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
The second detour on the way was at the raptor watch point at Sierra Teba and the gorge. Several Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) could be heard calling as the chased along the cliff face and male Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) was picked up high over head. From the gorge the female Bonelli’s was seen and good numbers of House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) were picked up and on the drive to the lagoon several Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) jangled their calls from wires they shared with newly arrived Woodchat Shrikes.
At Laguna Dulce there were good numbers of Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), a small flock of Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), a couple of Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a single Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), two female White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and masses of both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) overhead. On the drive to the house we picked up a pair of Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) on an area of flooded field and at least two female Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus). Once at the house Dennis and Ian settled in before I took them down town for a meal and picked them up later.

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