Friday, 9 July 2010

Rio Guadalhorce, Malaga Province and Zafarraya area, Granada Province.

A better than expected visit.

After dropping David and Pauline off at Malaga airport I went and had a quick look around Guadalhorce Nature reserve. First of all I had a look at a small canal just outside the airport where I picked up several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). Along the side of the canal several pairs of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) were nesting in the soil banks and feeding over the near by waste ground amongst the many Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
I then had a run to the mouth of the river and had a walk along the beach to the entrance of the reserve, on the sea there were a few Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii). As I started to walk up the track into the reserve I had one quick look back at the sea just in time to see two largish Red/Orange billed terns flying off east, unfortunately I could not get the bill size well enough to Id them.
On the main lagoon there were 3 Spoonbills (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) feeding on the far shore, which made a change from seeing them roosting on one of the islands and 5 Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota picofina / Larus genei) were an unexpected find. Good numbers of Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) fished around the margins and out on the water White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) all dived regularly amongst the many dabbling Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and single Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata).
On the muddier areas there were more Black-winged Stilts, a single Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and several immature Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava). I then walked towards the bridge and back to the car along the main river picking up several groups of noisy Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), European Bee-eaters, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a nice Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides). The biggest disappointment was that I did not see a single Dragonfly whilst I was on the main reserve.
We came home via Torre-del-Mar and passed through the Vega de Zafarraya. On the way through we got some great views of a male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) right at the side of the road, Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).

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