A shopping and birding day.
Jayne and I set off down to the coast to get the shopping for over the holidays while we have still got the hire car as we are not sure when the Fiesta will be back with us. The first stop was at the massive DIY store Leroy Merlin which is conveniently just opposite the Guadalhorce Nature reserve. I just fancied a look at the beach on the way further down the coast and was quite pleased with the birds seen on this very brief visit. The first things picked up were three separate flocks of Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) with a total of 22 birds between them, also seen were large numbers of Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). With a quick scan along the shoreline I added 6 Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), several Sanderlings (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), a Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and a few Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) which were diving in the waves. A small number of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) fished further out and a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) was also trying hard for a meal from the rocks just off the watch point. The only birds noted over the reserve were a single female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which was being mobbed by a flock of about 50 Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
I then dropped Jayne off in the centre of Fuengirola and then continued further on along the coast to try and find some reported Purple Sandpipers (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritime), eventually I located two birds a little further along the coast road than I had seen them in the previous year. I had just got set up and had taken some not so great shots when two more birders turned up from the opposite direction and the birds were flushed. They relocated further out on some rocks but eventually move back to the large blocks of concrete where they had been first. Again I was just setting up and a police helicopter flew over the site very low and flushed them again and that was to be the last I saw of them that morning. The only other new birds for the day were Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
The coast line along the stretch was covered in white patches of Sea or Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritime) and dotted with the yellow flowers of both Seaside Daisy (Asteriscus maritimus) and Rock Marigold (Calendula suffruticosa), adding some nice colour at this time of the year.
Photographs from the top: Purple Sandpipers (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritime) x2, Sea or Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritime) and Rock Marigold (Calendula suffruticosa).