Tuesday 7 December 2010

Laguna Herrera, Antequera, Malaga Province.

Silent but deadly, a Lifer for my Spanish List.

Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus).
As usual I called in at the laguna on my way over to the hotel for today's walk. I know that it has been raining but I was surprised by the amount of water that was about, several of the local fields were flooded and actually held more birds than the lagoon. On the top end of the nearest field to the track I picked up a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) as it flew up from the margins, 70 or so Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) were also on the muddy edges and at least 200 Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) were out on the water. A bit further along the track I again viewed the flooded field from the raised back and added at least 3 male Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), a small number of Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope) and about 20 Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina). Also on the water were a couple of thousand Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
On the laguna there were 6+ Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a couple of Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), about 20 Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) and 2/3 Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina). As I watched these birds a pair of White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) drifted over and landed in the flooded field and a Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) flashed along the track chasing off all the White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) feeding on the shoreline. 
Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus).
Other birds in this area included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
I then drove further around the tracks towards the motorway and stopped to look at a small flock of about 10 Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and noticed in the back ground a huge flock of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) which must have numbered over 250 birds. Whilst I was watching these birds a shape flew in very low and dropped down amongst the Skylark flock, flushing them and the Calandars up. It was a magnificent Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus), it sat on the road side for a few seconds allowing me to get some OKish shots before it flew off a short distance. I thought the bird had missed its target but when it flew a small bird was in its left talon, it landed in the road side ditch some 30 meters further on. It was unfortunaley time to go to work or I would have like some more views of the bird.


Bob Wright - The Axarquia Birder said...

Another great blog Mick; much enjoyment reading same. Like you, I observed more on the flooded fields on the opposite side of the track last Sunday(see blog)but not the Short-eared Owl or the larks. Mind you, our weather was none too good. Also interesting to read about your Telford exploits as I undertook my "Ringing" training in Wellington (usually on the Wreking or near Chris Whittles's family farm) under Julian Langford - not sure whether he is still about or not - when we lived in Stafford.

Bob wright

LojaWldlife said...

Hi Bob, I did some ringing with Julian but mainly at the sugar beet factory at Alscot. Nice chap when he was in a good mood and as far as I am aware he is still about.