Saturday, 26 March 2011

Laguna Herrera and El Torcal, Malaga Province.

Back to Antequera area.

I started the morning with a visit to Laguna Herrera near Antequera, I first stopped at one of the gate ways over looking the flooded fields to the right side of the main Lagoon. Straight away I picked out Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra). On some flooded areas in the palm fields opposite there were good numbers of migrating Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) of at least three different subsp, along with White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra). On the main lagoon there were 40 or so Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), more Black-winged Stilts, a nice flock of around a dozen Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), a pair of Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). I continued along the track till I could view the other end of the floods where there were around 200 more Greater Flamingo's, several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) and on the wires a couple of Southern Grey Shrikes (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). Other birds seen here included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). Just as I was leaving the sight I picked up a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) quartering the fields, while I was watching this bird it flushed up a pair of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) the male was in cracking plumage.
I then went up to the Hotel to meet today's guests, after a short while we left for or hike around El Torcal. We started out on the yellow trail and I soon started to notice a few spikes of Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) and the odd Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys Lutea), along with more usual wildflowers. Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) were all heard singing from the tops of the limestone crags and Cirl (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) were also seen. Good numbers of Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) were picked out through the fog, including two head butting males clashing horns on the thinnest of ledges. Other species seen during the walk included Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), a pair of Ring Ouzel (Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major).
On the way down I made a couple of stops and added Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina), Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca subsp fusca) and Small Early Purple Orchid (Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis) to the list, several hundred of the latter were covering a steep road side bank.
Photographs from the top: Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) and Small Early Purple Orchid (Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis).

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