Thursday, 14 April 2011

Laguna Herrera and Ronoral, Antequera, Malaga Province.

Co-operative birds for the camera (made a nice change).

After a slightly later start from home than usual I arrived at the Laguna and the light was good so I put the camera on the side window just in case any thing wanted to play the game. As soon as I arrived a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) sat up on a reed head and sang for a good while giving me the chance to get a shot or two. Out on the flooded fields the bird numbers were well down but I saw several Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) hawking insects over the water. On the floods there were just a few Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), lots of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a couple of pairs of both Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus). Smaller birds included a cracking male Iberian race Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). Further along the track on the margins of the lagoon I found a rather confiding Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) having a battle with a worm type thing which it eventually won, this bird was just starting to show some signs of its summer plumage. Also here were a couple of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), 3x Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a nice pair of Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). Further down the lagoon there were good numbers of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) close to the track along with a few Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and a single Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). In the reed bed both Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) rattled out their songs, along with several Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
I then went up to the hotel and picked up two guests and we headed out into the woodland at Ronoral on the hills above the town. As soon as we started out I was seeing loads of Pink Butterfly Orchids (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea) in amongst the scrub along with huge numbers of Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea) and Mirror Orchids (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum). Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) were the best birds on the way around. On a bank just be fore we arrived back at the car I found a couple of hundred spikes of Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii) and a couple of Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca) and Sawfly Orchid (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera) just hanging on to a flower or two.
Photographs from the top: Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Pink Butterfly Orchids (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea).

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