Saturday, 30 April 2011

Laguna Herrera and Ronoral Pine Woods, Antequera, Malaga Province.

More White-headed Ducks and the 31st Orchid species of the year.

The weather was not great but I thought that I would have a very quick look at the Laguna as I had left home later than usual so time was tight. I had a brief look at the gate looking over the flooded fields and picked up the first of the Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), along with a few Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and more surprisingly about 20 Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) which were still lingering on from the winter. Further along the track on the main lagoon there were a couple of nicely plumaged Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) picking their way through the mud with a couple of pairs of Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). The Great Reed Warblers (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) were singing (well rattling and gratting) from the growing reed beds and from the stream on the side of the track Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) could all be heard. Out on the water around 50 Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) were feeding with the odd Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and the male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) seen a couple of days ago. On the far side of the barn I was very pleased to find another 4 male White-headed Ducks, along with single female, it would be very nice to find that these birds were breeding on this site as it is under threat from the proposed high speed rail test track and they may help with the case for it's relocation. A couple of cracking Black Terns (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) were hawking insects over the water along with 10 or so of the more regular Gull-billeds (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
Other birds seen around the area were Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
The next stop was the Hotel to meet up with the three ladies for todays hike up through the Pine woods at Ronoral in the hills above Antequera. This is a nice fairly level walk which passes through several diferent habitats. The first area is open low thyme grassland, here we saw several Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), a small flock of around 8 Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and heard singing Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli). Wildflowers included Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Tragopogon porrifolius, Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Blue Woodruff (Asperula arvensis), Field Gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus) and Linaria hirta. We then spent most of the walk in the pine woods adding Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator). In the shaded parts of the wood there were still a few orchids in flower including Woodcock Orchid (Flor de la becada / Ophrys Scolopax), Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) and the 31st species for the year Bee Orchid (Flor de abeja / Ophrys apifera). Along the eastern side of the site there are some areas of Oak woodlands which we pass through in this area we added Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and just as we got back to the car we heard a singing Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus). The masses of Pink Butterfly Orchids (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea) seen a couple of weeks ago were over with but there was still a couple of Champagne Orchids (Orchis Champagneuxii) in good condition.
Photographs from the top: Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) and the Ladies.

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