Thursday, 16 June 2011

Laguna Herrera and Torcal, Malaga Province.

A good mix of species.

I again popped into the Laguna on the way over to the Hotel for work, the numbers of birds which I had expected to drop off had actually risen dramatically. There were at least 600 Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) spread between the three waters, with most being on the first flooded field. They were seen along with a flock of 30 Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), around 150 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), several Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) but most surprising were a pair of Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which were wading around in the shallow water.
On the main Laguna there were large numbers of adult and immature Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), more Avocets, Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and three male White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) but no sign of the females or young of the last visit. I briefly got out of the car to have a look at the second flooded field from the bank and was aware of hundreds, if not thousands of newly emerged Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) amongst the grass, along with a few more mature red insects. On the second flood there were more Flamingo’s and lots of Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). In the reedy ditches Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) and Melodious Warblers (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) were again seen, along with Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). In the air there were the usual Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) which were joined today by large numbers of the large Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba).
I had run out of time so I went up to the hotel to meet David and the four ladies for today’s hike which was at El Torcal. The walk for this morning was the basic yellow route which passes through some of the nice limestone gullies and formations, on the way around we had some cracking views of the local Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) including a young male which spent some time nose rubbing with David’s dog Lilly. Birds included the regular Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). Two Orchids were seen on the trail, the commonest by far was the nice pink flowered Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) but I did see just a single spike of the Sawfly Orchid (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera). Butterflies included Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
A couple of interesting Wildflowers were also noted along the walk, on the rocks the endemics included Linaria anticaria and Saxifaga biternata. We also recorded Spanish Mallow (Malva Hispanica), Shrubby Jasmine (Jasminum fruticans), Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia baetica) and Mountain Catchfly (Silene andryalifolia). A couple of Ocellated Lizards (Lacerta lepida) were also seen on the tracks, including a really bright large adult.
Photographs from the top: Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica, Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), Linaria anticaria and Saxifaga biternata.

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