Thursday 9 June 2011

Laguna Herrera and the walk from Nacimiento to Antequera, Malaga Province.

Laguna before work and then the long one.

Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
I had a quick look in at Laguna Herrera on the way to the hotel but it was fairly quiet species wise but the Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) flock had at least threbled in size with around 400 birds being seen. The best surprise of the morning was the confirmed breeding of at least one pair of White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) at the site, One adult male and two female birds were on the water and one of the females had three ducklings in tow. The Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) was still sitting eggs near the track and several Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) were on nests whilst others had already got well grown yound out on the margins. 
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Other birds included several Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) which were skimming the surface of the water feeding along side at least 10 Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) fed in a small flock which also included a couple of Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a single very late or extreamly early summer plumaged Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta). In the reed beds and along the ditches I picked up Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). I then turned around and headed for the hotel, on the way back down the track I added Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), 4x Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
Candle Bugloss (Echium boissieri).
Antonio dropped David and I at the start of the Nacimiento track with the three guests, where started the long walk back down to Antequera. The first leg was a steady up hill walk through some grassland with a few added thistles just to keep you moving, along here I picked up several Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus). The second stage was down hill through mainly Olive groves to the Magdalena Hotel, all the way along this section we could hear and see European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), we found a couple of small coloneys of these birds nesting on the track sides in banks that were no taller than 20cm. Also along this bit I added Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Sardinian Warbler, Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). After a quick stop at the spring just out side the hotel to top up the water bottles and a swift chat to the members of the Loja Royal British Leigon's walking group (who were sat out side the hotel have a proper drink) we continued on down to Antequera. This route was good for birds which included a family party of Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), a couple of Melodious Warblers, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and a dark phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) but was even better for the insects with an immature male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) being the star find. 
Shrub Tobacco (Nicotinana glauca).
We also recorded Red-veined Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii), while the butterflies were represented by Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice). Along the track we also saw several immature Spiny-footed Lizards (Acanthodactylus erythrurus) with their bright Orange/ red tails, Candle Bugloss (Echium boissieri) and Shrub Tobacco (Nicotinana glauca).

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