Thursday 11 August 2011

Laguna Herrera, RFH walk, Laguna Dulce and Rio's on the way to Malaga, Malaga Province.

A day of many sites and sights.

Banded Groundling (Brachythemis leucosticte).
The first stop of the morning was as usual at the Laguna, bird numbers were still quite good with a nice flock of Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) feeding out in the middle of a quickly drying up lake which was now divided down the centre by a mud bar. Also on the margins were 6x Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), 8x Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), lots of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a single Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 20+ Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and around the same number of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). The Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) numbers were still quite high and they were joined by a couple of immature Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a few Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
I arrived at the hotel and met the guests and we did the walk from Park Atalya along the Antequera Golf Valley and up to the Magdalena Hotel and then onwards across the olives and herb scrub to Nacimiento. On the first part of the walk I identified at least 3 male Orange-winged Dropwings (Trithemis kirbyi) flashing quickly along the trail, with several Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and a single Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope). Birds included a very nice male Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) which sat up nicely in a trackside Oak tree, Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes).
Butterflies were also quite common and included Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
After the walk I made my way out to Laguna Dulce near Campillos were again the water levels had started to drop and show a small muddy margin but I could only find a couple of Black-winged Stilts, a Common Sandpiper and 3+ Little-ringed Plovers.
Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides).
Out on the water I spent quite a long time scanning and counting the waterfowl, they included Common (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), a single Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) and the two stars were a nice male Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and the pair of Red-knobbed Coots (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) away over too the right in the tamarisks. It was good that the one bird had a white neck collar on which stood out at a distance or I would probably not have picked out either amongst the masses of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta).
Also seen in the area were more Greater Flamingo’s, Western Cattle Egret, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
I then pushed on south along the road toward Malaga and made my next stop on the shoreline of Embalse de Guadalteba near Ardales. I was hoping for and found several Banded Groundling (Brachythemis leucosticte) Dragonflies which played hard to get a photo of for some time and even though I did eventually get some shots I was not very happy with them. Continuing on south I stopped at the Arroyo de Casarabonela where last year I had seen Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) but Dragonfly numbers were much reduced, not helped by the appalling state of the river. There was raw sewage running straight in to it just below the bridge, it smelt awful and had covered the banks of river in a black sludge.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
However I did see a couple more Orange-winged Dropwings, Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), Red-veined Darter and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
I then went back north just a few Kms to the second turning to Pizarra where I had a quick look on the river but turned up nothing new, so I went a couple of Kms further on to just on the out skirts of Pizarra and had a look at the Rio. Here I had some nice views of White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Blue-eye’s / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii) and either Small or Large Pincetail.
I then dropped back south and pulled in on to the banks of the Rio Grande, there were at least 70 Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), along with good numbers of Squacco Herons (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Little-ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpipers and 3 Kingfishers (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).

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