A pick up from Malaga Airport and More.
Juan and I set off from the Car park of the Cortijo de Tajar at 07:00 to give us plenty of time to do some birding and orchid hunting before we picked up Jacko who has been a birding friend for nearly 30 years at Malaga Airport. Our first stop was at Laguna Dulce near to Campillos, as soon as we arrived we picked up the obvious species such as Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) all o f which were feeding close into the hide on the near shore. Out on the water there were still large numbers of summer plumages Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) these birds are always nice to see and are just slightly smarter than the Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) which were also seen. The duck numbers had dropped off with the winter visitors all moving off back North, but there were still a few Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochards (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and just a single female White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala). In the air over the pool hundreds of Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencej o Común / Apus apus) were feeding along with lots of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and lesser number of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia). Lower over the water there were lots of Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) coming in and dipping into the surface water before heading out onto the nearby fields to feed, they were joined by at least 5 Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus) which hawked low over the water for the whole time we were at the site. On the nears we also had a single Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) come out from the reed beds on the right hand side of the hide and walk right across Infront of and disappear into the tamarisk trees on the left and later a Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) wandered out of the fields and come down to the shore for a drink. In the distant fields to the rear of the pool we watch a pair of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) chasing around, a Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) which had found something to eat and was tearing at it for quite some time and another pair of Stone Curlews. Other birds seen whist we were here included Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) heard only, Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Little (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). We were just about to leave the site when Andy Patterson and birding friend Federico arrived so we had a quick chat with them and added a single Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) to the day list. We stopped off quickly at the raptor watch point near Sierra de Teba where we added Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), a female Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius). Our next stop was at a road side Orchids site to the North of Coin where we quickly found lots of spikes of the uncommon Serapias vomeracea growing on disused terraces. These plants were a news species for Juan so we spent some time looking for just the right plants to get the best shots of. While we were there we also found what I thought were Tongue Orchids (Serapias lingua) but Juan was not happy with this and it seems after some work with the books when he got home with good reason. They now look as though they may well be a hybrid between Vomeracea and either Lingua or Parviflora but we are waiting on some further help with this one. We did see some past there best Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii), Small Tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora) which were in good condition and a completely dry Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera). Birds here included Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). Both Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia) and Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) were seen on the wildflowers also in the area which included Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum), Grey-leaved Cistis (Cistis albidus), Narrow-leaved Cistis (Cistis monspeliensis), Yellow Restharrow (Ononis natrix), Phlomis purpurea and Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum). From here we moved on to have a very quick look at Refugio de Juanar on the drive up we picked up a cracking spike of Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) and lots of Dense-Flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata) but once at the main site there were only a few plants of Barton's Orchid (Dactylorhiza insularis) which still had some way to go before they were in flower and rosettes of Epipactis tremolsii which had even further to go and by the looks of the amount of damage that is being done by the Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in the whole area they my not make it. I do not like hunting but in a lot of areas in Andalucía they are becoming a great problem. Birds included Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). We then dropped down to a site on the coast at Las Chapas but when we arrived we found the site had been covered by an outdoor adventure site and fenced in with an 8 foot high chain-link barrier. We did have a look around the perimeter and found lots of spikes of Limodorum trabutianum in bud with just a single albino plant being in flower. Later we gained entry to the adventure park and found three spikes of Heart Flowered Tongue Orchid (Serapias cordigera) but they need another week or so before they were going to flower. I dropped Juan off at decathlon near Malaga and went and picked Jacko from the airport (just a bit later than planned) and found him looking for me out side as his plane had arrived early and I was late. We then grabbed a sandwich and headed out to Guadalhorce where we were going to meet Juan and a Spanish Birder who was collecting him at the shop. From the beach watch point we picked up Little and Cattle Egrets, a single Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) on the rocks, Little Ringed, Ringed and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls, Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and House Martins. We than started to walk along the beach towards the track into the reserve, on the way we picked up Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), several Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and a couple of Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator). Once on the reserve birds came thick and fast, first were Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Cetti’s Warbler and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and when we reached the first (main) hide there were many more. Out on the water there were lots of fine looking White-headed Ducks, Common Pochards, Northern Shoveler and Black-necked and Little Grebes and on the margins/shallows we soon found 4 immature Greater Flamingo’s, 3 Spoonbills (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), several more Cattle and Little Egrets, a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and then 2 Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) dropped in. Waders included Black-winged Stilt, Redshank, Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia) and around 40 Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) which seemed to appear from nowhere. Next we went and had a look at the next hide but it was fairly quiet except for a pair of Mallards, Nightingale, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a distant fly over Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) which was lost very quickly. After a quick walk around to the raised viewing area over the next pool we headed back to the main hide adding just a singing Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) which stayed well out of sight, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a male Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis). Back at the main hide we picked up a 1st summer Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) on the nearby island which was later joined by a very smart adult and on the water amongst a small group of roosting Lesser Black-backs an adult Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei) was also picked out. Also seen from here were 4 more Whiskered Terns, 3x Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) and Reed Warbler. We then made our way back towards the car along the beach were we had a second Collared Pratincole come in off the sea and a fly past from a Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluvialis squatarola). Juan, Jacko and I then headed back towards Huetor Tajar, on the way adding Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) before Juan headed off back to Granada and we went to the house. Later we had a sit out on the roof terrace picking up Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus).
During the day the bird total at all sites was somewhere between 97 and 100 species, 8 species of Orchids were also seen.
Photographs from the top: Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus, Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Serapias vomeracea, Small Tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora), Limodorum trabutianum, Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 1st summer Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii, Adult Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii, Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei) and Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus).