A windy day on the Coast and rain later in the Mountains.
I met up with Juan and his wife Beatriz at the usual place and we headed down to Charca de Suarez near Motril where we met Jacinto for a mornings birding. Before meeting Jacinto we had a quick look on the waste ground behind the reserve where we heard a couple of Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) calling from the sugar cane fields and started the list with Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
We met Jacinto and went into the reserve with three chaps from Malaga and made our way around to the main hide which over looks Laguna de las Aneas where the commonest species by far was Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) with around 75 birds out on the water along with several Common Pochards (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), a couple of Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). In the reeds around the margins there were several Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Purple Swamp-hens (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), a roosting Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and out on the far side a single Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) which flew up and did a couple of circuits of the lake before landing briefly right in front of the hide on one of the dead stumps and then off to one of the other pools. In the air there were a few Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), one or two Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and both Common and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus). In the bushes between the hides there were lots of singing Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), a couple of Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and some more Serins which looked like they had just had a bath and were sat up in the quite strong breeze drying out. On Laguna del Taraje we had several more Purple Swamp Hens, a couple of families of Mallards and some very young stripped Little Grebes. We did not add very much from Laguna de Lirio so we continued on around to the first hide which over looks Laguna de Trebol where we had good but distant views of the summering Baillon’s Crake (Pollueta chica / Porzana pusilla) which was trying hard to fly but the damage to its wing is still keeping it grounded. From here we also saw a couple of the four reported Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Water Rail (heard only), a few immature White Wagtails which were feeding out on the blanket weed and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). I then had a walk out along the track to look for dragonflies and found that there were good numbers of Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum) in amongst the dense vegetation which made them easier to get shots of as they were out of the wind. I also saw a couple of Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and loads of Iberian Bluetails (Ischnura graellsii). Other insects seen included Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Eurydema dominulus, Striped Shield-Bug (Graphosoma italicum), Egyptian grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium) and Rhagonycha fulva along with several Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies. I then rejoined the others and we walked around to the other hide over looking the same laguna, on the walk around a single Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) were added to the list. I spent a short while at this hide then returned to the main hide, here I picked up several Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which were stood on the island getting battered by the wind, a roosting Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and 15 or so Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which flew in and then moved on within a few minutes. I then meet up with the others and we headed towards the exit but not before I managed to get a single shot of an immature Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) dragonfly by the gate. Juan Beatriz, Jacinto and I then went to a beach side restaurant in Salabrena and had a very nice lunch (thanks Jacinto), later Jacinto headed back to Malaga and the rest of us made our way back north to Granada. On the way Juan suggested that maybe he and I might go and visit a site in the mountains and look at some Orchids he had seen the week before and as I had very much wanted to see them I agreed to go. Beatriz dropped us off by my car and continued home and we headed out into the hills, we were soon on site and with in minutes we had found several past their best Lady Orchids (Orchis purpurea). We continued our search and before long Juan was calling me over to look at a couple of spikes which still had some good flowers which I took some shots of. In the same area we also had some nicely flowering Lizard (Himantoglossum hircinum), Man (Aceras anthropophorum) and Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) along with a single Small Woodcock (Ophrys picta). There were also dry spikes of Southern Early Purple (Orchis Olbiensis) and Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina). A nice male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) was heard and seen on top of a small bush and a female was also seen briefly along with Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Common Magpie. Due to the increasing cloud the only butterflies seen were a couple of Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba) and a Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea). We also saw Oil Beetle (Meloe majalis) and a Beefly (Bombylius major ?) species which was on a flower probably due to the cold weather. It then started to rain quite heavily so we headed back and I dropped Juan off at home and head back to Huétor.
Photgraphs from the top: 2x Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), 3x Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum), Striped Shield-Bug (Graphosoma italicum), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii), Lady Orchids (Orchis purpurea), Lizard (Himantoglossum hircinum), Man (Aceras anthropophorum), Oil Beetle (Meloe majalis) and a Beefly (Bombylius major ?).