Tuesday, 8 January 2013

El Faro and Guadalhorce, Malaga Province.

A day down on the coast.

Jayne and I headed down to Fuengirola where Jayne went and did some shopping whilst I did a bit of birding near to El Faro light house. The target species were the regular wintering Purple Sandpipers (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritima) that come here each year, there are just two or three birds and they can some times take some finding as today was to prove. I started by parking in the lay-by next to the large rock just along side the coastal motorway and walked west towards the lighthouse. The first bird seen was an immature male Blue-rock  Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) which was quite at home on the large rocky sea defences along this first stretch. On the beach there were a few Ruddy Turnstones (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) turning over the tide line debris and amongst reed and wood flotsam on the rocks there were dozens of Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), a few White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and a couple of Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). I continued on along the road side until I was just below the lighthouse with out seeing another wader and was just about to turn around when a Turnstone flew in and landed on a small flat rock. I scanned the rock and found that there were more waders there including a dozen or so more Turnstones and two of the target Purple Sandpipers (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritima) all of which were roosting. Out on the sea there were quite a lot of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo). I then walked back to the car and went to pick Jayne up. We did some shopping before heading back to Malaga where I disappeared again, this time to the river mouth at the Guadalhorce. As soon as I arrived I started to do a count of the Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) and by the time I had worked my way through them at least three time I had a total of 117 birds in around nine different groups. Out at sea I also recorded at least 2 Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and a Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua) which came in very close to the beach and landed on the sea for a few minutes before moving off east. On the river there were a few winter plumage Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta). I then went and sat on one of the many benches along the top of the river defences, I spent the next hour or so scanning the reserve and the river. After not seeing any raptors all day I found the wintering Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) perched on one of the lower trees and whilst getting the scope on it a male Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) flew through my view and perched in a tree behind the Osprey. Next came two Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), a Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and two Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) all soaring up above the main pool. A female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) then came in from the right hand side which
gave me 6 species of raptor in less than 5 minutes. On the same side of the river as I was sat I saw Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Photographs from the top: Purple Sandpiper (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritima), 2x  Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a view along the beach at Guadalhorce.

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