Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Arroya Marin, Laguna Herrera, Fuente de Piedra, Laguna Dulce, Teba Gorge and Rio Grande, Malaga Province.

The trip back down to the coast.
(Jane Hibbert, Day Three).

We got off earlish and headed out towards the A92 and the on to our first stop which was at the beautiful Arroya Marin near Archidona, as we travelled over we saw Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Barn Swallow(Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
We arrived at Marin and parked near the quarry at the start of the track and started to walk through the stream side woodlands, almost straight away we had Jane first Lifer for the morning a singing Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) which showed very well in on of the nearby Oak trees This was quickly followed by Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), two immature Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis) which flew across the valley and sat in a small bush on the opposite hill side and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) which sang from deep cover but we eventually tracked it down. We continued on and heard a Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) calling near to us and after some searching Jane located the bird sitting on a dead branch of one of the stream side trees, it gave us great and lengthy views, in fact it was still sat in the same place when we returned an hour or so later. We continued on along the track hearing loads and seeing several more Nightingales, Bonelli's Warblers and Short-toed Treecreepers and after some time we got the third of our target species under the belt when a pair of Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) sat up nicely in a Walnut tree. Butterflies started to become evedent as the temprature started to rise and they included several very nice Spanish Marbled Whites (Melanargia ines), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Adonis (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus) and Common Blues (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Small White (Artogeia rapae), a late Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba). Other bird sen here included Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Azure-winged Magpie, Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Our next stop was at the nearly full Laguna Herrera just to the North of Antequera, we started as soon as we were on the track by adding both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) to the list. Once we were along side the laguna two more lifers came for Jane in the shape of a singing Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and a male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis). other species seen on and over the water included Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) which gave us much better views than we had managed at Guadalhorceon day one, Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which were flying around noisily before landing on the flooded fields over the bank which due to the thistle wall was not viewable and a cracking male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala). In the reeds we heard both Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Melodious Warblers (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and on the track we had nice views of a pair of Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). At the far end of the water we scanned the skies as large numbers of Swifts has started to appear and before long we had excellent views of a couple of low flying Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) amongst the hoards of their commoner relatives. In and around the waters edge we saw and heard lots of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), flushed hundreds of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and saw several Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) and some fine male Broad Scarlet's (Crocothemis erythraea). We continued along the tracks out into the more agricultural areas around the site where we soon located both Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) before heading off along the motorway to Mollina area. We were soon on site and after a chat with the house owner who's place we were sat out side looking for our target species we soon had brief but very good views of the male Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) which was a good job as it disappeared and we did not see it again.
From here we headed out to Fuente de Piedra and called in at the visitors centre before we went out on to the view point at the rear where Jane had her first views of the very special flocks of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus). Here we also picked out Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). We checked out the hides behind the centre but we did not see anything new except for a Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus) and several Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).
Our next stop was at Laguna Dulce which held plenty of birds but nothing that we had not already seen except for a couple of Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus),  however we did get good views of some summer plumaged Black-necked, Great Crested and Little Grebes, White-headed Ducks and Gull-billed Terns.
We continued on our way down to Malaga but detoured off the main road to have a look at Teba Gorge from the bridge, Straight away we saw lots of Alpine Swifts and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) flying into the cliffs at the far end of the cliffs. Whilst we were waiting we also recorded Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and eventually we had several brief views of the resident Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) as it soared in and out of view at the far end of the gorge.
Our last stop on the way back we called in at Rio Grande to have a look some herons and waders, we picked up several Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a couple of Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Turtle Dove.
I then drove Jane back down to Alharin where we had a drink at her accommodation and completed her trip list.

Photographs from the top: Early morning sun at Arroya Marin, Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) taken by Jane, Thrapsia seed heads in the sun, Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Jane at Fuente de Piedra, Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Jane at Teba Gorge.

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