We started off by driving into Malaga where I dropped Jayne off at the Lario's Centre for a bit of Christmas shopping and then headed out to one of the DIY places got a few bits and onward to Guadalahorce via a small canal beside the Golf couse nearby. Here the only birds seen were a small group of Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), a single Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), loads of Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and a couple of Zitting Cisticola's (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). My next stop was at the sea watch point at the end of the raised bank at Guadalamar. I spent a short time scanning the sea but it was very windy so I walks a short way up the river but not before I had seen a single Common Scoter (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and several Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus). As I walked along the waters edge up river I saw a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) which sat nicely for a photo, a very confiding Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) which was popping off some very small fry with great regularity, a Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) and a small group of Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) with wings stretched drying out.
After a getting some shots of the Little Egret I made my way down to the main reserve and walked out to the main hide, on the way I saw the first Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) of the day zipping over the smaller pool off to my left and on top of the nearer bushes there were several Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), a Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and then down in the grasses several Greenfinches (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinches (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). I walked passed the first part of the main lake picking up White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) on the way. Once I was in the main hide I was pleased to see good numbers of Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) in the surrounding trees and bushes, I counted at least 47 birds. These were joined by 3 Great White Egrets (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba), 3 Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), 1 Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and several more Little Egrets. Out on the water were several more Little Grebes which were joined by just 2 Black-necked (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), 4+ more White-headed Ducks, loads of Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna). Other birds seen from here included Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus). Next I headed around to the smaller pool but picked up the same sort of species before moving around to the two hides on the far bank. On the way around I had nice views of a pair of hunting Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and heard but did not see a Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus). The first hide was very quiet and the second was not much better but I did get a glimps of a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) as it flashed in to the pool side cover and a nicely plumaged Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) before heading back towards the car. On the walk a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) flew nearby a couple of time allowing me to get some decent shots and I had the only butterfly of the day a Large White (Pieris brassicae).
I got back to the car and went back into the city and had some lunch with Jayne before we headed down the coast to Fuengirola where I again dropped Jayne at the shopping centre and went to El Faro. I was hoping to see the regular wintering Purple Sandpipers (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritima) but again dipped. I did however see a nice grou of 20 or so Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), a few more Ruddy Turnstones, Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua) and a single adult Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) before heading back to Jayne.
Photographs from the top: Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).