A second day with Jackie and Neil in Malaga Province.
I picked Jackie and Neil up from the very nice hotel (Almohalla 51) in Archidona and we headed out to Laguna Dulce via Antiquera where we parked up and went to the hide. We started scanning the lake and soon had several species of wildfowl on the list including Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula) x 12, Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), just 2 White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and at least 3 Ferruginous Ducks (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) two on the far side of the pool and a single male much near just to the right of the hide. Out on the water and in the reedbeds we also recorded loads of Black-necked (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and in the air several Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). Other species seen whilst we were at this site included Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and a flock of around 50 or so Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) which flew west at the back of the pool.
We then returned to the car and headed to the nearby Laguna Capacete, the only new species seen here were Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). We did however have very nice views of several more Greater Flamingo's, Black-necked Grebes and another female type Marsh Harrier.
We turned around and headed back towards Campillos but turned off on to a muddy track to have a quick look at Laguna Salada where we saw a couple more Tufted Ducks, hundreds of Northern Shovelers, 50+ White-headed Ducks and a handsome male Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which was hunting around the Tamarisk trees.
We continued on south along the Malaga road and turned off towards Teba, just after the junction we pulled into the Raptor watch point and scanned the cliffs, here we saw around 15 or so Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and lots more Crag Martins.We moved just down the road to the gorge and walked along the river for quite a way and had nice views of Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and heard a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). also in the gorge we saw lots of flowering Broad leaved Iris (lirio de invierno / Iris planifolia) and Friar's Cowl (Arisarum vulgare) along with singles of Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
From the gorge we headed back to Dulce and took the rear track across country to Fuente de Piedra, on the way we had nice views of three Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope) on the back edge of the lake and on a small pool a little further on small numbers of both Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) were still present. Further along the track a nice male Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) did a flyby, more Common Cranes were seen and heard, along with Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and several Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). Once out on the road at the far end of the track we picked up another male Hen Harrier and lots more Greater Flamingo's, Common Cranes and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) on the way around to the western view point. From the view point we did not have any new speices but we did get cracking views of Marsh Harrier and Cranes before we moved on to the road side hide nearer to the visitors centre. On the way we stopped to get some shots of the Cranes and a nice female Hen Harrier. We did not go to the hide as there was a large family there with several children that were making quite a lot of noise so we scanned the fences and bushes nearer to the car park and added a couple of new species to the day list including a brief view of a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), a male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), several Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and out on the water a few Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) amongst the masses of Gulls and Flamingo's.
Our last stop of the day was just above Jackie and Neils hotel in Archidona on the road up to the church on the hill. Here we had a look for woodland species and succeeded in seeing or hearing Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) before we dropped back to the hotel and said our goodbyes. I then headed home.
Thanks Jackie and Neil for your company on a cracking days birding.
Photographs from the top: Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula) x 12, Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), immature Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus), female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).