Thursday, 27 February 2014

Laguna Herrera and Arroya Marin, Malaga Province.

A surprise on the fields of Antequera.

After taking Jayne over to the craft group meeting in Trabuco I decided to check out whether the recent rain had put any water into Laguna Herrera, I was not disappointed but there was not as much as I had hoped for. I arrived and turned in to the track to get my first surprise, a female Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus) not a species I have seen before at this site or any where else in Malaga Province before. Further along the track I picked up several small flocks of finches and buntings which included Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and a single male Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus). In the ditch I saw a couple of feeding Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), a single Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) and both White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). On the fields to the right of the track which usually flood there were quite a few Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), half a dozen Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria) and a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which was sat on the newly mounded soil. On the lagoon I could see plenty of birds of birds so I continued on down to the barn and parked and scanned the water, most of the birds were Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) with around a 1000 birds sat in the shallows. They were joined by good numbers of Black-heads (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a few Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) as well as Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 8+ Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), 20+ more Green Sandpipers, 24 Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), 11 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata). 
I continued on along side the pool and picked up a couple of Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and a male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) at the far end. I then moved along the tracks along side the dyke and through the fields until I turned right heading back to the Antequera road. Along this track I scanned the distant fields and about half way to the road I picked up a cracking male Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) at almost the exact spot I had seen one on 28th Sept 2010 (cannot believe its been over three years), the bird was distant but I had nice views of quite a while before it flew off towards the Laguna. In this same area I saw Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua). I reached the road and went back to the track out to the Lagoon, right at the start I scanned the fields and relocated the Bustard right out in the centre of a very large cereal field so I decide that I was not going to get any better views so I headed over to the Arroya Marin.
Once I was in the valley I parked on the track side and just waited to see what turned up,almost straight away a couple of Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) showed up collecting spaiders webs from amongst the bushes and trees. In the same area I also recorded both Great Spotted (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla).
I then returned to Trabuco and collected Jayne and we headed home via the Garage for a new handbreak cable to be fitted to the car and Mercodona.

Photographs from the top: Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus), Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and 2x Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus).

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