A mornings birding with Lydia and James from Canada.
I met Lydia and her son James in Antequera and we headed out on to the fields just the other side of the A92 for our first stop and the first birds seen were a family of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on a small track side ruin. In the same area we picked up Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) x5, Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) which was sat on a distant arm of one of the very large watering booms.
Our next stop was for some breakfast in Fuente de Piedra at a nice Spanish bar before we went down to the Lagoons, most of which were bone dry. We parked and then walked up the steps and around to the view point where we scanned the main lake but as the only water was way off on the eastern side we only managed to get distant views of the few Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) that remained as well as Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), a Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) which we could hear crocking when we arrived but we did not manage to see it, Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli) and a couple of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
We moved on around to the hides at the side and rear of the centre, on the first small pool where I usually see nothing worth while we had a couple of immature Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) which were still looking quite downy, Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), 2 adult Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), 2x immature Iberian / Southern Grey Shrikes (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), a female Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and several Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) which passed over head.
From the main hide we added several new species to the day list including Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), a dozen or so Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and 8+ Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), a female White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Grey (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) before we checked the last hide and had really nice views of a Western Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido Occidental / Hippolais opaca) feeding in the bushes right infront of the hide as well as Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) and more Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
We returned to the Mirador and the dropped down on to the lowere track to make our way back around to the car, on the way we had more Reed Warblers, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and a Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) which for ths species showed amazingly well and allowed Lydia and James to see it in the scope.
Once we were back at the car we drove down the western side of the lake but added nothing to the list so we took to the fields and headed across country to the dryed out remains of Laguna Dulce, on the way we had Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), right at the far end of the track the way was block for a short while by a flock of Goats and a young lad on a donkey, he was carrying a dog and texting on his smart phone !!
Our next stop was at the Raptor watch point just off the main Malaga road, as we arrived we watch 20 or so Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) move off to the east and we had a small flock of European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) but they remained high and hard to see, Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
We moved just down the road and parked near the Tajo de Molino and then walked down to the small pools near the bridge were we found star species for the day a fine male Faded Pincertail (Onychogomphus costae) which was unfortunatily chased of quickly by one of 4+ male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), in the same area we had Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) x2M, Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) x3M & 1F and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x1M. We walked down the gorge but thinks were very quiet and we only managed to add Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) to the list. Things were now getting warm so we decided on a drink and pit stop before heading to Santa Ana train Station and on a bit of rough ground near the bar James and I saw a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) in flight but we could not relocate it for Lydia.
On our way to the Station we had a very quick look on an arm of the nearby Embalse but only found a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) for the day list.
We reached the staion and I dropped Lydia and James off for their train to Sevilla and headed Home.
Photographs from the top: Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax), immature Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), the Goats and their herds man.