Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Zapata, near Malaga Airport, Malaga Province.

Some good birding and dragonfly hunting in the heat.

I dropped Jayne and Barb off in Malaga and headed past the airport to a spot I had only ever visited once before after reading about in on the Adalucian Bird Society facebook page called Zapata. The first area I came to is a reed and iris filled ditch but apart from a ford across the ditch viewing of the water is impossible so I did not see a lot here except for several Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) feeding amongst a large flock of sheep which were drinking at the ford, Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) x5, Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) as well as Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) x2M, Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x1M and Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) x4M & 2F.
I crossed to the opposite bank and check the areas around a couple of abandoned looking workshops there adding a very smart fly through immature male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and in the chainlink fence along the track dozens of Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and a few Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). I went under the bridge and parked down near the river again but could not see any water here either but I still had a walk along one of the tracks where I added Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Mediterranean skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) x1M.
Not knowing the site very well I then had a drive around for a short while and found a super spot at a ford across the Guadalhorce where I parked mid stream and sat to see what came to me. In the hour or so I was there I had views of Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), a flock of at least 5 Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which wizzed past several times, a Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) which flashed across into the reeds and on a drier patch up stream an immature male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and a female type Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca).
I move along the river again to a more open area and had a walk looking at the dragonflies and added Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) x3M & 2F, Banded Grondling (Brachythemis leucosticta) x7M & 4F, Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) x2M, Long Skimmer x2M as well as Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), 8 or more Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and lots more Yellow Wagtails
I moved back to the ford again and spent what time there was left looking at the Dragonflies there and was surprised to find a fresh looking Ringed Cascader (Zygonyx torridus) x1M, Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) x2M and more Blue / Common Emperor's x2M. 
My time was up but I had enjoyed the few hours at this very nice site and will certainly go back again when I am in the Malaga area.

Photographs from the top: Female Banded Grondling (Brachythemis leucosticta), male Banded Grondling, Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), 3x Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and a female type Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca).

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