Sunday, 11 December 2016

Guadalhorce and Zapata, Malaga Province and Sierra Morena, Jaen Province.

A mornings birding around Malaga and the late afternoon in the Sierra.

I drove down to Malaga and started the day by walking out on to the main reserve, I parked by the school and walked across the bridge where I scanned up stream and quickly noticed a bow wave moving along the lefthand bank which I quickly realized was an Otter (Nutria / Lutra lutra) which swam away from the bank and crossed to the other side and under the bridge and off down towards the sea. In the same area I also had Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Sardinian  (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
I walked out on to the reserve and to the two far hides where Luis Alberto had seen a couple of very rare Scaup (Porrón Bastardo / Aythya marila) two days earlier but I could not find either of them but did get a good prolonged view of a hunting Short-eared Owl (Buho Campestre / Asio flammeus) which flew south and then back north and off up river and out of sight. From the top of the bank down to the sea I saw Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), lots of Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
At the far end of the track I checked the old river and added Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) and from the sea watch point at the end of the track I had a flock of 10 Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) fly over me as well as a single Common Scoter (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra), lots of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which appeared to come in from the sea and fly up the river.
I retraced my steps back around to the crossroad and took the left turn towards the next hide but it was extreamly quiet but I did add a female White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and on my way around to the main hide Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), out along the river a fishing Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) and a single male Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta).
I spent a short while in the main hide as it was fairly quiet again except for a roosting Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and lots of Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa).
I then took a walk out to the beach and back down to the far sea watch point, on the way I saw Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola) x5, Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus) x1, Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and a single Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda).
I walked back around to the bridge and added just Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
I left the Guadalhorce area and went quickly to Zapata but only did the canal as the rest of the site was still very muddy and flooded after recent rains, I checked the first part of the track and a few old buildings and found a couple of Bluethroats (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), lots of Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) which was sat on the window of one of the buildings.
My next stop was at the airport to meet Jane and John how were flying in from the Uk but due to a delay they were around 4 hours late. Once we had met up we drove north towards Andujar and then out in to the wilds of Sierra Morena, a stunning area which is well known for the Iberian Lynx (Lynx lutra). On the way we saw lots of Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Once we reached the mountains we chatted to some of the watchers and found out that the Lynx was seen earlier in the day but we did not see it but did add Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Small White (Pieris rapae) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) before we dropped down to the accommodation where at some point during the night I could hear a Tawny Owl (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco) calling.

Photographs from the top: Otter (Nutria / Lutra lutra), female Common Scoter (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus), Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), Grey Plovers (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), 2x Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and 3x Red Deer (Cervus elaphus).

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