Saturday 28 April 2018

Malaga, Mollina and Fuente de Piedra, Malaga Province and Villamanrique de la Condesa, Sevilla Province.

The start of the adventure.
Day One: Doñana and Extremadura tour.

The day started well when I found Magdalena and Pierre very quickly at Malaga airport, which meant we were soon on our way North towards Antequera picking up a flock of Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) before we got out of the city and then a displaying pair of Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) just before we switched motorways at Antequera.
2x Lesser Flamingo's (Flamenco Enano / Phoenicopterus minor) and many more Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
Our first stop was near the town of Mollina where we searched an agricultural area for birds but only found Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) before heading off to Fuente de Piedra.
As we drove through the town we saw a couple of White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) on a chimney down by the railway station and on the entrance road pools we boosted the list considerably with Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
We parked and then walked up to the visitors centre where Perre and Magdalena used the facilities whilst I went to the Mirador at the back of the car parking and scanned the Lagoon from the higher point finding Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
We then went around to the Oak tree Mirador where we quickly located 2 Lesser Flamingo's (Flamenco Enano / Phoenicopterus minor), 1000s of Greater Flamingo's, more Gull-billed Terns and a couple of very distant Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna).
We then visited the two hides at the back of the reserve over looking the fresh water pools where we saw lots of the species already on the list but also added White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) x2, Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus).
We walked back to the car and then went for a coffee in the town before setting off for Sevilla airport where we were meeting the other guests, on the way we saw a couple of Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) on a muddy fields, Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans). 
We arrived at the airport and eventually decided that the van would go under the height barrier which it did just. I then left Pierre and Magdalena with the van and went to meet the others but found the flight celayed slightly. After a short while Nick, Mike, Ann and Bob came through the doors with their kit and we returned to the van and then headed out to the Ardea Purpurea Hotel near the town of Villamanrique de la Condesa. Once we were checked in we went for a walk out in to the woods nearby where we started the full groups list off with Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and I heard a calling Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) which was the only one that was heard or seen during the tour which was a bit of a suprise and a little worrying. We returned to the Hotel and had a nice evening meal before turning in.

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