Sunday 20 May 2018

Arroyo Marin, Llanos de Antequera, Laguna Herrera, sensitive site, Fuente de Piedra, Laguna Dulce, Teba crags and other Campillos Laguna's, Malaga Province.

A great days birding with Tatiana and Mehdi from Switzerland with 90+ species seen.

Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes).
Today I was again going to be birding with Tatiana and Mehdi and what a day we had. On my way to the meeting point I picked up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
I was at the meeting point a bit early so I stood and watched and listened to what was about, in the 20 mins or so I was there I saw Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae). 
One of the nearby fields looked amazing and pink as it was full of the beautiful Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus) in full flower along with the yellow spikes of Linaria hirta and on the other side of the road a mass of brilliant red Corn Poppy's (Papaver rhoeas).
Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes).
Tatiana and Mehdi arrived and we were soon on our way to the nearby Arroyo Marin near Archidona where we parked and had a walk, near the car we had a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) over the crags above us, several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) which were reusing old burrows dug by European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and a male Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes).
As we started to walk along the track Tatiana picked up a very nice female Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) which was on the edge of the track collecting nest material, we also saw a fly over Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and a couple of Red-legged Partridges (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) which flushed from the side of the track and went out into the Olives.
Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes).
Further along the track we heard and the saw two Wrynecks (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and a very confiding female Hawfinch which picked small insects from the Oak tree above us.
Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes).
On the verges of the track we found some Orchids and other wild flowers which included Bee (Ophrys apifera) and Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea), Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Mallow-leaved Storksbill (Erodium malacoides), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea).
As we walked back to the car we scanned the Arroyo adding Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), a cracking male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and last of all a singing male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
Our next stop was out on the fields near Antequera on one of the tracks, on the way there we saw Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and out on the fields we saw Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Crested and Calandra Larks, Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail, Turtle Dove and at the junction further out we had two Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax) sat on a pylon. We decided to drive back to the main road along the track passed the fields where Laguna Herrera had been in the past and we were very surprised to find some water there along with a few waders including a really smart summer plumaged Red Knot ( Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus), several Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and at least 3x Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), 3x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and 2x Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus). On the wires, bushes and thistle heads we had several Melodious Warblers, Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and rattling Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and on the ground near one of the ditches some newly hatched Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) and Common Toads (Bufo bufo) which made walking difficult as there were dozens of the latter.
Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
Once we were back at the main road we drove along the motorway to a site not too far away where we checked an area of Vineyards and soon had a superb male Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) which was singing from wires nearby and then a second pair which were in a different area of vines on the opposite side of the road where the male sang from a small Quince tree.
Also in the area we had a fine Hoopoe which was sitting nicely until it was flushed by a group of passing cyclists, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We again hit the motorway and drove on to Fuente de Piedra seeing Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) on the way, once there we stopped along the entrance road and scanned the pool seeing more Black-winged Stilts, Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), several Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and then bird of the day which was a North America wader, a Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes) which was a Spanish Lifer for me. I was pleased to get some shots as the bird was flushed when someone slammed a car door a bit too close to the pool, as we were watching it I was quite sure what it was but started to doubt it as it seemed so unlikely but a few minutes after posting a back of camera shot on a whattsapp birding site it was confirmed.
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We parked and the scanned the pools and main lake from the Mirador where we added Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), several more Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and Dunlin. Below us in the reeds a Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was rasping out its song along with the commoner Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and out on the main lake amongst the thousands of Greater Flamingo's there was a lone Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) feeding low over the water.
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
From the first hide we did a bit of Dragonfly watching and picked up Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) and at least three Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma).
Around in the big hide we scanned the larger of the freshwater lagoons finding White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) plus many of the species already listed.
Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
We went back around to the Miridor and then back around to the car checking for Dragonflies in the ditches on the way but found none, however we did see Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).
Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
We then went and found a bar (eventually) where we could get just a snack, most were just doing full menu's and had lunch before going down the Eastern side of the laguna where we made a stop to check through the thousands of Greater Flamingo's at the far end of the lake but added nothing new. Just along the road towards Campillos we found some stunning  European Bee-eaters which showed brilliantly, fly all around us giving great views.
Our next stop was at a quiet Laguna Dulce were there were lots of Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Red-crested and Common Pochards, Reed and Cetti's Warblers and a distant and brief male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
We dropped down to the south of Campillos and scanned the cliffs of Sierra de Penarrubia from the raptor watch point car park, in the time we had before the rain started we saw  Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Common and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag Martin, Sardinian Warbler but not a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
We went up to the nearby Vulture feeding station but again there were no birds there, mostly due to the worsening weather I think.
We continued on along this road which circled back to Campillos and stopped in an area of pine woods but apart from a male Sardinian Warbler we did not see anything else before the rain returned again.
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) snorkling !!
We then stopped at a flooded field which was probably once Laguna de Toro which held a good selection of birds including Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), 2x Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca) and a pair of calling / displaying Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), all of which were new for the day list. At the spot we also had more Greater Flamingo's, Mallard, Common and Red-crested Pochards, a male Shoveler, Little Ringed Plover, Black Winged Stilt, Avocet, Gull-billed Tern and Black-headed Gulls.
Our last stop was at Laguna de Capacete, we did not add anything new to the list but had good views of three White-headed Ducks as well as Black-necked Grebes, Great Reed Warbler, Eurasian Coot and a Common Buzzard.
As we drove passed another flooded field we added the last species of the day a Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), before we headed back to the meeting point.
Thank you Tatiana and Mehdi for a cracking day and for taking the time to do me a Trip Advisor review. Looking forward to our next days birding, all the very best Mick.

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