Wednesday 5 August 2020

Laguna Dulce, Rio Turron and the Guadalhorce at Alora, Malaga Province.

Birding and Dragons.

A female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) in the early morning light before sun rise.
I set off quite early and I was on site at Laguna Dulce before the sun was up but there was still plenty of activety with the Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) heading out to their feeding sites from the reed bed roosts. 
A female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) in the early morning light before sun rise.
I walked back along the slip road to view the fields where I could make out the shapes of both Marsh (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which were already up and hunting, Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), calling Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and as the light improved the first of 3 Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) hovering over the far shore, later two birds flew right over the hide.
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), 6 of the 9.
Around the field edges there were loads of Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) which kept diving for cover as the Harriers patrolled the lake edges as did a Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) with late family of youngsters who all scampered for cover as they crossed the field.
Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) resting up.
Over and in the reeds I also had Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and a small party of Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) passing by making for the feeding areas.
Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and a Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) just as the sun was coming up.
I moved around to the toilets / hide, guessing that passing motorist think its exeptable to use the two side parts of the hide as a loo, so so sad that there are such scum bags about.
Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Anyway I scanned from the left hand side of the hide where I found a group of 9 Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) feeding but they did not hang around long and were on their way by 08.00, in the same area there were lots of other species including Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Ringed (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) x2 and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) x6, one each of Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), plenty of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a single Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), masses of House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) down on the margins, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), a few Spanish (Yellow) Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) Male.
I moved to the centre section of the hide and check the lake where there were good numbers of ducks and grebes including Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) Male.
Other species seen around the lake included Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), a single adult Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a fly through 1st year bird, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and then at about 09.00 large numbers of Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) flew in from the west in three big flocks numbering several hundred birds and mixed in with these birds there were more Red-crested Pochards and a few Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata).
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) Female.
I moved again and scanned from the right hand part of the loo where a few new species were seen, a Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) was sat on a drooping reed stem along with several Barn Swallows, an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) was sat in the bottom of a Tamarisk tree feeding on a vary large Cricket species, a Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) did a fly by and landed out of sight behind a Tamarish, several Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) flew over with some Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and group of 8 or 9 Greater Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) which carried on out to the fields.
Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus) Male.
I then returned to the car and drove around to the far side of the lake on the tracks but it was quiet, I found a group of Western Cattle Egrets feeding on a stuble field along with a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), a female Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus which was sat up on a redundant windpump, several flocks of Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), one of the Black-winged Kites which was sat up high in a distant Tamarisk tree and along the track there were loads of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) Female.
I turned around and headed off the area and took the road down towards Malaga, I made a stop at the Raptor watch point looking up at Sierra de Penarrubia and almost straight away I had European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), 16+ Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and a very pale Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) over head and in the bushes around me Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) Male.
Just up the road at El Tajo del Molino I spent a while viewing the gorge from the bridge, it was quite productive and I added Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) which was drinking in one of the pools below the bridge. 
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) Male.
I returned to the Malaga Road adding Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) on the way and the continued on to Ardales were I visited a site on the Rio Turón for Dragons, I parked under some roadside Oak trees and walked towards the river. 
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) Male.
The access point had changed since my last visit and the old crossing was heavily over grown so I returned to the new cossing and soon found Small Pincertail (Onychogomphus forcipatus), Southern (Orthetrum brunneum) and Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) but only females.
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) Male.
There were also a few birds around including Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and a noisy family of Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
Butterflies were also nectering on some of the Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) including Small White (Pieris rapae), Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous), Long-tailed (Lampides baeticus) and Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) as well as several large Carpentor Bees (Xylocopa violacea).
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) Male.
On my way back to the car I stood and checked the Oak trees finding Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
My final stop of the dy was at a spot near Alora on the Rio Guadalhorce, I arrived to find the site was quite different to the last time when Steve Jones and I visited two years ago ut thought it was still worth a look. 
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)  Male.
There was now just a single fast flowing channel which was very well vegetated so guessed the star insect here the Faded Pincertails (Onychogomphus costae) might e struggling and in a two hour search I saw just a single male but it disappeared almst instantly, however the site know appeared to suit the Ringed Cascaders (Zygonyx torridus) even better as I found at least a dozen males patroling small stretches of open water between the reeds.
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) Female.
Other insects seen included Copper Demoiselle , White Featherleg, Epaulet Skimmer, Orange-winged (Trithemis kirbyi) and Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii) and Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii).
Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii) Male.
Before I moved on I did also see several Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and on the drive home I added Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Blue-eye (Erythromma lindenii) Male.

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