21 May, Guadalhorce

This is a short blog of yesterday's morning visit to the Guadalhorce with Bob Wright and members of his ad hoc group from the Axarquía. I enjoy groups and outings like these as we are not organised, there is no set leader, each contributes/asks according to desires/needs and talks about all and everything, plus it is an easy pace - just what one needs to relax, which is what birding is all about for most. So, after a start around 0930, off we jolly well went ...not that there was a lot to see.

We are just about at the end of the wader migration season and the last big push of Arctic-bound birds I had hoped for has not materialised this year. They must have overflown us, testimony to the good weather. Result: only half a dozen or so Dunlin, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 5 Redshanks, a couple of Sanderlings and a single Ringed Plover. On the other hand the resident breeders, the Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers were in evidence, and there were baby Black-winged Stilts everywhere - Antonio Miguel told me some days since that he had some 52 nests controlled this year.

These baby plovers and stilts are delightful when very young, little balls fluff on long legs as the two shots show, and in the case of the last named, I often wonder how they manage to get the long legs in to a shell! We saw surprisingly few ducklings, but these did include a pair of White-headed Ducks with 4 young and a Coot with a red-headed young bird (they are half baldwith a bright red head!)..

As for the remainder of interesting things. On the old river, resting, a good group of Sandwich Terns, two or three Audouin's Gulls and a single, very smart, adult Slender-billed Gull which must have counted as bird of the day (for me at least) and which most managed to see, although the views were somewhat distant. Some saw a Squacco Heron, which eluded me.

I don't think that there are going to be too many more blogs from there and in general between the end of this month and the end of July, when the return - one hardly dare say 'autumn' - migation will start. We are entering the quiet and hot season, quiet as birds are all breeding or have bred and are resting and starting to moult, and hot for us humans as in order to avoid heat haze one needs to be in at dawn or very shortly thereafter and coming out by 11.00 at the latest

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