This last Thursday morning, ejected from home and painting by the wife who had major cleaning plans in the lounge, I hied me off to the Guadalhorce for a couple of hot hours and was duly rewarded with very little apart from a mass hysteria of Stilts - is this a new collective noun? This morning, Sunday, Antonio Miguel tells me that there have been/are 72 nests and that the Yellow-legged Gulls are wiping them out at a great rate. However, there were Stilt chicks of all ages, from recently fledged balls of fluff who were running around on ridiculously long legs to nearly grown young which will soon be flying. There were baby White-headed, Mallard and Gadwall in broods of various sizes, although Antonio Miguel tells me that last week there were three Gadwall broods of 11, 13 and 15 respectively which will undoubtedly get wiped out.
The best of the breeding birds has been the first known breeding of Purple Boghen (a.k.a. Purple Swamphen or Purple Gallinule) at the ponds, when José Miguel Ramírez saw 3 last Friday in the laguna Escondida, which was why I was there early this morning after receiving a heads-up yesterday from Patricia, but more of that anon.
But going back to last Thursday, singles of Nightheron and an immature Spoonbill were quite nice birds to see and so also was a Purple Heron, rather a late record but there there wasn't much else and it just go too hot for comfort.
So, this morning, Sunday, and with the knowledge that I should have been getting on with the sheet of the Audouin's Gull which I laid out last night, I was up and out early to the ponds with aim of trying to see baby Boghens. And was I successful? Of course not. In an hour I saw an adult, which paraded back and forth a couple of times and then nonchalantly swam across the laguna Escondida but no sign of anything resembling a chick. Antonio Miguel arrived and he too was hoping to see them as he hadn't yesterday, although a very unseasonal pair of Pintails had dropped in. There were 2 Spoonbills, both immatures, on the laguna Grande and one was wearing a plastic ring, but thanks to Sod's Law (section, 3, paragraph 2), it was not in a readable position. They never are!
So, full of hope and impetus which has gradually waned as the morning has gone on, I hied myself off home. I have painted a bit (at least 5 minutes' worth) and then decided to write all this up, which meant opening the computer and checking mail, which takes me to the final bit of news from my friend Teo, excellent person and photographer, who lives in Coín, where he informed of 2 Eleonora's Falcons in the area and photo at the link below (copy and paste to get in to it)
So I shall now watch formula 1, have an alcohol free beer to celebrate the Lions winning again in South Africa, albeit by the skin of the proverbial teeth, and then perhaps, just perhaps, I may get some painting done - after a siesta, of course!
And finally, I have just seen in the paper (El País) that one of the most iconic Brits of all time (I didn't say that, it was popular consensus vote I believe), one Sir David Attenborough, O.M., television star, incredible communicator, film maker and stimulator of interest in wildlife and natural history in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of humans over the past half century; who has worn the same khaki trousers and blue shirt everywhere between Basildon and Borneo and whose unruly hair still sticks out just as it did in those first Zooquest programmes back in the 1950s, whose tie is always out of alignment (see photo), has been awarded the prestigious Principe de Asturias prize. It couldn't go to a better and nicer person. My humble congratulations, Sir David.
Have a nice day, y'all!