18 September, Guadalhorce plus other bits

Friday is usually the day when I am 'invited' to leave the apartment as the cleaner (she asks nicely) comes in and in addition I had promised to take the wife up to the vet, so it was a late start and just on 10h when I staggered in over the bridge, wondering as I did so if I shouldn't have brought something warmer with me although the sight of a couple of Little Terns fishing up river cheered me up slightly. As there was nary a soul in sight (unless mad cyclists and runners have souls), I did a Bob and decided to log all the spp. I might see. And worse, as the place had that sort of 'dead' feel that birders know only too well, I had a feeling that it wouldn't be a large one. Howsomever, nothing venture, noting gain (like Bob, I too am a G & S fan).....

There were all the usual ducks for this time of year: White-headed Duck, Mallard and Pochard and now't else, although the waterbird line did turn up the usual Coots and a fair number of Little Grebes, it must have been a good breeding season for them, and many were stillmaking their looney-bin calls (sorry, politically incorrect, will you accept noises from the home of the mentally infirm?).

Raptors were few and far between: 2 Marsh Harriers, a female and a juv., a single Booted Eagle, 3 Lesser Kestrels and an assortment of Common Kestrels.

It wasn't much good for waders either, what a dismal autumn this has been so far. A single each of Avocet (ha-ha, Bob!), Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit, while Bar-tailed Godwits reached the dizzy total of 2 birds, as did a couple of Greenshanks which seemed to be intent on beating the merry hell out of each other- they obviously hadn't realised that the breeding season was over but the technical reason is more likely gonadal regression, which is something I will be quite willing to explain on receipt of a 500€ bank note. There must have been well over 50 Stilts, plus much fewer Little and Kentish Plovers and not a single Ringed (which some are now calling Great Ringed). 4 Sanderlings on the old river still hadn't remembered that in the winter they are supposed to be on the shore and there were also 4 Common Sandpipers.

Interestingly, there was the first Cormorant of the winter (or to be accurate, the first that I have seen), lots of Little Egrets and a fair sprinkling of Grey Herons, as well as a nice little group of 8 Spoonbills, none of which were ringed. Have you ever noticed how often Spoonbills appear to be fast asleep when you look, and then you see one or two beady black eyes watching you?

And apart from all that lot, 4 Little Terns - they are so lovely to watch, several Sandwich Terns and a single, moulting Whiskered Tern. There were very few hirundines - I saw 2 Swallows only and a handful of House Martins, plus 2 Common Swifts which aren't hirundines but never mind, let's not get picky, shall we?

Total: about 43 spp. if I remembered to write everything down.

Seen from home this week, on 15 Sept (Tuesday, I think) a solitary Honey Buzzard which must have flown across the bay,cutting the corner, and in the later afternoon a single Common Swift. Late this afternon, after writing the main blog, a female/juv. Common Redstart in the garden.

And to finish, the most unusual shot of all, one from a large series from Clara Coen who lives beside Lake Michigan, of a Peregrine having a bath in the lake. It was not thought to be singing, "I do like to be beside the seaside...." Thanks, Clara!
So, as a long defunct comedian once said, 'That's your lot!'

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