t'was on a Monday morning ..... Guadalhorce

Monday, 28 September, 0815
. After not getting out birding yesterday when the only thing of interest in the garden was a couple of Willow Warblers, I entered the Guadalhorce reserve with a gut feeling that after the rain there might just be something of interest to see, not that my gut feelings tend to prove very much as they are remarkably similar to Crohn's Disease or some affliction of that ilk. Being on my own and with nothing better to distract me, I also kept a complete list of observations, which turned out to be remarkably full by the time I staggered out at just gone 11h.. So, here goes with the best bits.

Raptors: The best was, for me was undoubtedly the most perfect flying machine that there is - a Peregrine Falcon, not one bt two, a young female which swanned around and looked as though she didn't know what she was doing (she wasn't a blonde) and a very nice adult male. An adult female Marsh Harrier that has been around for several days showed herself several times and there were a couple of pale morph Booted Eagles as well as a single Osprey and the usual handful of Kestrels. Total 5 spp. of raptors.

Waders: Eleven sp. but in very small numbers, mostly singles, like the Ruff, Redshank and Greenshank. There were very few small plovers, no Kentish at all, only 3 Ringed and a couple of Little Ringed and that was it. Leaving aside 20+ Stilts, Sanderling and Dunlin tied with 4 of each and a couple of Avocets which couldn't decide which pool to settle on. There were, of course, 2 of the mandatory Common Sandpipers.

Ducks and waterbirds: Either the White-headed were hiding or they have oulled out (there is an autumn dispersal) but I saw very few, while there were 7 Shovelers, the males just showing the first signs of new plumage after the eclipse period. Undoubtedly one of the spp. of the day was the presence of 3 Garganey. There was a single juv. Flamingo, which has been hanging around for a while, and the Spoonbill numbers had reduced to 5, while Grey Herons had definitely increased and there were 3 Cormorants.

A pot-pourri of species - sounds good, wish I knew what it meant! It is always nice to see a Southern Grey Shrike and I saw my first 3 Northern Wheatears of the autumn, although still no Whinchats. A couple of Blackcaps were knocking around near the entrance and there was a single Willow Warbler and a single Spotted Flycatcher. I didn't see a single Swallow, but there were 5 House Martins and a couple of Sand Martins flew over westwards , the rest of the spp. being rather run of the mill and and the sort of thing that one might expect.

And the total? No less than 53 spp.! Which rather surprised me, for it had been, on the face of it, a rather average morning.

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