26 October, Guadalhorce

Today a brief entry in to the Guadalhorce ponds in company of Manolo Quintana who is down here from the cool and damp of Asturias to the ever-lasting summer that we are experiencing. When will it stop and we see some real rain? Not a shower. I hadn't been over the weekend as I am trying to get these damned illustrations finished and am at last starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel - about 1mm in diameter but it's there! So, as I want to get some more work done this evening after doing at least 4 hours this afternoon, this will be brief and cover the salient points of the 49 spp. which we managed to see.

Although the temperatures belied it, there were ornithological signs of movement and the place was crawling with Chiffchaffs, there had obviously been a decent fall, and the same fall brought in the first Black Redstarts, Song Thrushes, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks of the autumn that I have seen (I am well aware that others who read have been out more and probably seen all of these at this date). Cormorant numbers continue to crawl upwards and there were 5 Spoonbills, one of which bore a set of colour rings and I am awaiting the data on this bird - I sent the e-mail 10 minutes since and such is the efficiency of Otto that I may have its history by the time I finish this off! (See note at the end.) The Osprey was in its usual tree and we saw a single Booted Eagle and a Peregrine Falcon overflew, apart from the usual Kestrels.

For waders, it was about as exciting as watching paint dry - 2 Greenshanks, 3-4 Common Sandpipers and a less frequent Green Sandpiper, a couple of Avocets and the same number of Snipe, and the single Oystercatcher that has been hanging around for several weeks now, plus a few Stilts and a couple of imm. Little Ringed Plovers. Add to those the usual selection of gulls and good views of the Southern Grey Shrike which is still with us, and that's the lot.

Short and sweet, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Good birding!

NOTE: Told you Otto was fast, the Spoonbill was ringed as a chick on the Dutch island of Terschelling on 13 June this year.

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