4 Sept onwards from the Guadalhorce; TARIFA BIRD FAIR

Life has been difficult this last week and even my trip to the Guadalhorce last Saturday, 4 September, along with the always pleasant company of Federico, hasn't been put on to screen until now, and I promise that it is short and not too sweet. A total of 39 spp.for the morning wasn't too bad, in spite of a dearth of waders, as it included a Snipe which showed well (it had been seen the previous day too), but there were only 3 Redshanks, singles of Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Greenshank and Avocet, with a sprinkling of Stilts and still plenty of the small plovers of all 3 spp..

It was nice to see the first Teal back and also 4 Shovelers and 4 Gadwall, with the resident Pochards and Mallard of course. Ted Lord told us that there had been a flock of 9 migrating Garganey earlier in the week. A single Spoonbill came in and gave the only photo shots of the morning. In the migrant passerine line there were brief views of Melodious Warbler, a Willow Warbler and a female/juv. Redstart, apart from the usual finches.

Raptors were represented by a juv. Marsh Harrier floating around and creating chaos and there was also a Booted Eagle in the eucalyptus trees. Surprisingly we saw no Kestrels at all. But the star of the morning was undoubtedly a male Peregrine, first seen sitting in the top of one of euclayptus trees, but which then took off, gained some height with the usual ease of that species and then went into a shallow dive and accelerated as only a Peregrine can do - a sort of avian Formula 1. The target was a duck (a Pochard?) which saw it boring in and took violent evasive action. We didn't see the final seconds but as the Peregrine zoomed up and took off westwards, one can only assume that the attack had failed. I strongly suspect that the heart of the duck must have been a maximum revs. as it dived downwards and much have hit water/reeds at a hell of a rate of knots.

A total of 39 spp. for the morning, always assuming that I wrote down everything, which is a very big assumption to make.

And now for other bits and pieces. This week I have walked along the river bank with the dog a couple of times in the late afternoon, on 9 September I saw 3 Purple Herons which took off and headed generally SW in the direction of Africa as well as a juv. Marsh Harrier, which was also there on the afternoon of 10 September. Apart from that, on the second afternoon, at least 6 Greenshanks (4 and >2) took off in the general direction of Africa, 5 Spoonbills showed briefly over the big pool and just as we were coming off the river bank I heard harsh cronk-type call and a splendid adult Caspian Tern flew majestically past, down river, turned round and came back - a great way to end what had been a fairly negative day and definitely bird of the week.

A reminer that the Tarifa Bird Fair is taking place between Friday, 24 - Sunday 26 September. See you there? For more information, go to www.feriadelasavesdelestrecho.com/

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