Lesser Flamingo and Hobby, Guadalhorce

Just a brief entry before attacking the blog on my trip to Fuerteventura last week (a huge dose of R & R). This week back to the grind at home but at least a nearly daily walk along the west bank of the Guadalhorce with my little blonde friend (the dog). Normally, this walk usually provides little except distant views of the Osprey, the occasional Marsh Harrier and/or Booted Eagle floating around over the reserve, multiple Cormorants, and down at the mouth, the occasional Common Sandpiper and, of course, a myriad of gulls, mostly Black-headed, some Mediterranean, Lesser Black-backed and the inevitable Yellow-legged, while along the banks there are Little Egrets and Grey Herons fishing. But sometimes one is rewarded, and this week it was not once but twice.

On Wednesay (24/11) I had loaded dog and self into the car. I had my binoculars of course as going out without them is like going out nude but had just left home when I realised that I hadn't taken the small but potent camera (an Olympus 590 with 26x optical zoom and 12 mbs), but as I hardly ever photograph anything I thought 'what the hell' and went on. And I was to regret it as if I had turned and gone back for it I would have obtained some stunning shots.

Down at the very mouth of the river and gazing out to sea in search of skuas and shearwaters and seeing neither, I picked up a flock of Greater Flamingos heading in from the SE, roughly from the Melilla direction rather than coasting along from Almeria direction. There were around 65 birds, 9 juvs. of the year and a smaller one, about two-thirds the size of its brethren, and a brighter reddish orange and as it got nearer while they circled for over 2o minutes I could easily see the black bill- a Lesser Flamingo without any shadow of doubt. They were stunning as they described huge, indecisive circles in the sunshine, magnificent against the lowering dark skies over the sierra and which also blocked them finding their way upstream, so eventually they set off SW in the direction of the Strait, having broken up into two flocks, leaving me cursing my stupidity in leaving the camera behind. Nevertheless, a jolly good bird to see.

Needless to say, yesterday, Thursday (25/11), I had the camera with me. Again the same routine and amongst the gulls on the beach a drop-dead gorgeous adult Audouin's Gull standing aloof from the rabble. Too far to photograph but always nice to see. But the bird of the afternoon was simply moving too fast to get the camera lit up and photographed as a rather late adult Hobby shot through at high speed on full afterburner, perhaps it knew what weather we were going to suffer today.

Two good birds on consecutive days but needless to say, we have not been out today, as the dog is a real wimp when it comes to rain, she does not like it!

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