31 August : Guadalhorce

After Birgit had posted yesterday morning that she was going to the Guadalhorce to meet other birders, I rang her and asked if if she minded if I came along as I needed to get out for a while. So, at 16.00 we met at the church, having already seen an immature male Redstart as I had enetered by coming round by the schoool but said bird refused to show itself when we went round, but that's birding. Fortunately it wasn't too hot as there was a breeze as we headed first for the laguna Escondida where a pair of Little Gebes had 3 very young chicks, rather late I would have thought, and thence to the laguna Grande where Birgit was due to meet her contacts and from there we did not move for the next three hours as there was plenty to see.

We had already seen a couple of Little Terns at the laguna Escondida but the first thing that struck us was the huge quantity of them on one of the islets in the laguna Grande. I counted 94 on the deck but as birds were taking off whilst I counted there must have been well in excess of a hundred birds present, plus 2 juvenile Common Terns - one metal ringed - and a single Black Tern. At one point they all flushed, a scare and the reason was a small falcon which I am tolerably certain was a Hobby which flashed across by the eucalyptus trees. There were also a few gulls, mostly Black-headed but with single adults of Mediterranean, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed.

A pair of Greenshanks dropped in and showed fantastically well in front of the hide whilst a single Redshank, one of four present which later took off together, rather noisily and headed off west, did what most birds do when they realise that someone is trying to photograph them, leg it off at high speed. This resting party of Little Ringed Plovers, most juveniles, did not do and did very little except settle down and sleep, as did a couple of Great Ringed Plovers. Way over there was a single Avocet and a pair of Dunlin and we also saw at least 4 Grey Herons.

From the hide we had brief views of 2 Yellow Wagtails, one a beautiful male of the flava race, identified by use of one of Birgit's photos and there was also a juvenile White Wagtail.
But the star was a Kingfisher which made good use of the stripped branches that Antono Tamayo (gold star Antonio) has put in for their and our convenience. They use them for fishing watch points which in turn allows we birders to see more than an electric blue flash as they pass across in front. These photos are nothing like those which Birgit has in her excellent web but at least gives one an idea.
So, in sum, a very pleasant afternoon's birding with the ever ebullient Birgit and three young ladies who are struggling with the beginning of birding and such joys as the separation and plumage differences of the three small plovers.

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