20/10 : Guadalhorce

On this very wet Sunday morning after a huge thunderstorm which has deposited tons of water and gaily dissipated lots of electricity in the atmosphere - most fetching but the dog wasn't too keen- and with rain still falling which means that I am not going to go to watch the rugby world cup final at a bar in the centre of town (rain makes your hair go all funny!), I thought it best to try and write some bilge about the trip to the ponds last Thursday along with Bob Wright and his followers from the Axarquía birding group which Bob runs.

I was there early and virtually the first bird I saw after parking by the school was an errant Magpie - an unusual bird to see down here to say the least. I started off keeping a list but get distracted and got to around 45 spp. but I know that I have forgotten some things, so this will be about the better ones and leave the more common but no less interesting for all that to one side. I heard autumn firsts in the form of the first 2 Skylarks, and a Song Thrush and saw a Black Redstart plus the start of the continuing influx of Chiffchaffs over the last few days has been notable and there were one or two Blackcaps seen.

Some of us walked along the beach to enter in to the laguna Grande from there. Not that there was anything on the sea, not a tern in sight and these have been in very short supply this autumn, nary a shearwater. On the other hand there was a lateish Northern Wheatear, although birds can been until the end of the month.
The Osprey was present amidst the riff-raff of Cormorants, which included one very white fronted juvenile. A Glossy Ibis made a brief appearance, and, later towards the end of the morning, a buxom female Goshawk also in the eucalyptus. Excitement, of course, as a Gos is a rare bird down on the coast but careful examination with the 'scopes on maximum revealed the presence of short jesses, and later showed as it flew high over our heads on the way out. We saw 3 Marsh Harriers, including an adult male which are always in short supply, in the course of the morning.

Pochards are increasing slowly, as are White-headed Ducks and Teal are also increasing, althugh we saw only one male. There were 3 immature Shelducks on the río Viejo, as well as a few Shovelers.

The best was in the wader line, a family of birds which many will know as being personal favourites, particularly Greenshanks, of which there were 3 alongside a very fine winter plumaged Spotted Redshank and at least 5 Redshanks. In fact, the wader action was all along the ower section of the río Viejo and once we started 'scoping it revealed at least 5 Dunlin and a couple of Little Stints, plus Kentish and Little Ringed Plover and a few Stilts which are hanging on, but without any hysterics, and along with Common Sandpiper and Snipe gave us a decent total of waders when we added the 2 Black-tailed Godwits on the laguna Grande which had been joined by the Spotted Redshank which had flown over for a change of scenery.

A very pleasant morning with somewhere around 50 spp. seen.

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