26/01 Not the Guadalhorce again!

Yes, sad but true as I would have liked ot have gone further afield but with the Reichsfüherin (look it up) away in Madrid there was nobody to take care of the aging spaniel and there ¡s no way she can be left alone all day. So, as Bob, now back from foreign parts and sailing the ocean blue, was going to be down at the ponds with anyone who cared to turn up from his ad hoc Axarquía group, down I trotted.

And was it ever cold with a freezing wind blowing down off the sierra at 0930, although later it would akmost be too warm when I came off at just around 1300 and all those nice little yellow flowers that the Spanish call vinegretas were open although they are an invasive South African species. One needs to dress like a blasted onion and strip off layers as the sun warms the air.
I also saw some of the chaps and girls who had been doing the management work and Bob and co. were suitably happy with what they saw and we all agree that it may well make a big difference to the numbers of wheatears, pipits and other ground feeding passerines which will soon be upon us.
We also ran in to Federico who had not gone back to Cordóba as he had told me last night and who had seen 'good numbers' of Kentish Plovers on the cleared area, although I saw only one or two later on. It was quite a good morning for waders as Little Ringed Plovers have come in quantity and some were making territorial flights and calling. There was also a single Ringed Plover plus a single Redshank and two Greenshanks (heard calling only), several Common Sandpipers and 4 Dunlins, as well as an increase in Black-winged Stilts. The greatest variety together was actually on the rocks against the eastern bank of the eastern arm of the river, with no less than 13 Sanderlings, 4 Turnstones, a single Common Sandpiper and Robin with ambitions.
There were also several Black-necked Grebes on the sea, at least 4 if my counting is correct, plus at least 3 more at the laguna Grande and one at the Escondida. I should add that yesterday afternoon, there was a 1W Great Crested Grebe on the river when I was walking the dog. There was a somewhat paler and brownish Little Grebe, certainly paler than the norm, on the río Viejo. There was nothing outstanding in the way of ducks, the Pintails seen earlier in the week having vanished and all the rest was to be expected, although the little male Teals whose hormones are functioning at full blast and the male Shovelers really are beautiful with the sun on them.

Raptors were represented by a single Buzzard, a very dark and nondescript bird I saw on the way out, Kestrels of course, and 2 Marsh Harriers, one a superb male. Passerines were much as for previous visits, with 5 Skylarks seen and there is still a dearth of Chiffchaffs, although this one obliged very nicely, as did this Crested Lark, a species which normally pushes off p.d.q. at the sight of any sort of lens.
All in all, a very pleasant morning and I have a total of exactly 38 speacies noted down, although Bob probably has some I have missed.

Tomorrow promises rain, which is much needed and at this moment the TV news is forecasting rain for the weekend.

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