30/03 : Guadalhorce and a note

After the day that Samu had a couple of days since, with over 60 spp., I thought it was time to trundle around the Guadalhorce with the faint hopes of seeing something of interest before the knees went into self-destruct mode, something they started to do after getting about half way round but I made it out, albeit very slowly.
The day started wonderfully well with this superb male of the pale-throated form of the Black-eared Wheatear flitting along the track in front of me (R). A little gem! I saw another pale form male later and also a black-throated form (L above), both of which are shown here. Also later I was to see a female Northern Wheatear, whilst Ron saw a male, but I jump ahead. The Red-rumped Swallows are back and there were lots, and I do mean lots, of Barn Swallows skimming low over the grass whilst the House Martins appeared to prefer more more height along with the Pallid Swifts which were outnumbered by Common Swifts.
Yesterday Stephen Daly had told me of aerial armadas of Bee-eaters over Barbate (Cádiz) way and some actually managed to turn east and overfly us. They fly so high that usually one hears them before managing pick out specks high in the sky, so high that although I heard the second flock perfectly well I never saw one of them.
I walked slowly down the eastern arm, stopping at the laguna de la Casilla hide and then at the río Viejo one. Water levels are painfully low, more like August, and thus not exactly suitable for waders. At the seaward end of the río Viejo there were the immature Flamingos which have been around for months, ca. 100 very smart Audouin's Gulls and sitting in amongst them and a rather sleepy Spoonbill in full breeding plumage.
There were the usual ducks both there and later on the laguna Grande, but my impression is that there are fewer White-headed Ducks than in recent years, Pochards and Mallards seem about normal, Shoveler numbers have diminshed notably since my last visit and the Teal have departed. Cormorant numbers are well down and I saw only one Grey Heron.
As for waders, 5 Redshanks and a single Greenshank with fair numbers of Kentish Plovers, although not as many as I would have hoped to see, and only a couple of Little Ringed and a solitary Avocet - a very poor showing for the time of year.
I heard 2 Reed Warblers singing in the extensive reed beds opposite the laguna Grande and saw another at the laguna Escondida, where the male Black-headed Weaver was flying back and forth. Far over Ted spotted a whitish spot which at 45x showed itself to be the only Woodchat Shrike of the day but by the time I had got round there walking back it had gone.
One flying object which did have me confused for a few seconds was the apparition of a what appeared to be a flying cotton ball but which turned out to be a Zitting Cisticola with its mouth chock-full of the fluffy part of phragmites reed heads, obviously meant for nest building. There were plenty of Zits (what an unfortunate abbreviation of the name) making themselves very obvious, a very easy bird to census for territories, but the only raptor seen was a dark morph Booted Eagle, not even a Kestrel in sight! A small consolation was the presence of 2 Squacco Herons at the laguna Grande, although a cyclist with binoculars told me that he had seen 4 together and these 2 proved remarkably difficult to photograph.
And no terns either, although at around 11.00 I received a text from Blas at Calaburras (W of Fuengirola) that he had enjoyed a fly-past by 4 Caspian Terns. I hung around the shore, having reckoned that they might be with us in less than an hour but missed out although nearly 2 hours later Ron was able to enjoy a single bird flying over his head along the shore line.
So, all in all a very pleasant morning, an escape from the multiple stresses of this week and around 45 spp (I think).

NOTE: A Jon Bowen has written to this blog twice asking for information but as there is no contact phone number or e-mail address, I am unable to reply. Additonally, to any who want information, get the 3rd edition of Where to watch birds in southern and western Spain, by Ernest García and myself and published by Helm. It was written precisely to tell people like Jon Bowen what was where within the limits of birding as birds can't read and don't go by our rules! Please note that I do not reply to such enquiries as I simply don't have the time as I have projects of my own which are much behind schedule and yes, I am a miserable old sod!

1 comentario:

Bob Wright - The Axarquia Birder dijo...

Come, come Andy; who could possibly think such accurate thoughts? And if the cap does fit, would you please return it as soon as possible!