13/09 : Guadalhorce

A pleasant, albeit rather warm, morning down at the Guadalhorce ponds with Sandra (she's an expert in raptors and is just back from 6 months working on Egyptian Vultures in Lanzarote and Tenerife) and also had the always agreable company of Antonio Tamayo. The day started with a light westerly wind and we worked our way down the eastern bank, stopping at both hides, there being a few Mallard and Pochard at the first as well as a Melodious Warbler, a single Woodchat Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher. The second hide, the one in front of what is now generally known as 'the wader pool', was more productive with 5 Redshanks, a Green Sandpiper, a couple of Common Sandpipers and a single Snipe, as well ca. 12 Teal and a single Shoveler. Antonio heard a Wood Sand whilst I heard a Greenshank. There were lots of Little Ringed Plovers both there and further down the río Viejo, with reasonable numbers of Kentish Plovers and one or two Ringed Plovers. It was from this hide too that we picked up a pair of Reed Warblers.
From the second hide we also saw a pair of Peregrines perched over in the eucalyptus trees and at one point the male decided to have a very fast low level fly around, a splendid sight, and the female joined him in the air and the size difference was notable. Going on towards the seawatch mirador whilst a few Bee-eaters called overhead as they moved westwards, we picked up the first Whinchat of the day out of a total of 4 and a couple of Turnstones flew in to the rocks at the mouth of the river and a distant Cory's Shearwater was just visible through the heat haze. Going along the beach  and along the wire which separates the reserve from the exhibitionists, a Pied Flycatcher.
We did remarkably well for raptors, leaving the aforementioned Peregrines to one side, as there were 3 Marsh Harriers, including a lovely male, and there was some movement with birds that had crossed the bay making landfall at the reservea, these including 4 Sparrowhawks which then proceeded to gain height before circling off westwards, and a Booted Eagle which followed them.

We finished off the morning at the laguna Grande which was full of gulls, mainly Black-headed with lesser numbers of Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed, with a few each of Mediterranean and Audouin's. There was a solitary Cormorant and a good ten or so Grey Herons.

It was at this point that we witnessed what happens when a mild westerly changes to a strong easterly. Antonio noticed a cloud of dust over the far side of the bay, roughly in the area where they do some quarrying but this dust cloud grew and grew and moved rapidly towards Málaga and towards us. It missed us but went to blanket the airfield and when the strong easterly, I reckoned a good force 6 gusting 7, the gulls on the laguna Grande panicked and we held down or put away optical equipment, micro dust not being highly recommended for optical gear. We were only on the edges but the dust got between our teeth and we made remarks about flying beach umbrellas, vanishing grannies and remarks of that ilk. The photo below shows what it was like looking towards Málaga across the laguna Grande.

And to finish off, as we went out, a the finding of dead Genet, a youngish animal, and we feel that it was probably killed by an intruding male as the female, the dead beast's mother, would then ovulate and the killer male pass on his genes. That, folks is what life is all about - sex and passing on your genes, which why there are more unfaithful male humans than females (birders don't have the energy, we're more centred on other things most of the time).
However, 44 species for the morning wasn't at all bad, a decent way to celebrate blog number 400 out of which more than few have been about the Guadalhorce. And tomorrow off to Lanzarote about you will be able to read in the fullness of time after about next Wednesday.

No hay comentarios: