09 August : Guadalhorce (yet again) and other bits of info..

I must admit that I forgot to write this brief report of my third visit to the Guadalhorce in the week until a few minutes since (it is now 18.30 on Sunday, 11 August) so thought I'd better put finger to keyboard before shoving off to Blighty tomorrow. I met Carlos López-Jurado at 07.40, an even earlier start in the interests of self-preservation from the lascivious rays of the sun and we went in with the intention of getting out as soon as was reasonably possible, but that would depend upon the birds, which basically means the waders so herewith a quick resumé of that group.
Ringed Plover - 3 ; Little Ringed Plover - 97 (the highest total of the week and only explicable by birds that have bred upstream congregating down at the ponds before pushing off) ; Kentish Plover - ca.10 ; Redshank - 3 ; Dunlin - 3 ; Curlew Sandpiper - 3 ; Little Stint - 3 : Common Sandpiper - 4 ... and, of course, Black-winged Stilts!
One of the Dunlins was ringed, a double red/orange under a black over a white on its right leg (I think, but it was in water most of the time and never stopped feeding) with a blue flag on the left leg. However, as I can't be sure of the combinations I can't be sure of the source, but it may have come from a Portuguese project.
It was nice to see a couple of very nice, bright yellow Iberian race Yellow Wagtails and there seemed to be a lot of Zitting Cisticolas. There was a total of 8 adult and 3 young White-headed Ducks and we had brief views of a Reed Warbler. We read 7 more Audouin's Gull rings also and admired the Mediterranean Gulls, while Lesser Black-backs had remained at around 7-8 birds.
On the subject of rings, I have to admit that I made an error checking up on the flamingo ring from the other day (see blog for 07 August), simply by checking the wrong column in haste. This morning I rechecked with rather more care because I was 99% certain that I hadn't made an error reading it. So, by checking in the Flamingo Atlas of Tour du Valat (France) where one can find all the flamingo rings used up to and including last year, I can affirm that it was ringed in Sardinia in 2005.
And continuing on the subject of flamingos, yesterday was the annual flamingo ringing at Fuente de Piedra. I had been invited but discretion is better than after-effects if you've got knees like mine on the verge of permanent self-destruction. The photos are my own from a couple of years since to lighten this blog.
driving the chicks to the corral
However, the big chief, Manolo Rendón (a very good biologist and a thoroughly nice chap) rang me last evening to give account of their morning. He also gave me the results of the photographic census of the chick numbers, done from an aircraft and then taking lots of photos, splitting them up in to sections and then counting the dots, which according to Manolo was awful this year as there were so many sub-nurseries. However, it has been a record year with a grand total of 20.276 Great Flamingo chicks and to that one must add the 2 (two) chicks from the 2 pairs (yes, two pairs) of Lessers which bred and of which the young were doing fine when last controlled.
So, that's all folks until I get back from Blighty on late 19 August, having graced the Bird Fair with my presence and spread goodwill around whilst it will undoubtedly rain, temperatures will drop like the proverbial stone, skies will be grey and lowering and there may even be the odd tsunami! But that's an English summer when I'm there. Good birding!

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