29 September : Guadalhorce

Spotted Flycatcher from terrace
I know it's unusual that I venture down to the Guadalhorce on a Sunday morning and even more so at the relatively late hour of 0930, but as today is the saint's day of San Miguel - the patron saint of beer - plus I couldn't face the thought of more translating, it seemed to be the best solution. Further, there was the chance that there might be something of interest brought down after the rain in the wee small hours of 28 September and the generally cloudy conditions. Plus, yesterday from the terrace I had seen a few Barn Swallows and House Martins moving westwards, as well as a party of 5 Sand Martins and, rather surprisingly, 2 Common Swifts when one when rather expect Pallids at this date. In fact, late swifts are being recorded all over Spain this past week.
So, down to the Guadalhorce to have a look around I went, to see if there was anything interesting in the wader line in particular but all is grist to the mill but really everything was rather less than one might expect to see.
Ducks were less in both number than variety than I would expect by this date. After all, one can hardly get overly excited about 3 Teal, 2 Shovelers and 2 Gadwalls as well as a few Pochards and aroud 10 White-headed Ducks (all of these on the laguna Escondida).
There were a few Barn Swallows and House Martins and a single Red-rumped but no big numbers and no swifts at all. There were the more Grey Herons, at least 15, and Cormorant figures had jumped to the dizzy height of 5 birds!
Raptors meant 1 each of Osprey (nice), Booted Eagle and juv. Marsh Harrier. Hardly overwhelming stuff, is it? And there were no migrant passerines at all to liven the morning, although a Kingfisher will brighten any scene, however briefly.
As for prime target, waders, I could hear at least three different Greenshanks from different points and moving around until finally a flock of 4 went up and flew around, gaining height, all the time calling and they were joined by 2 more and they all flew off up valley, with a single bird being seen later at the laguna Grande. The  wader pond in front of the second hide along the east bank gave only 1 Stilt although in total there mist have been around 30 birds between the río Viejo and the laguna Grande, and the aforementioned Kingfisher!
The sea was flat calm and there were a few Yellow-legged Gulls, surprisingly not a single Lesser Black-backed, no Audouin's or Med. Gulls, and on the laguna Grande a Black-headed Gull still in full juvenile plumage, which is rather late.
Fortunately there were some waders, as well as 3 Flamingos, down on the río Viejo which went some way towards alleviating a not very great morning's birding but most were distant and against the light, which is always a pain (select own site for pain). So, I had to make do with a singles of Little Stint and Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlins, some 8-10 Kentish Plovers playing see-me-if you-can, as did the similar number of Little Ringed Plovers and around 10 Sanderlings. And not even a rotten Redshank!
Not a good morning with around 36 spp. seen, although I must have missed something. And I've still got the translations to carry one with!

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