8 September : something after the idiot has struck!

No doubt, dear reader, you are wondering if I have totally flipped my lid with that title but not quite, although last Thursday evening I did (that was the greeen, luminescent cloud over Torremolinos around 23.10h). As that well known Scottish poet, Robert Burns, he so beloved of the true Russian communists before perestroika (= prehistory now) as expressing feelings of the down-trodden Scottish worker living on mashed tatties and bashed neeps, wrote, 'The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.'
This is all written in the vernacular so you'll have to work it all out for yourselves, but at 23.10 last Thursday evening, after spending the end of a long hour writing up two days' birding down at the Guadalhorce, hit the wrong button and instead of publishing it I deleted my efforts and I did not extend myself to saying 'Oh dear me.' Not flipping likely, I gave it the full range of my vocabulary, had a shower and sacked out.
It was impossible to get it done Friday and Saturday wasn't any better, so herewith a resumé of Wednesday, 05 September, down at the Guadalhorce with Federico, followed by another of the Thursday at the same place with Sandra, and to finish it all off, there will be a note on the trip that Federico and I made to Fuente de Piedra on the Friday morning. So, fasten your seat belts and off we go, although the entries for each will be brief.

04 September - Guadalhorce with Federico. The first Cormorant of the season welcomed us and Grey Heron numbers had reached double figures. There were still reasonable numbers of both Pallid and Common Swifts around and both Barn Swallows and House Martins were hanging on in there too. A couple of European Turtle Doves made fast, now-you-see-me, now-you-don't, which is hardly surprising given the persecution they suffer. Reed Warblers are moving through and we sawe and heard three or four. Ducks species were much the same as usual with nothing outstanding although there were 2 early Teal which zipped out at high speed.
This autumn the Guadalhorce really is being quite dire for waders with few in species and numbers. After all, one really can not get too worked up about 3 Little Stints, 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Redshanks with a single Turnstone was investigating a dried tussock on the laguna Grande. And while I like the small plovers, I'm getting just a bit bored with 38 or so Little Ringed and 7 Kentish. Gull numbers are much the same and while LB-bs are going up in number, Audouin's are going down, as are Mediterranean, whilst Black-headed remain fairly constant.
Total = 41 species.

05 September - Guadalhorce with Sandra. Locking the car keys in the car inside my rucksack did not make for an auspicious start and the total of species seen appeared to follow the trend, And it's not even the Ides of March! Little Ringed Plover numbers had fallen to 31and I forgot to count Kentish Plovers, but there can't have been more than 5 or 6. Dunlin numbers had halved 1 and Little Stints had fallen to 2. On the plus side there were actually 3 Redshanks and a single Spotted Redshank - this probably being the bird of the day whilst the Turnstone was still investigating the same dried tussock - it can't have been there all the time since the previous day, or can it? On the other hand, Common Sandpipers had risen to the dizzy heights of 4.
A Kingfisher did a single fast, low-level pass and was gone, whilst 2 Booted Eagles circled lazily around. With the addition of 2 or 3 Red-rumped Swallows, delightful birds, the swifts and swallows were much the same as the previous day.
Oh yes, I got home as my daughter's companion went to my place, got the spare car key and brought it out to me. He has gone up in my estimation.
Total = 28 species.

06 September - Fuente de Piedra with Federico. Bonb had been up to Fuente on Wednesday and reported lots of waders and variety on the large dried out pond behind the information centre, so we hied ourselves up there. The lake itself still has lots of water and is full of flamingos, mostly adults but with quite a lot of chicks. I have never, ever, in the 30 or so years, seen so many birds there, perhaps 30.000 or more? all spread out as far as the eye can see. It is worth a visit and is quite eye-catching, reminding one of photos of lakes in the Rift Valley.
As for other things, we had a juvenile Marsh Harrier, which was nice to see, as well as 3 Spoonbills and a juv,. and adult Night-heron. There were quite a few Shovelers on the laguna and also Black-necked Grebes and Coots all probably a portent of the numbers to come. Then it was time for the waders.
I didn't do much of count as the main troubkle with the hide that overlooks the laguna t the back, the pantaneto del Pueblo, is that in the morning one is looking into the sun and it is undoubtedly better for observation later in the day when the sun has gone round. However, that apart, we notched up 12 species of waders, which makes a nice change from 6 or so at the Guadalhorce: Avocet, Stilt, LRP, Lapwing, Snipe, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff. Well worth the trip and we finished off with a Melodious Warbler.
But do, if you have the time, go and have a look at the lake. It really is quite stunning.

Other news. Friday saw a huge passage of Honey Buzzards down in the Strait with some 20.000 logged going over to Africa. Dotterel have also been recorded on thre Los Lances beach last week. Closer to home, I had my first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn in the garden yesterday (07/09) and the Spotted Flycatcher is still around and the Rose-ringed Parakeets have returned after a summer sabbatical.
Finally, my sister has just rung from the beach south of Bridlington, East Yorkshire, to report Ostercatchers and a Lancaster bomber about which latter she got terribly excited.

I am now going to take great care and press the 'publish' button. Wish me luck as I press this goodby .....

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