17 April : Guadalhorce, two points of view + Doñana Bird Fair update

Yesterday morning I had planned to meet up with Bob and his folks from the Axarquía group and as Ron also wanted to see Bob about something, I took him along with me, after which Ron went his own way upstream whilst I tagged along with Bob's gang and talked more than birded, although we did see some bits and pieces.
A Green Woodpecker had been seen the previous day -a very lost bird indeed! but we didn't see it, which is hardly surprising. There was a brief view fly-by view of a female Little Bittern at the laguna de la Casilla and all the usual ducks, but no Red-crested Pochards today. More unusual was the presence of a very late Snipe skulking on the far side whilst Reed Warblers were chizzing, clicking and churring away and there were snatches of Nightingales in song.
There was a dearth of waders generally, starting at the wader pool in front of the second hide along the east bank, although an adult Slender-billed Gull, bird of the day for me, flew over. Further down on the río Viejo there were a ones and twos of all three small plovers, plus a single Greenshank fast asleep right down at the far end and a Dunlin, plus 3 Common Sandpipers.  Round on the laguna Grande there were 3 more Dunlin, making as grand total of 4! There were good views of 2 Curlew Sandpipers, one of which was showing some signs of breeding plumage. There was still a single immature plumaged Cormorant, the rest having departed for more northerly waters. However, the suprise of the morning was the flyover of 5 Glossy Ibis, a goodly number as we are normally used to seeing one or two only.
Ron had gone off upstream as his wont and had a far better morning than myself as he walked all the way to the Guadalhorce train station, the one after the airport going towards Málaga. Apart from 8 Nightingales in full cry and 3 Reed Warblers, he turned up 3 Purple Boghens and saw the same 5 Glossy Ibises as they flew down over him towards us down as the Guadalhorce ponds.  A pleasant morning.
DOÑANA BIRD FAIR update: The latest information and timetabling for the Bird Fair at Dehesa de Aabajo between 1 and 4 May is available in English at www.donanabirdfair.es. I shall be giving my spiel on pelagic seabirds at 16.00 on 1 May, having the dubious privilege of opening the proceedings. It will be in Spanish but there are pretty pictures!

PS: 18 April - just had the first Woodchat Shrike for this year in the garden! ¡Toma ya! (= beat that)

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