06 July : Guadalhorce

Now that the balmy summer days are with us and that by 10.00 it's boiling, Federico and I were in to the Guadalhorce at just gone 07.30 this last Sunday morning. We didn't expect too much but nevertheless built up a respectable list of some 41 spp. during the 2 hours 30 were were in there.
young Stilt finding life hard
Waders, leaving aside the Stilts and the rather few Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers (subjeactively much fewer of each than last year at this time), theare was only a single Common Sandpiper which those bullies the Stilts chivvied around. But while to my eyes there were much fewer young plovers than  in previous years, the Stilts appear to have held their own very satisfactorily and there were plenty of young, some of which found life rather tiring as the photo shows. The pair of Avocets that started with four young have now reduced these to two juveniles which are capable of flight, to which you can add the parents plus 4 more adults, a total of 8.
We saw both Common and Pallid Swifts and  although it's hard to be sure, I had the feeling there was quite strong westerly drift. There were a few Barn Swallows and even fewer Red-rumped, although there were plenty of House Martins around, mainly under the bridge.
(L-R) male Ferruginous Duck, male White-headed Duck, Coot (sex unknown)
There had been reports during the week of two Ferruginous Ducks but we only saw the one bird, the male, plus a small selection of others which included Gadwall, Mallard (including a female with 5 ducklings), Pochard and the usual White-headed Ducks. As ever, it was nice to see Little Bitterns, a total of 8 birds it was reckoned , including a very visible juv. fishing in the laguna de la Casilla and a nice male at the laguna Escondida. There was a single Grey Heron which flew off upstream
The most interesting passerines in what is now the quite time with breeding over and moult starting were 3 Yellow Wagtails (2 juvs.) and one or two Reed Warblers still churring away, although they too are losing their vitality, and a single Melodious Warbler flew across the path.
We walke ddown to the seawatch mirador and watched a short while, turning up some 5 or 6 Cory's Shearwaters, altghough technically these Mediterranean birds are now more or less officially known as Scopoli's Shearwater from a recent split which I fail to find totally convincing, these possibly from colony in the Chafarinas Islands, plus a couple of Balearic Shearwaters winging their way out to the Atlantic.
All in all, not a bad morning considering the time of year and heat.
PS:  I forgot to add that last week, evening uncertain as I failed to ask him, my son (and possible heir if I don't blow it all on birding trips) plus two friends of his cycled through the reserve one evening on their way to El Palo and back and on the way back saw the Barn Owl plus two nightjars (sp. unknown) with greenish eyes glowing in the lights of their cycles.

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