13 February : Charca de Suárez (Motril, Granada)

female Little Bustard
This blog is very late, even by my standards of tardiness (tardiness, not Tardis) but I have been and am trying to get the damned book finished by the end of April. Therefore, you can read all about the trip in Bob Wright's blog at http://birdingaxarquia2.blogspot.com as well as see some more photos, most of which are better than mine. So here goes.

Bird of the day was undoubtedly a female Little Bustard which had left the steppes having decided to become an aquatic species. This, hardly surprisingly, was a first for the reserve. My friend Jorge Garzón tells me that there are a couple of records of the species from the Vega de Motril, the flat agricultural lands.

There were hundreds of Chiffchaffs feeding wildly on the insects which the sunshine had brought out. Once one starts to look at them itd is quite amazing the variety of of plumages that they show, which incuded one verty grey and white bird of which I could not get a photo but which made me think of one of the eastern races,  examples of which do turn up in Spain. Enjoying the mass if insect life were a few White Wagtails.


There was a very showy Purple Boghen and some rather tired/bored looking Cormorants. Of interest there is the presence of what used to be called Crested Coots but are now more accurately called Red-knobbed Coots. These are a part of the reintroduction of this once very scarce species. Three pairs of marked birds (white collar with numeric code) were released and whike in 2014 they laid 9 eggs but only one chick got to maturity due to predation, either by gulls or by rats. 
However, this unmarked bird is still present and appears to be paired with a marked one, although what the genetic links are I know not and one hopoes that there will be little risk of endgamia. The photos below show the marked bird. Note that the little red knobs shrink outside the breeding season but bluish bill colouration is a good i/d guide against the white of the normal Coots..

And I nearly forgot this little Hyla tree frog, whose correct name I do not know so shall call him Paco instead. It seems reasonably appropriate.

 Not a lot but better than now't!

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