05 October : some birding (at last!)

This is just a bit of a ramble about some birding that I have managed to get in at last, although there are no photos to make it nicer.
01 Octber: It all actually started when I opened my e-mails at 17.50 to find one from Ernest García with a copy of one to him from one John Hepworth who had been visiting the Guadalhorce that morning and asking me if I could get down there. Now, when one opens an e-mail like that and it says 'Solitary Sandpiper' (andarríos solitario) more or less at ones backdoor the old heart does a bit of flutter and backwards flip. So, grabbing camera, binocs and scope and shoving the dog in the car, I was down at the spot where it had been seen some 20 minutes later. I presume the speeding fines will come later.
I set up, scanned and there, on the opposite bank of the river some 30m away, was THE BIRD in question. I know the species well, as I saw them regularly in the Bahamas, long ago and far away. I got a pretty good description using my little 50mm Nikon with the 27xWW as the eyepiece of my Zeiss scope is being repaired. However, things went pear-shaped when I tried to take a photo of it and the tele wouldn't zoom or focus in and the battery then died. Which is why you might have happened to see a bluish cloud over the Guadalhorce last Thursday afternoon and then the bird was disturbed by some fishermen and flew off.
So home, and write up a proper description. I went down early Friday morning but no joy, and the same Saturday when I at least had the chance of meeting John, its finder and comparing observations, which have a coincidence level of around 99.5%. Which should make it acceptable as it will constitute the third Spanish record of this North American species.
04 October: Remembered the daughter's birthday which made me realise that I am not getting any younger at all, so I consoled myself by going down to the Guadalhorce to spread goodwill as it was BirdLife International's international bird weekend and SEO-Málaga put on their annual ringing and 'this is a bird display'. I wandered around as it got hotter and hotter, enjoyed seeing a pair of Ruff (combatientes) (male and female) which really showed up the sexual dimorphism (I'm still trying to find out what it means but it's neither vulgar not catching), saw some 18 Sanderling (correlimos tridáctilos) and a few Dunlin (correlimos común) and Ringed Plovers (chorlitejo grande). As seems to happen each year, there was an easterly trickle of Grey Herons (garzas reales), with a flock of 25 filtering through from the east of which many landed at the ponds, with a total of  43 between 09-13h.
A nice female Northern Wheatear (collalba gris) was along the shore and way out at sea a few Balearic Shearwaters (pardela balear) and rather more Cory's Shearwaters (pardela cenicienta).
I saw many old friends, the emphasis on the 'old' increasing year after year but none told of others dropping off the planet.
05 October: Went to Fuente de Piedra to pick up the text for correction of a book on Sooty Terns (charranes sombríos) in the Seychelles which incorporates the results of 40 years of studies of this pelagic tern by Chris Feare (we original seabirders stick together) and he had seen 2 Whinchats (tarabilla norteña) on the fence on the way in before me but they had gone by the time I arrived. However, checking the book'll keep me out of trouble for a a couple of weeks!
And it also rained! All the time! There was none of this 'gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath' stuff (Shakespeare), this was good, honest to God, rain. We walked in the rain and  saw nothing except a distant Southern Grey Shrike (alcaudón real) whilst my little dachshund had a wonderful time running at high speed and tripping over furrows (you would too if your legs were only 10 cms long*) and ate something disgusting into which I will not delve further. He was wet, happy and is currently fast asleep!
We also saw the high serang of Fuente, Manolo Rendón, who I have known for around 30 years and who filled me in on the breeding of this year, with 3 nests of Lesser Flamingos (flamenco enano), one a colour ringed bird which I believe comes from a Belgian collection.
And that, you might, think, woud be that, but once home and staring mindlessly at the garden a largish warbler flipped into the lonesome pine and within 20 minutes there were no less than 3 Garden Warblers (curruca mosquitera) and Western Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido Occidental), .

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