1 August, Guadalhorce

After a July which is best forgotten (excepting the afternoon up at Bob and Jenny's Golden Wedding do), and after a morning working on the penultimate illustration for the waterproof pelagic seabird book, an afternoon out, even in hot sunshine, seemed much needed. It was either that or murder at least two females in the family. So off I hied me to the Guadalhorce, with frankly very little hope in my heart but how mistaken I was going to be, as this brief entry will show.
Not a large total of spp., 34 of which no less than 10 were waders, which gives one a clue. Not that they were in massive numbers by any standard, that was left to the Black-headed and Audouin's Gulls along with a scattering of Med. and adult Lesser Black-backs - yes, early arrivals and at least 8 of them. A single Whiskered Tern on the laguna Grande was the only tern that I saw - and that after walking along the shore too - and it was the very devil to try and get even a half way decent shot.

The best was undoubtedly the waders and virually the first bird I saw when I arrived at the second hide which overlooks the ponds at the río Viejo was this little chap. Regrettably, the photo of this Marsh Sandpiper - always a good species to see and incredibly delicate, like porcelain - was against the light, like that of the Greenshank which it stood next to for a nice comparison shot. The there was a single Redshank and a flight of 5 vey nervous Dunlins which shot in like bullets. There were a couple of Curlew Sands. and a single, rather tatty, Grey Plover in full moult. There was a single Ringed Plover, back from breeding in the high north, and surprisingly only one or two Little Ringeds but still plenty of Kentish. Even the Stilts have given up their annual bout of hysterics even though there was one chick which couldn't have been more than 7 days old.

So, migration has started. I hope to get down to the La Janda area on Wednesday or Thursday and Friday afternoon-Saturday morning I shall be observing the annual flamingo ringing at Fuente de Piedra and so there will be some reports soon.

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