The main hide by comparison was relatively uninteresting. Too many Cormorants, seven Pochard, numerous Shoveler, Two Black-winged Stilts, a Purple Swamphen, plenty of Grey Herons, Gulls, Coots, Moorhens, Mallard and some recently arrived Barn Swallows and House Martins had joined the Crag Martins.
Apart from the Moustached Warbler the Laguna del Trebol had the usual four Red-knobbed Coots plus a solitary Teal to add to our list. Not to mention the Pied Wagtail, chiffchaffs and stonechats, oh and a Kestrel surveyed the scene from a nearby tree.
Five members of the Axarquia Bird group arrived together at the Charca de Suarez on a blustery Sunday morning hoping for some surprises, and we were not disappointed. Elena´s hawk eyes picked up Moustached Warblers at the Laguna del Tirage and later at Laguna del Trebol.
It was nice to see a pair of Marsh Harriers around the Reserve, but the best surprise was the sight of a Little Crake on the Laguna del Lirio, after a two year absence, along with the warbler another first for Mary-Anne Murphy.
The Laguna del Lirio is usually the least productive pond, but not today. As well as the Crake a Kingfisher was catching fish near the far bank. Alan & Yvonne spotted a Little Bittern flying across and disappearing into the reeds. A very handsome blue-headed Yellow Wagtail gave us good views and Purple Swamphens were visible, across the water.
We finally managed to fit a day´s birding into our busy schedule, and a very good day it was too. We headed east, stopping at Las Norias/Roquetas de Mar on the way to Cabo de Gata to look for the Dotterel that Mick Richardson had reported recently. And there they were, giving us superb views (once they got used to the car).
However, no matter how close the bird & how good the light, the Dotterel is just not photogenic. Some birds are not. They blend in well with their background in browns and greys and do not stand out boldly. Never mind, it´s a lifer, and we were delighted to pass a pleasant hour watching a new species.
As well as Dotterel, there were groups of Golden Plover and Curlew foraging in the scrub behind the beach. Large flocks of Meadow Pipit and Starling were also finding something worthwhile here too, which all made for a really good birding experience.
The ponds at Las Norias had been fruitful with Flamingo, Avocet, Shelduck, Red Crested and Common Pochard, Wigeon, Shoveler, Black-necked Grebe, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Marsh and Hen Harrier, Buzzard and a host of other common species I can´t be bothered to name.
After the beach near Retamar we continued on to the Salinas at Cabo de Gata which held many of the same species we had seen at Las Norias, including far greater numbers of Flamingo. We also added Grey Plover in the fields near the far hide, Black-tailed Godwit, Spoonbill, Southern Grey Shrike, and last but not least a new bird in Spain for me, the single Brent Goose that Dave Elliot-Bins had seen last week. Distant but a definite ID on this rare visitor from the north.
Retired seafarer living in Frigiliana, a white village in Malaga Province in southern Spain. Married to Elena. Keen bird and wildlife watchers.
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