Elena gave me an excited call from the terrace so I grabbed my camera and hurried out in time to see a pair of Bonellis Eagles circling and wheeling around above us.
As usual the camera settings were not quite right for this so it took me a frustrating minute or two before I was ready. Fortunately they were still up there, allbeit not as close. The photos are pretty good though, showing great detail of the lower plumage of the male and female birds. Bonellis Eagles are quite special as their numbers have declined quite drastically in recent years so it was a delight to see them.
On the previous day we had climbed a peak (castle Rock, top of Rio de la Miel valley) hoping to see and photograph the Alpine Swifts that I remember wheeling around the summit on past occasions. Unlucky this time, no swifts, so I contented myself with photos of one of the numerous Lacewings that were fluttering around on the steep and sunny slopes. This is the best of the bunch and I was quite pleased with it.
We agreed to meet Bob Wright at the gates of the Charca de Suarez at 6pm on Thursday. This has to be arranged in advance with contact details given for every visitor for corona virus contact tracing reasons. Once inside it was a very pleasant two hours with a few nice bird sightings.
The Turtle Dove shot here was taken at the Rio Guadalfeo picnic site where until this year there had been a long-standing dippers nest. Those days are gone unfortunately, all the vegetation on the bank around the nest site had been stripped bare, another casualty of habitat destruction by homosapiens.
There were still families of Spotted Flycatchers as usual, some with newly fledged young still in family groups. Here's one on top of an isolated stick, out in the open as is characteristic of this species.
Elena spotted a solitary Bee-eater on a dead tree branch, it makes a nice image without anything to clutter the frame.
Bob pointed out a single Ferruginous Duck, a male in very fine plumage, his eye shining bright in the evening sun.
This White Stork has been a resident feature at the Charca for a couple of years now. Apparently it has impaired flight due perhaps to an injury, but it survives very well in the wader pond, obviously finding enough food to sustain itself over a long period of time.
A single Glossy Ibis is a bit strange, I am used to seeing these birds in groups, they are quite social, so having one here at the Charca which is well off the usual beaten track for them is a bit odd. Perhaps it has a problem such as disease or injury, anyway it's always nice to see and adds to the list for the day.
This Pied Wagtail sat up so nicely with a beakful of insect food that I had to take its picture. This bird has a very extensive black bib but with grey upperparts as opposed to black, I guess it is technically a White Wagtail as opposed to Pied, but I call them all Pied out of habit.
Nightingales were quite numerous and although the singing season is over it's always nice to see this visually unobtrusive species. This one I captured in some undergrowth where he thought he was out of sight.
Red-knobbed Coots are a common feature here but it's worth posting a shot of one carrying some nest material in its beak. The Marsh Harrier below was one of a pair that was quartering the marshes just outside the boundary of the reserve, but I did come close enough for a worthwhile record shot.
Waxbills are escaped cagebirds which have flourished in Andalucia. This one is not the common variety but a Black-rumped Waxbill which is very slightly different, as the name suggests.
Finally, as it was time to leave we came across a Spanish lady holding a very healthy looking Chameleon. I don't think it's a good idea to handle animals, or birds, but well, there it was so I took a photo. Manu the warden asked that we didn't post the images on Facebook as it is not good practice to pick them up, however it seemed none the worse for wear and I doubt if it was harmed in any way.
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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