Friends Derek and Barbara Etherton kindly offered to help us try for the Wryneck they had been seeing on their local patch at Zapata recently. This is a bird I have wanted to photograph for a long time but which continues to elude me, I knew it was a slim chance but there is always good birds to see at this spot by the Guadalhorce River near Malaga Airport.
We duly met at the Zapata Arches & transferred into Derek's very comfortable car before setting off in search of the target bird. In the event it was heard but not seen, which is a shame but the Common Redstart and a Zitting Cisticola in very good light helped to make up for it.
There were of course many other birds around, including a resident Osprey, this low flying Buzzard, Night Herons and a few waders on the Rio, but no visible Wryneck, oh well that's birding.
After a cup of coffee and very nice tapas at a local cafe we went to the Rio Grande up past Cartama. It was very dry but we did find a nice patch of water further upstream with a good selection of birds including a solitary Black Stork, a Great Egret along with a Grey Heron and several Little Egrets. I tried to get all of them in one frame but the Great Egret would not play ball. Here is a photo of the others however which makes a nice scene.
I drove to Chipiona for a pelagic trip organised by Oxyura Birding, originally planned for Sunday 25th Sept. then changed to Sat 24th because the boat skipper was concerned about the weather on 25th. Anyway I waited until the last minute to book a hotel near the port in Chipiona and drove up on the Friday to be ready for an 8 am sail on Saturday. Then at 3 pm while I was birding in Brazo-del-Este on the way to Chipiona I had a message that the skipper has changed his mind again and switched back to Sunday. I said no, too late. The weather forecast seemed reasonable for both days to me and so it proved, a nice fairly calm morning on Saturday would have been fine. I suggest Manuel of Oxyura Birding finds a different boat with a more competent skipper.
As it happens all was not lost, for a start Brazo-del-Este had plenty of water and lots of birds to see, including this nice male Yellow-crowned Bishop, and friend and fellow birder Derek Etherton told me he, Barbara and Ricky Owen would look for the Terek Sandpiper on Saturday morning that had been seen recently by the bridge in Barbate, so I decided to join them there.
Brazo-del-Este had many hundreds, if not thousands of Glossy Ibis, large numbers of Spoonbill, numerous Wood Sandpipers, the usual White Storks, Night Herons, Green and Common Sandpipers, waders such as Black Tailed Godwit, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Dunlin, Sanderling, Little and Cattle Egrets, Ruff etc. but no Black Storks and I only saw a single Marsh Harrier, also Squacco Heron was conspicuous by its absence. I will not post endless photos of waders which gets quite boring, just a Wood Sandpiper which is not so common.
Small birds were interesting, as well as the Yellow-Crowned Bishop here is one of the many Whinchats, a Zitting Cisticola, a nice Northern Wheatear and one of the many Pied Flycatchers which have been abundant this Summer.
The bird below is a female Black-headed Weaver, not a great photo but I am always fascinated with the large staring eyes of this introduced species, which is breeding very successfully here along with other non native species such as waxbills and large flocks of Yellow-crowned Bishops.
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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