Outside the Reserve on the concrete road through the water meadows it was good to see a few Reed Buntings feeding on the tall grass seed heads.
It was good to see at least two Marsh Harriers around the Reserve, a healthy sign, also this Buzzard scanning the marshes
A quick visit to the Charca de Suarez today with no expectations, so the Pintail was a bonus, a very elegant duck and the first one I have seen here.
Elena´s sharp eyes picked out a solitary Sedge Warbler (or so I thought), from all the chiffchaffs in the reeds. My ID was happily corrected to Moustached Warbler by expert Mick Richardson. A very nice sighting of quite a rare little bird.
I had been hoping to see the jack Snipe that has been reported from here, but no such luck, so I made do with a Common Snipe that was wandering around on the island in front of the main hide.
And here´s another look at the Moustached Warbler. After all we don´t get to see many of these, a very special little LBJ. Thanks Mick.
A beautiful sunny day so Elena and I went to the Guadalhorce. Cormorants were the only birds present in large numbers. Best views of the day were of some Turnstones sorting through the beach detritus, ably assisted by a lone Sanderling who seemed very pleased with his prize shell.
The Turnstones were being quite successful in finding shells and tidbits so were too absorbed to take much notice of me with my camera, allowing me too get some nice close-ups.
Away from the beach was less interesting. Waders are just not turning up in any numbers this year and from the main hide all we spotted was a Common Sandpiper and a solitary Black-winged Stilt. There were plenty of Grey Herons and a cattle egret or two.
Wildfowl was represented by a few Teal, numerous Shoveler, White Headed Ducks, some Pochard and the ubiquitous Mallard.
Small birds were out and about foraging for food in the good weather conditions, but nothing of real interest showed up, just the usual resident species ie Goldfinch & Serin, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Crested Lark, Cettis & Sardinian Warbler, Robin, Zitting Cisticola, Crag Martin and of course starlings & sparrows galore.
Raptors sighted include the resident Osprey that apparently shows up to roost every day at 4 pm. A Booted Eagle, Kestrels and a single Marsh Harrier, none of which were close enough for a worthwhile photograph.
Having been away on a cruise with Bob and Jenny Wright there has no photography or birding activity for a while. However, while Elena was at the Orthodox Church in Marbella I drove over to Fuente de Piedra for the December outing of the Axarquia Bird Group.
A good day was had by all with over 50 species sighted, including an abundance of common Cranes, some of which were even visible from the Visitors Centre as they had ventured down to the edge of the Lagoon.
It was a cold, overcast day, the light not good for photography, but still enjoyable seeing large numbers of Flamingo spread right across the lagoon. Other waders however were almost entirely absent as all the fringe pools around the lake are still dry. A few Shelduck were visible, lots of Shoveler, Gulls galore, flocks of Lapwing and Marsh Harriers were the main birds of note visible from outside the Visitors Centre.
Small birds were few and far between with a pair of linnets being perhaps the highlight. The pool around the side of the building was full and from the hide we could see Black-necked as well as Little Grebe. Pochard and Teal added to our list and the resident Little Owl was roosting in a small tree visible from the hide.
We drove around to the Mirador which provided great views of a pair of white faced Marsh Harriers quartering the reed beds. A Black-shouldered Kite was also spotted which together with Kestrel and Common Buzzard added to the list of raptors.
Further along the road the fields revealed Cranes in the hundreds. It is encouraging to see so many here this winter, they are obviously breeding successfully and numbers appear to be up on last year.
A good day was had by all fifteen members of the Group and we enjoyed lunch in the Town Square, just in time to miss the onset of some pretty heavy rain which persisted for all of my trip back to collect Elena in Malaga. Perhaps it will fill some of the wader pools around the edge ogf the Lagoon to make Fuente even more attractive to birders.
Not much activity this week as we were quite busy, but my neighbor Mary-Anne Murphy shot these Blackcaps from her living room window. They seem to like this drain outlet, either for the water or for the minerals & salts it leaves behind. They also enjoy the fruits of a garden palm tree which would make a very nice picture but we will need a closer approach & will try again later.
I finally managed to photograph a raptor that has often been seen over our house recently. It was flying very high so the photo lacks detail, but the size and shape is more indicative of a Goshawk than the more common Sparrow Hawk, which is a very nice bird to see from the house.
A quick visit to the Charca de Suarez in Motril was very unproductive. It is sadly lacking the number and variety of birds that were there in 2011/12, I have no idea why. At least this Stonechat sat nicely for us, probably wanting to show off its new ring (not).
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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