Apart from seeing some large raptors passing overhead on their way to Africa, the expected influx of migratory species has been late. A few Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff or two but little else. Our House Martins are still with us and I am still hearing Bee-eaters, but no new birds. So in the absence of anything more exciting to see I resorted to photographing Cattle Egrets "Jumping Sheep" as the rodeo riding became a bit extreme.
We had a walk round the Rio Velez on Thursday 24th with the Axarquia Group but the river is so overgrown it is difficult to see anything in all that cover. Some people did spot a Common Redstart, there were brief sightings of raptors including Booted Eagle and Sparrowhawk, David Jefferson and I saw something put up a host of seagulls which we think was a Peregrine Falcon, but we can't be sure. Common Waxbill was seen, Squacco and Green Sandpiper but no sign of the reported Spotted Crake.
Then on Sunday 27th Sept. things started picking up. We joined Bob on a visit to the Charca where we were confronted by Kingfishers perching nicely on the sticks in front of the new hide. I was amazed to see them actually hovering over the marshy water to the left of the hide. As I was watching this another hovering bird caught my eye, a Black Shouldered Kite! Probably the same bird we had spotted a couple of weeks ago and we did see it around during the morning, at times in company with a pair of Kestrels, always at a distance but clearly identifiable. I had no idea that either of these species could hover, the kingfishers in quite sustained bursts too.
Reed Warblers and Red Avadavats were showing well. Greenshank, Black Winged Stilt, Flamingo, wagtails, Egrets, Herons and a pair of Snipe on a grassy islet were all visible along with other common species. Our next photo opportunity however came from the Laguna del Trebol hide when a young Purple Swamphen traversed the pond right in front of us.
Other birds of note seen in the Reserve were a trio of Night Herons on the main lagoon, two of them youngsters. A Little Bittern, more Snipe, a late Spotted Flycatcher but interestingly no Chiffchaffs, I expect they will arrive en-masse soon. As we were leaving the BS Kite gave us another flypast so we elected to go through Turtle Dove Alley on the way home in the hope of seeing it over there. As it happens we did see a rather nice Whinchat standing tall in the long grass, and instead of the Kite a superb Montagu's Harrier took off from the fields ahead, I had just enough time to grab a quick record shot.
All in all it had been a good morning with over 40 species recorded. I could post more record shots of Snipe, or Night Heron, or Avadavat, but I prefer to sign off with another good shot of the Kingfisher that gave us such spectacular views from the start. Then home to lunch shared with Bob & Jenny to discuss the day and forthcoming events.