May 2017 – Mouth of the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve

The Andalucia Bird Society meets at one of the classic Andalusian birding destinations: the Mouth of the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve. A few brave birders (Derek, Jerry, Mick, Jacinto and I) attended the first call of the field meeting at 6:00 to visit Zapata before dawn in search for the Red-necked Nightjars. It did not take long until we found the first one and I could manage to take a record picture with the invaluable help of Derek, acting as the perfect Lighting Manager.
Some more nightjars showed up while Nightingales sang from the river forest and Yellow Wagtails, Crested and Short-toed Larks gabbled from their roosting places. A number of Night Herons and Cattle Egrets flew upstream with the first lights of the day, when only Moorhens and a Common Sandpiper wandered about the ford in the river.
201705 Nightjar
Red-necked Nightjar

It was time for breakfast before a call to the reed bed with some more light. It gave us Reed and Cetti’s Warblers in the scrub and Common and Pallid Swifts and Barn Swallows in the air. The bird ringers had their nets set in the ditch and they had caught several finches like Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Serin.

At 9:30 the whole group began the visit to the mouth. We had great views of a Reed Warbler singing quite in the open by the river bank while a Sparrowhawk circled in the distance over Guadalmar. There were some Red-rumped Swallows flying among the House Martins near the bridge to the reserve.
We split the group in two and had a walk around the hides. My group headed to the Laguna Escondida where, apart from the typical White-headed Ducks, Pochards and Little Grebes, Lindsay spotted a Cuckoo that flew into a tamarisk where it sat for a moment before disappearing.
We went on towards the east end of the reserve. We looked for a Nightingale singing from the tamarisks and were lucky enough to find it in the shade, having great views of the concert through the scope.
201705 GullThere was a Spoonbill resting at the Laguna de Rio Viejo and lots of Black-winged Stilts everywhere. While scanning the Rio Viejo, two Spanish friends standing by the group discovered a Roller. It was sitting in a far distant tree and then another one began to fly around it until they finally got out of sight.
We walked across the beach towards the Laguna Grande. There were Crested Larks and several Kentish Plovers beyond the fence and a few Balearic Shearwaters flew grazing the sea to the west. Nothing new at the Laguna Grande but seven Slender-billed Gulls among the Black-headed ones.
After the group said goodbye, Lindsay and I went back to the Laguna Escondida where Derek’s group had spotted the Little Bittern a few minutes ago. We did not find it but had very nice views of the White-headed Ducks in display, a fast flight of a Kingfisher and the visit of a beautiful Bee-eater.
201705 DuckDerek’s group did very well too, with some more interesting views like Little Bittern, Turtle Dove, Red-crested Pochard, Razorbill, Orphean Warbler and Great Reed Warbler.
Another great birding day in a wonderful place in the best possible company!
 Luis Alberto Rodriguez


Complete list of birds observed:

1 Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus
2 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
3 Bee-eater Merops apiaster
4 Blackbird Turdus merula
5 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
6 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
7 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
8 Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
9 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
10 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
11 Coot Fulica atra
12 Crested Lark Galerida cristata
13 Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
14 Dunlin Calidris alpina
15 Gadwall Anas strepera
16 Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
17 Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
18 Greenfinch Chloris chloris
19 House Martin Delichon urbicum
20 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
21 Jackdaw Corvus monedula
22 Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
23 Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
24 Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
25 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
26 Linnet Carduelis spinus
27 Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
28 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
29 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
30 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
31 Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
32 Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
33 Night Heron Nycticorax Nycticorax
34 Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
35 Pallid Swift Apus pallidus
36 Pochard Aythya ferina
37 Razorbill Alca torda
38 Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
39 Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis
40 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
41 Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
42 Roller Coracias garrulus
43 Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
44 Serin Serinus serinus
45 Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
46 Slender-billed Gull Chroicocephalus genei
47 Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
48 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
49 Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor
50 Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
51 Swift Apus apus
52 Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
53 W. Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
54 White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala
55 Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
56 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahelis
57 Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

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