Friday, 28 August 2009

Motril Marshes

27 August 2009

Again I went down early to Motril, well, with the new motorway finished
I can be there in 25 mins. Left at 7.30am and was at the Motril marshes by 8.00. Walked round the tracks and first spotted a juvenile Woodchat Shrike on the wire. Lots of Cattle Egrets were about this morning and were perch in various places. Looking upward there flew over 15 Grey Herons heading toward the reserve. Shame it doesnt open this time in the morning during weekdays...never mind. Walking further i disturbed a couple of Mallards, but just then I saw a bright yellow blob fly into the green reeds. I knelt low and started to creep closer so as not to disturb. It was the Yellow Bishop! I was able to get quite close until it flew away, but what an amazing little bird to see in the wild. The yellow is the deepest, purist yellow one could imagine! Fantailed warblers and Goldfinch were about and then I saw the Red Avadavat's in the reeds again. This is a guanteed place to see these little fellows. Beautiful to watch. I decided to get in the car and drive a little more along some of the tracks, often the car serves as a good hide. I wasnt too long in the car when i saw a rather large bird on a concrete post. Was it a kestrel? Well it kind of looked like one, but as I got closer and looking through the bins, I noticed it had some blue markings! Looking at the head it resembled a bee-eater, then it dawned on me it was probably a Roller. I drove ever so slow and got a good view to confirm it was, I think, a juvenile Roller. Took some photos and tried to get closer, and t he amazing thing was, that it didnt fly away. It just kept looking at the car and I was able to get about 3 metres from the bird until it eventually flew to the next post. Again I stalked it again and watched it for ages. I had only ever seen one once before, and that was high on a wire in Almeria. It was getting hot now so was happy to call it a day and get back to view my pics on the PC.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Charca de Suarez Reserve, Motril

24 August 2009

Went down to Charca again today, especially as Bob Wright yesterday had seen a Yellow-crowned Bishop. Went to the Motril Marshes first and saw the usual Puprple
Heron take to the air as it detected my presence. On the wire above me flew a juvenile Woodchat Shrike, then darted to the ground after its prey. Walking around saw good sightings of the Avadavats, but too far for interesting photos. These are wonderful birds to look at, the red is just hypnotizing! Few Cattle Egrets were about and a few Sedge Warblers. On the road were a dozen Turtle Doves, reluctant to move as I drove nearer to them. Next I went to Charca reserve. All was quiet here and as I approached the hide where the ducks rest, they sensed I was there and about 15 took to flight. Barn Swallows were skimming over the water catching the insects. In the reeds I noticed a Little Bittern in stealth mode. Just then a splash of pure yellow few over the reeds as the Yellow-crowned Bishop came into sight and then disappeared into the long grass again. I wouldnt of been able to make a positive ID, if not to have seen Bob Wrights excellent photos of this bird the day before. On to the main hide and there was plenty to see. Over on the right, in the far corner there were two Night Herons. In the tall trees I saw a flock of Grey Herons, some of them where flying into the lake and landing in the water. Just then I noticed something move right in front of the hide, it was a Little Bittern. Never realised just how "little" these herons are! He was amazing! Then I heard the familiar sound of the Kingfisher, then spotted him on a nearby reed. Shame the light was directly behind him as the photo came out as a silohette. Then he flew to the main island in front of the hide and I got a few shots. Couldnt stay long so it was time to make tracks, but an enjoyable few hours.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Reported by Luke.

We met a friend of ours Marc Anderson at Leroy Merlin store at 7:30am. We headed off to the bridge where I heard a Robin and we saw two Spoonbills in the distance and a couple of Mallards floating in the water. Then we headed into the reserve and we got to the first hide were there was another Spoonbill and also a few Black-winged Stilts also two Little Grebes. We looked in the distance at the Osprey tree were we saw a bird that was in a shape of a Falcon, so Marc got his spotting scope and confirmed that it was a Male Peregrine Falcon, so we all looked at him and got very good views of the Peregrine sitting very calmly in the tree.

We headed off to the second hide and there were 6 White headed Ducks on the pond. Carrying on to the next hide we saw a beautiful view of a Juvenile Woodchat Shrike and then Marc spotted something in the bush and it was a Yellow and Black bird and he confirmed later it was a Black-headed Weaver bird. So continuing, we saw a Beautiful Female Kestrel sitting peacefully and then about 2 minutes later a Female Sparrowhawk flew about 3 meters away.

We got to the next hide and there wasn't much on the pong just a Juvenile Black-winged Stilt and a Coot. So again carrying on to the next hide we saw Kentish, Little ringed and Ringed Plovers, also Curlew Sandpiper and Stilts also Common Sandpiper with a really good shot of a Kingfisher perched and Little Egrets in the pond. We looked at the Osprey tree again and the sun was facing the other way and the Peregrine was still sitting there and we looked through the scope and got some amazing views of this bird of prey as it was hunting along the field and perching again, we were all watching him for about 15 minutes and then he flew up river.
And so we walked back to the car and as we were on the motorway going over the bridge when we saw the Booted Eagle flying over the river. Amazing day all together. 25 Species all together.

Bird List: Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Spoonbill, Mallard, Black winged Stilts, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, White headed Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Woodchat Shrike, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Egret, Kentish Plover, Little ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Kingfisher, Booted Eagle, Monk Parakeets, Black-headed Weaver.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Charca de Suarez Reserve, Motril

14 August 2009

Luke and I spent an enjoyable evening with Bob Wright at Charca de Suarez Reserve in Motril. We had never been there before, but had heard good reports about the place. The main objective was to see the Avadavat's or the Bengali Rojo. A beautiful small red bird! After a little wait for the reserve to open, the gates were unlocked and we set out in a anti-clockwise direction visiting the hides. Nothing exciting at the first hide, just a few Mallards in the distance. Walking to the second, a Nightengale flew across our path and hid in one of the bushes. Flycatchers were active in the trees above. In the second hide we came across three ringers who had been there all day, but they said it had been rather quiet. On the other side of the pond we spotted what was a Squacco Heron, but then deserned it was a Little Bittern. This was a first sighting for Luke and myself of this bird. We then got to the main hide. Quite a few people where watching from this location as there was more activity on the water. After a couple of minutes we saw a Kingfisher skim over the pond and land on a reed. From here he began to dive into the water to fish. In the far tree, there must of been 20+ Grey Heron's all roosting there. It was good to watch the Little Egrets fly in on the little island on the lake. Grey Wagtails were flying about low over the water in search of insects. Coots and Moorhens were happy doing what they do, while a juvenile Night Heron was watching the world go by. Did we see the Avadavat's at the reserve? No, but earlier we had seen them at a pond on the outskirts of Motril, very near the reserve. Maybe next time we will see them.

Birdlist: Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Purple Heron, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Moorhen, Coot, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gull, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Rock Dove, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, White Wagtail, Barn Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher, Nightingale, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

RSPB Baron Haugh & RSPB Lochwinnock, Scotland.

26 July 2009

As we had a week in Scotland, we thought we would check out some of the local RSPB centres in the area. The first stop was Baron Haugh near Motherwell. We arrived around 6am and walked to the reserve where there are 4 hides surrounding the lake. At the first hide we didnt see much until after about 15mins, Luke spotted a kingfisher in the distance. It began to fly from reed to reed, giving us beautiful views through the binos. We watched it as it plunged into the still water and fly out onto the reed. Fish in mouth it started to beat the fish on the reed before swallowing it. If only it was closer I would of taken the camera out, but still the next 20 mins gave us so much pleasure as we watched it hunt. All around us wrens were chirping away. So on to the next hide. Here we saw Lapwings and a lone Mute swan. In the distance were a couple of Oystercatchers feeding away. Onto the third hide and we were greeted with a treat as out of the reeds came a Waterrail. This was a first for both of us so we were over the moon to see this bird. All in all we saw 27 species here at Baron Haugh. Then on to Lochwinnock which is at the other end of Glasgow. The loch was very quiet this time of year. We were hoping to see some Great Crested Grebes, but only could see one about a mile away in the distance, even a scope would of had difficulty finding it! The RSPB centre had a photographic hide, kitted out with chairs and camo covering the windows. Again slightly disapointing as the weather wasn't good and the light was poor, but we still managed to get some shots of the usual garden birds. The highlight was when a male Sparrowhawk perched himself on a nearby fence and feasted his eyes on the tiny blue tits and Great tits. Another first sighting for us was in the form of a Lesser redpoll. He appeared for about 3 seconds before flying off never to return. I am happy that I just happened to have the camera ready and so got a half decent shot. We decided to have a walk round the trails surrounding the loch, and came across a Great-spotted woodpecker climbing up one of the trees. Back at the hide he came on a nearby post and I quickly was able to get a few shots off. These are beautiful birds with the red against a pattern of black and white. Here we saw 13 species and so at the end of the day we had totalled 40 species at the 2 reserves.

Birdlist: Lapwing, Magpie, Mute Swan, Common gull, Black headed gull, Wood pidgeon, Great tit Blue tit, Raven, Starlings, Wren, Kingfisher, Sedge Warbler, Mallard, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Waterail, Great Black-back Gull, Common Sandpiper, Wood Warbler, Long-tailed tit, House Martin, Greenfinch, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Siskin.