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The Route of 100 Birds (Malaga, Southern Spain)

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Old Wednesday 26th April 2017, 10:03   #1
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Location: Costa del Sol (Southern Spain)
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The Route of 100 Birds (Malaga, Southern Spain)

The Andalucia Bird Society Malaga Team meets again for a very profitable Big Day.

Click here for the complete list of 111 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/6...ain-2017-04-25

Despite we still need a lot more rain in the region before summer, the countryside is looking great and birds are openly showing up.

Our first tick on the list was a Blackbird singing at the Plaza mayor car park where Mick, Barbara, Derek and I met at 5:30 for an early start at Montes de Malaga. This time we did not have to wait for the hooting of the Tawny Owl there in the hills as we could see one of them jumping from the road to a pine tree on our way up. Other night singers were Scops Owl, Nightingale and Woodlark.

The break of dawn was spectacular, full of calls and songs, and we could identify most of the typical forest birds with only few exceptions. But the day was very promising and we were sure we will not miss them at the end.

Next stage was El Torcal. There are no words to describe this site at this time of year. After spotting our first W. Orphean Warbler of the day, Derek found a young Golden Eagle flying in and out of a close ridge until it finally flew over us for the most exciting moment of the day. After that, the visit left most of the targets like Melodious , Subalpine, Bonelli’s and Spectacled Warblers, Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Black and Black-eared Wheatears, Thekla Lark and Griffon Vultures.

The Fuente de Piedra Lake is the best indicator of the rainfall shortage. Nevertheless, life goes on there and both Greater, and Lesser!, Flamingos, and migrating waders get the necessary resources for breeding and travelling. Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlins and Little Stints were looking gorgeous in their almost summer plumages. Black and Whiskered Terns were also stopping over the Laguneto, where we could watch Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Red-crested Pochards, White-headed Ducks, Marsh Harrier, Great Reed Warbler and the last Shovelers and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Everything was going very well and we were very close to the 100 birds target when we went across the farmlands. A few more species, including my first Turtle Dove of the season came out until we were only two species to go. Then, a very close male Little Bustard showed up in a field full of Calandra Larks that rounded up our list to 100.

The list was completed in the farmlands and the Valley of the Guadalhorce (we did not visit the mouth of the river this time!) with eleven more species, including great views of Short-toed Lark, Montagu’s Harrier, Spanish Sparrow and Alpine Swift.
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Old Thursday 11th May 2017, 15:26   #2
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2017.05.09)

Julie and Ian got a glimpse of all the different habitats in The Route of 100 Birds.

Click here for the complete list of 91 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/6...ain-2017-05-09

With a very early start near Comares, were Julie and Ian are staying, we visited Montes de Malaga, El Torcal, Fuente de Piedra Lake, farmlands and Valley of the Guadalhorce.

It was nice to hear the Nightingale with the engine of the car and the lights off in the little road to Montes de Malaga. A Red-necked Nightjar flew in front of the lights and we could also hear it later on with Scops and Tawny Owl in the woodlands.

Apart from the interesting birds El Torcal is hosting at this time of year, of which Griffon Vulture, Thekla Lark, Rock Sparrow, Black-eared Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush are good examples, the point of the visit was the presence of a gorgeous male of Rock Thrush. I wish it stays over there...

Some Greater Flamingos were feeding very close to the Visitors Centre at Fuente de Piedra and we could also spot a Lesser one in the lake bed. The Laguneto showed Gull-billed Tern, White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Black Tern and Avocet, among others. A big flock of Black Kites soared over the car park.

The farmlands produced great views of two second calendar year male Montagu’s Harriers and Calandra Larks, there were very beautiful Bee-eaters by the road at El Chorro and we could spot Lesser Kestrel and Short-toed Eagle at the Valley of the Guadalhorce to round off a great birding day.
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Old Sunday 21st May 2017, 12:42   #3
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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One Year of Birding Big Days on the Route of 100 Birds

It is one year ago that the “Andalucia Bird Society (ABS) Malaga Team”, formed by Barbara & Derek Etherton, Mick Smith and myself, got engaged in the challenge of spotting 100 birds in one single day. The idea came from Derek, who had just taken over as editor of our ABS’s Birds of Andalucia magazine and wanted to encourage a bit of healthy competition among members in different provinces by means of this kind of birding “big days”.

Click here for the best pictures of one year of Birding Big Days: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/6...southern-spain

“The Route of 100 Birds” travels around the triangle formed by the city of Malaga, the Fuente de Piedra Lake and Ardales, including the Montes de Malaga, El Torcal and Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes (El Chorro) nature reserves, the farmlands surrounding Campillos and the Mouth and Valley of the Guadalhorce River. This is possibly the most biodiverse region in Southern Europe though nobody relates this natural heaven with a sun-and-beach world class tourist destination like the Costa del Sol.

We carried out our first tour on March 8th for a very good record of 107 species. We did extremely well in a very good month for birdwatching just in the middle of the spring migration but, would it be possible to consistently get 100 birds every month of the year in this region? I kept doing this exercise once a month from then on, sometimes with the invaluable help of the ABS Malaga Team’s eyes, and you can see the results in Table 1.

100 or more birds were recorded every month with the only exception of December and January. The table compares the number of birds observed on every tour with the total number of regular species present every month in Malaga province according to the Collins Bird Guide (L. Svensson et al.), Las Aves de la Provincia de Málaga (Manuel Garrido Sánchez et al.) and my own experience as a birding guide in this area (Chart 1 splits the total number of birds present every month according to their status: (R)esident, (W)intering, (S)ummer and (M)igrant).

The poor results of December and January have had more to do with my lack of experience to run the “big days” in the shortest days of the year than with the own existence of birds as Chart 1 shows.

Table 2 shows the list of all the species observed during the 12 tours between March 2016 and February 2017: 199 different species! The only birds observed that I do not consider as birds of Malaga were a Marbled Duck (17/6/2016 – Fuente de Piedra Lake) and an Ortolan Bunting (28/9/2016 – El Torcal). The base of the list is 45 species that were spotted 11 or 12 times, including birds like Black-winged Stilt, Cattle Egret, Corn Bunting, Crag Martin, Crested Lark, Greater Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Hoopoe, Serin, Thekla Lark, White-headed Duck and Zitting Cisticola. Some of the common winter birds were Bluethroat, Crane, Mediterranean Gull and Water Pipit, while Bee-eater, Black-eared Wheatear, Melodious Warbler, Nightingale, Pallid Swift, Red-necked Nightjar, Scops Owl, Short-toed Eagle, Subalpine Warbler and Woodchat Shrike were listed at least in four occasions during the summer months, with Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and Booted Eagle amounting to 9 observations.

Running “big day” tours is just a way to show the big birding potential of The Route of 100 Birds though the best way to enjoy the region is taking one day trips to every one of the destinations described below. One week tours around this area can provide extraordinary results and become a pleasant birding experience all year long.


Table 1. Number of birds observed per day

Date (1) (2) %
March 2016 08/03/2016 107 207 52
April 2016 22/04/2016 117 210 56
May 2016 18/05/2016 106 179 59
June 2016 17/06/2017 100 155 65
July 2016 20/07/2016 106 164 65
August 2016 17/08/2016 107 193 55
September 2016 28/09/2016 113 213 53
October 2016 14/10/2016 106 213 50
November 2016 16/11/2016 100 168 60
December 2016 21/12/2016 83 154 54
January 2017 18/01/2017 82 154 53
February 2017 27/02/2017 101 167 60
(1) Number of species observed in the day
(2) Number of regular species present that month


Table 2: List of birds observed between Mar 2016 - Feb 2017

Species Scientific name #Ob
1 Alpine Swift Apus melba 3
2 Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii 3
3 Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 7
4 Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cooki 3
5 Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 2
6 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 9
7 Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica 1
8 Bee-eater Merops apiaster 5
9 Black Kite Milvus migrans 4
10 Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros 12
11 Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1
12 Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura 7
13 Blackbird Turdus merula 12
14 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla 12
15 Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica 4
16 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 12
17 Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 4
18 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 3
19 Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus 2
20 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 12
21 Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius 9
22 Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus 11
23 Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 5
24 Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata 7
25 Booted Eagle Aquila pennata 9
26 Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra 3
27 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 11
28 Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti 12
29 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs 12
30 Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita 7
31 Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 5
32 Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus 9
33 Coal Tit Periparus ater 9
34 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 12
35 Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola 1
36 Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 9
37 Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra 11
38 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 9
39 Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild 6
40 Coot Fulica atra 12
41 Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 7
42 Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra 11
43 Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 12
44 Crane Grus grus 5
45 Crested Lark Galerida cristata 12
46 Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus 9
47 Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 1
48 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 4
49 Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata 8
50 Dunlin Calidris alpina 6
51 Eagle Owl Bubo bubo 1
52 Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus 1
53 Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca 2
54 Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla 8
55 Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 12
56 Gadwall Anas strepera 10
57 Gannet Morus bassanus 6
58 Garden Warbler Sylvia borin 1
59 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 3
60 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 3
61 Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria 2
62 Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis 12
63 Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 1
64 Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 8
65 Great Egret Casmerodius albus 3
66 Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus 3
67 Great Skua Stercorarius skua 2
68 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major 11
69 Great Tit Parus major 12
70 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 8
71 Green Woodpecker Picus viridis 12
72 Greenfinch Chloris chloris 12
73 Greenshank Tringa nebularia 8
74 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 10
75 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 4
76 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 7
77 Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus 12
78 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 3
79 Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes 4
80 Hoopoe Upupa epops 12
81 House Martin Delichon urbicum 8
82 House Sparrow Passer domesticus 12
83 Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus 1
84 Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis 5
85 Jackdaw Corvus monedula 9
86 Jay Garrulus glandarius 8
87 Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 8
88 Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 11
89 Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 4
90 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 6
91 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 9
92 Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor 1
93 Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 3
94 Linnet Carduelis cannabina 10
95 Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus 2
96 Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax 3
97 Little Egret Egretta garzetta 12
98 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 12
99 Little Owl Athene noctua 4
100 Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 9
101 Little Stint Calidris minuta 2
102 Long-eared Owl Asio otus 1
103 Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus 8
104 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 12
105 Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris 1
106 Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 7
107 Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 6
108 Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 5
109 Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta 4
110 Merlin Falco columbarius 1
111 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus 9
112 Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus 11
113 Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus 3
114 Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 12
115 Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 2
116 Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos 5
117 Nuthatch Sitta europaea 11
118 Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana 1
119 Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2
120 Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 1
121 Pallid Swift Apus pallidus 5
122 Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus 1
123 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 7
124 Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca 2
125 Pintail Anas acuta 1
126 Pochard Aythya ferina 12
127 Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio 2
128 Quail Coturnix coturnix 2
129 Raven Corvus corax 10
130 Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina 5
131 Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa 10
132 Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis 4
133 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 9
134 Redshank Tringa totanus 8
135 Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus 3
136 Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus 5
137 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 8
138 Robin Erithacus rubecula 12
139 Rock Bunting Emberiza cia 8
140 Rock Dove Columba livia 3
141 Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 4
142 Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis 1
143 Roller Coracias garrulus 1
144 Ruff Philomachus pugnax 6
145 Rufuous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes 1
146 Sand Martin Riparia riparia 2
147 Sanderling Calidris alba 6
148 Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 5
149 Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala 12
150 Scopoli's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea diomedea 3
151 Scops Owl Otus scops 4
152 Serin Serinus serinus 11
153 Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 11
154 Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus 5
155 Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla 2
156 Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla 12
157 Shoveler Anas clypeata 11
158 Siskin Carduelis spinus 3
159 Slender-billed Gull Chroicocephalus genei 2
160 Snipe Gallinago gallinago 7
161 Song Thrush Turdus philomelos 2
162 Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis 3
163 Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 7
164 Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata 4
165 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 4
166 Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor 12
167 Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 4
168 Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1
169 Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus 6
170 Stonechat Saxicola torquatus 12
171 Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans 5
172 Swift Apus apus 6
173 Tawny Owl Strix aluco 6
174 Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris 1
175 Teal Anas crecca 8
176 Thekla Lark Galerida theklae 11
177 Turnstone Arenaria interpres 4
178 Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur 5
179 Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta 4
180 Western Bonelli’s Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli 3
181 Western Olivaceous Warbler Iduna opaca 2
182 Western Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis 3
183 Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 3
184 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 1
185 Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 1
186 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 2
187 White Stork Ciconia ciconia 2
188 White Wagtail Motacilla alba 10
189 White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala 11
190 Whitethroat Sylvia communis 1
191 Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 12
192 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 2
193 Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator 5
194 Woodlark Lullula arborea 1
195 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 10
196 Wryneck Jynx torquilla 1
197 Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 8
198 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahelis 12
199 Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 11
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"I use a compact camera and no hide photography. These are the birds as you can see them in my birding tours"
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Old Sunday 21st May 2017, 13:48   #4
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Very interesting Luis Alberto. Would you be willing to let me have details your best sites on this route for: Red-necked Nightjar, Rufous Bush Robin, Green Woodpecker & Western Olivaceous Warbler?
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Old Thursday 25th May 2017, 17:59   #5
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Hi Pete.

Red-necked Nightjars are common in summer anywhere there are dirt tracks. For Green Woodpeckers, Montes de Malaga is a good place; the earlier you get, the easier to hear their calls and look for them. Western Olivaceous Warblers are also common in all the lower Valley of the Guadalhorce, normally around tamarisk stands. Sorry about the Rufous Bush Robin, I promised not to reveal their location.

Good birding!
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Old Thursday 25th May 2017, 18:08   #6
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Bird watching Big day on The Route of 100 Birds (2017.05.24)

Juvenile birds, the colour of the countryside and the dry lakes tell spring time is coming to its end...

Click here for the complete list of 103 birds observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/6...ain-2017-05-24

The highlight of the day took place at Montes, before dawn, when, after hearing the songs of the Woodlark, an European Nightjar has been recorded for the first time in our Big days making it bird 200!

Our performance at Montes and El Torcal has been great today, with a total amount of 57 species. We had nice views of a Booted Eagle sitting on a Cork Oak and a Short-toed one perched on a Pylon on our way to El Torcal. There, we could spot most of our summer gems there like Melodious, Subalpine, Spectacled and Orphean Warblers, Black-eared Wheatear and Woodchat Shrike.

The Fuente de Piedra Lake is almost dry so many Flamingos visit the Laguneto and get closer than usual. There was a good presence of Gull-billed Terns and Red-crested Pochards, and a few White-headed Ducks and Kentish Plovers.

This time, Calandra Lark, Hoopoe and Montagu’s Harrier showed up in the farmlands. There were 90 birds on the list at this time of the day.

From then on, El Chorro left Spanish Sparrow, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Alpine Swift and Rock Dove, while we found Lesser Kestrel, Turtle Dove, Bee-eater, Little Egret (number 100!), Little Ringed Plover, Cattle Egret and Night Heron in the Valley of the Guadalhorce, to complete the list of 103 species.
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Old Thursday 25th May 2017, 22:00   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP View Post
Hi Pete.

Red-necked Nightjars are common in summer anywhere there are dirt tracks. For Green Woodpeckers, Montes de Malaga is a good place; the earlier you get, the easier to hear their calls and look for them. Western Olivaceous Warblers are also common in all the lower Valley of the Guadalhorce, normally around tamarisk stands. Sorry about the Rufous Bush Robin, I promised not to reveal their location.

Good birding!
Hi Luis Alberto, thank you very much for the reply and the useful information. I totally understand about keeping the Bush Robin site quiet.
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Last edited by foresttwitcher : Thursday 25th May 2017 at 22:01. Reason: Addition.
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Old Sunday 25th June 2017, 16:46   #8
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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June Birding Big day around the Route of 100 Birds (2017.06.21)

We were not as lucky with “June surprises” as we were last year...

Click here for the complete list of 92 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/6...ain-2017-06-21

It is obvious that most of this season breeding is over judging by the lack of night singers before dawn (except the Red-necked Nightjar), and around the Fuente de Piedra Lake and farmlands.

The last week was much hotter than usual (it was very hot in the afternoon today as well) and it is the third year of a worrying drought.

All this made it more difficult this time to get 100 species though I could still enjoy many lovely birds as you can read from the list.
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Old Wednesday 26th July 2017, 07:25   #9
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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July Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2017.07.23)

My nephew Liam and I had a great bird watching day and got very close to the target of 100.

Click here for the complete list of 97 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/6...ain-2017-07-23

It was a hard day birding. After breeding and in the middle of their moulting process, birds are behaving very shy. Even the early morning “burst” of songs and calls was very poor today, with the Wood Pigeon waking up the first.

It was very hot in the afternoon; you can have a look at the picture of the Hoopoe resting in the shade of an olive tree!

On the other hand, we could record the return of some wintering birds like Green Sandpipers in good numbers and even a few Cormorants at the Guadalteba reservoir, while the Rio Viejo, at the Mouth of the Guadalhorce, is recovering its typical summer splendour with Black-headed Gulls and other species coming back from their breeding quarters like Mediterranean and Audoin’s Gulls and the first Lesser Black-backed ones.

We finished our day enjoying Scopoli’s Shearwaters far beyond the shore, drawing soft bends over the still Mediterranean at dusk sunlight.
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Old Thursday 3rd August 2017, 09:19   #10
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Greater Flamingo scientific ringing day at the Laguna de Fuente Piedra (2017.07.29)

Greater Flamingos succeed breeding at the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra despite the drought, with 8.000 chicks raised of which 600 of them were banded at the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra Nature Reserve.

http://www.diariosur.es/interior/ani...223851-nt.html
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Old Thursday 24th August 2017, 17:52   #11
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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August Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2017.08.23)

Autumn bird migration is on the way, leaving us interesting observations...

Click here for the complete list of 104 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-08-23

The signs of migration have been evident everywhere, specially at Los Montes, with lots of calls from the Redstarts in the morning; El Torcal, with big flocks of Honey Buzzards and Black Kites, Bee-eaters and Swifts, and lots of White-throats swarming around the scrub; the Peñarrubia cliff, with a pair of Black Vultures; and the Mouth of the Guadalhorce, with waders like Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper and a Squacco Heron.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 17:16   #12
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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TRo100B: Birding at the Mouth of the Guadalhorce (2017.10.06)

The Little Bittern showed up maybe for the last time this year...

Click here for the complete list of 62 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-10-06

It has been a great birding day, because it was not only the gorgeous male Little Bittern that showed up, but we also had good views of the Osprey, Booted Eagle in light, dark and intermediate morph, Greater Flamingoes and Spotless Starlings.

And I mention Spotless Starlings because today we saw how they react to raptors. They not only flock to avoid the raptor’s dives, but also to mob it in an amazingly well coordinated teamwork. Kestrel and Booted Eagle were their victims today.
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 20:32   #13
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Some pictures of a trip to the Guadalhorce, El Torcal and the farmlands (2017.10.20)

Click here for some more pictures!: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-10-20
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Old Sunday 22nd October 2017, 19:55   #14
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What identifies the lark as a Thekla lark ?
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Old Monday 23rd October 2017, 07:18   #15
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by occasional View Post
What identifies the lark as a Thekla lark ?
Dear Occasional,

this is the second time you make the same question to me so I will paste the answer I gave to your question in the thread "Birding on the Costa del Sol" on March 19th 2017:

"You can read about a few features to discriminate between Crested and Thekla Lark in the bird guides but both birds are almost identical in the field.

The only difference is their bill. Crested's is longer and slightly curved downwards; Thekla's is shorter and more "finch shaped". Anyway, you still have to be familiar with the birds to tell.

I hope I could be of help."
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Old Saturday 28th October 2017, 17:35   #16
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Searching for autumn birds at El Torcal (2017.10.28)

Wintering songbirds find a feast of hawthorn berries at their arrival to El Torcal...

Click here for the complete list of birds observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-10-28

Ring Ouzels, Song Thrushes, Blackcaps and Robins skulk in the hawthorns at this time of year. Some of them posed but others didn’t... All of them are very secretive!
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Old Thursday 16th November 2017, 20:05   #17
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2017.11.15)

Elaine, Kristine and I spent a wonderful day traveling around the most biodiverse region in Southern Europe for some very interesting observations...

Click here for more pictures and the complete list of 87 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-11-15

The day started at Montes de Malaga with the first lights of the day and the Robin as first ticked species though the Tawny Owl just greeted with a short hooting before going to rest. Many species were identified by their calls but we had great views of Hawfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Tit and Firecrest.

We reached El Torcal after a good breakfast for very good views of Griffon Vultures, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear and, finally, Thekla Lark.

Despite the Fuente de Piedra lake is not showing its best face this winter after waders and waterfowl went past while it was still dry, the Laguneto hosted the most common ducks and wetland birds, including Greater Flamingos!, and we enjoyed Spanish Sparrow, Iberian Grey Shrike, a late Wheatear, Crane, Hoopoe and Black-winged Kite, one of the hits of the day, in the farmlands.

Time passes very quickly in these short winter days and we were running out of light on our way down to the coast. Nevertheless, we saw plenty of vultures flying over the Peñarrubia cliff and stopped to have a look. It was a good decision as a Black Vulture, the second hit of the day, soon showed up amongst the Griffon Vultures. If it is the same bird we saw in August and again at the end of October, it is having a good holiday with us in Malaga. We could also tick Chough and Rock Dove in the cliff as well as Great Crested Grebe and herons in the reservoir.

Next visit was Rio Grande, where we could spot a Great Egret, one of Elaine’s targets, which just flew off soon after we placed the scope on it.

It was too late to reach the Mouth of the Guadalhorce, so we decided to make a call to Zapata, where we ended this wonderful day watching juvenile Night Herons first, and their gorgeous parents later on until dusk.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 19:49   #18
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding at El Chorro (2017.11.25)

Rain is so necessary here... But if it does not come, let’s go out and enjoy this sweet autumn!

Click here for some more pictures and the complete list of the 35 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...southern-spain

It has been too long since I got to the cliffs of El Chorro for the last time and I was in real need of feeling the vultures again.

The pine tree forest on the way out was very animated, with lots of Chaffinches and Common Crossbills. The big amount of Ring Ouzels feeding in the Phoenicean Junipers was anusual as well and most of the gems of this magical place showed up on our way up or down after a while in the cliffs: Dartford Warbler, Black Wheatear, Crag Martin, Rock Bunting and Blue Rock Thrush.

There were hundreds of vultures in the cliffs, both sitting and flying in the mild wind. After a while, the couple of Bonelli’s Eagles went round the cliff to finally sit on a small tree hanging in the rock face, to gaze at this stunning place where they set their territory.
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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 19:45   #19
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birdwatching in The Route of 100 Birds (2017.12.12)

John and I had a great (but cold!) day birding at the Valley of the Guadalhorce, El Chorro, farmlands and Fuente de Piedra Lake.

Click here for more pictures and the complete list of 77 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-12-12

We have had great views of Great Egret at the Valley of the Guadalhorce; Griffon Vultures, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear and Dartford Warble at El Chorror; Cranes, Black-winged Kite, Hoopoe and Little Bustards in the farmlands; Greater Flamingo and Marsh Harriers at the lake.

And also had a glimpse of Golden eagle, Black Stork and Black Vulture at El Chorro, and Hen Harrier at the Fuente de Piedra Lake.
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Old Wednesday 20th December 2017, 14:09   #20
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2017.12.19)

It is a pity days are so short in winter as there is not enough time to enjoy so many birds and stunning places here...

Click here for more pictures and the complete list of 95 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2017-12-19

It is difficult to reach all the birding spots during the short days of the end of autumn and beginning of winter. I had normally left the Mouth of the Guadalhorce for the end of the trip and, most of the times, you either call it in a rush or even do not have time to do it. Today, I decided to start with the Mouth of the Guadalhorce and rush, if necessary, along the Valley on the way back to the coast.

I always try to start the day with owls, you know me! And there is one of them there that can we watched in the dark (though there is always a lot of light pollution at the Mouth of the Guadalhorce that helps you see something). It is a white ghost flying like a butterfly over the little flats among the pools: the Barn Owl. It did not take long to spot it from the bridge. It was a white spot on a bush that soon took off and flew around for a while. I had not seen the Barn Owl for quite a long time, so it was a very happy start for me.

A visit to this fantastic place is always rewarding. This time, I got 57 species before 10 o’clock with Hoopoe, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Cetti’s Warbler, Black-winged Stilt, Zitting Cisticola, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, Greater Flamingo, a nice roost of Cattle Egrets, White-headed Duck, apart from the Barn Owl, among others. I could also see some birds that are more common during the migration like Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Dunlin, Grey Plover and a beautiful White Stork.

Next stage was Montes de Malaga, at almost noon, so I missed some of the early morning calls that help you identify many birds in the depths of the forest. Anyway, I added 13 more species to the list, including Short-toed Treecreeper, Cirl Bunting, Crested Tit, Siskin and Common Crossbill.

Let’s go for the mountains then! El Torcal gave me most of the typical riparian birds I was looking for there: Ring Ouzel, Blue Rock Thrush, Iberian Grey Shrike, Griffon Vulture, Thekla Lark, Black Wheatear, Dartford Warbler and Rock Bunting.

I thought I would not see many new birds around the Visitors Centre at Fuente de Piedra, so I went direct around the lake and into the farmlands. It was very productive, with birds like Hen Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Spanish Sparrow, Crane (beautiful flocks both foraging and flying!) and Little Bustard.

It was very late after all these fantastic places and I decided to stay until dusk in front of the Peñarrubia cliff, which can always give you “something”. And it really did! I was looking for the Peregrines in the cliff when a big flock of Choughs arrived. I saw another very big bird among the Griffons, it was a Golden Eagle, and it was being mobbed by the Peregrines! I did not expect the Golden there at the end of the day! And then, five minutes later, a haughty Bonelli’s Eagle showed up, until it was again expelled by the Peregrines... Lovely end for a great birding day around The Route of 100 Birds.
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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 20:01   #21
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2018.01.19)

Not a bad record of 93 species in still a very short day!

You can click here for more pictures and the complete list of birds observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2018-01-19

As I did in December, I started the day at the Mouth of the Guadalhorce. I got there at 7:15 and it was still all dark. The Barn Owl was so glad when I crossed the bridge into the reserve that it came to say hello and almost lands on the board. It was one of the moments of the day! Some of the most interesting species here were Black-tailed Godwit, Balearic Shearwater, Great Skua, Water Pipit, Osprey, Bluethroat and Booted Eagle.

After that, I moved on to Montes de Malaga and direct to Fuente de Piedra. The ponds around the Visitors Centre have some water again and I hope we can enjoy a nice passage in March if it rains some more from now on. The second moment of the day was watching the couple of Black-winged Kites near the lake. There are lots of Cranes scattered all around the farmlands. There was a flock of Flamingos feeding at Laguna Dulce, which has also accumulated some water.

My next stop was at the cliffs of El Chorro, where I could enjoy watching the couple of Bonelli’s Eagle sitting together on a rock... It was my third moment of the day! I could also see many couples of Griffon Vultures in their synchronized flights as well as Dartford Warbler, Black Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush.

I run out of light at the Valley of the Guadalhorce, where I took my last picture to a Green Sandpiper for a record of 93 species.

Regarding the pictures today, I am so sorry they are really “record” ones: the light was very poor with the clouds in the morning and some of my encounters with the birds were a bit distant. I did the best of me! I hope you’ll enjoy them.
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Old Sunday 11th February 2018, 16:22   #22
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Bird watching at the Mouth and Valley of the Guadalhorce (2018.02.09)

It is still cold but birds like Wood Sandpiper, Barn Swallow and House Martin have already showed up here...

Click here for some more pictures and the complete list of 71 species observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2018-02-09

We have also watched some of the emblematic birds of the river at this time of year like Osprey, Booted Eagle, White-headed Duck, Greater Flamingo, Kentish Plover, Hoopoe, Bluethroat, Black-winged Stilt, Great Egret, Zitting Cisticola...
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Old Friday 23rd February 2018, 10:55   #23
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Location: Costa del Sol (Southern Spain)
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Birding Big day around The Route of 100 Birds (2018.02.22)

Despite it was still a pretty cold day out at the countryside, we got a good record of 102 species.

Click here for more pictures and the complete list of birds observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...southern-spain

For those fellow guides that are determined to imitate this fantastic trip I have been doing and offering to my clients for the last two years, after my dear friend Derek Etherton thought of a way to excite a bit of healthy competition between members of the Andalucia Bird Society in every Andalusian province by promoting one day birding outings to try and spot more than 100 different species, I will say the itinerary we followed today was Mouth of the Guadalhorce, Montes de Malaga, Fuente de Piedra Lake, farmlands and El Chorro reservoirs, where I called it a day, as I run out of light on the way back to Malaga city.

Despite the Barn Owl is on my list again today, the first bird of the day this time was the Blackbird as they have already started with their early morning city songs here in the south. The walk around the mouth of the river proved a strong passage of Barn Swallows and House Martins mixed with the local Crag Martins. Our wintering Booted Eagles and Starlings are still around and most of the Cormorants show a fantastic breeding plumage that will soon sport in their northern breeding quarters. The number of Kentish Plovers seems to be higher at the beach and we could also find other interesting birds like Audouin’s and Mediterranean Gulls as well as the common White-headed Ducks and Zitting Cisticolas.

We missed some of the ordinary forest birds at Montes de Malaga but still spotted such interesting birds like Cirl Bunting, Common Crossbill and Short-toed Treecreeper, Siskins are still present and we saw all our tits: Great, Coal, Blue, Crested and Long-tailed.

The population of Greater Flamingos has not increased significantly yet but Black-tailed Godwits are on the move now, it seems as if White Storks will try to nest again in the old chimney and we found the first Yellow Wagtail of the season. There are still many Cranes in the farmlands, the first Lesser Kestrel have already arrived and some water in the Campillos pools hosts nice flocks of Red-crested Pochards.

The Great Crested Grebes are turning into their summer dresses in the reservoirs of El Chorro, and the cliffs around gave us Griffon Vultures, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Doves, Choughs and the wonderful deep hooting of the Eagle Owl.
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"I use a compact camera and no hide photography. These are the birds as you can see them in my birding tours"
One day trips and birding holidays fom Malaga and the Costa del Sol www.birdaytrip.com
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Old Wednesday 21st March 2018, 18:49   #24
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding Big Day around The Route of 100 Birds (2018.03.20)

Despite spring showed up in a cloudy, cold, windy and, at times, rainy day, we got a good record of 112 birds!

Click here for many more pictures and the complete list of birds observed: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2018-03-20

The Blackbirds were already singing when the Barn Owl flew across the trail on the way towards the Laguna Grande (Mouth of the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve) before dawn.

There were several Glossy Ibis joining the roost of the Cattle and Little Egrets, and two Spoonbills failed to alight in such busy perches. There are still some Cormorants, Gannets, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Chiffchaffs and Meadow Pipits in the site while the passage of Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and House and Sand Martins is very active, with Pallid Swifts arriving too.

The flocks of Kentish Plovers at the beach are bigger now and we could spot Mediterranean and Audouin’s Gulls. We have had a couple of Spotted Crakes here in the last days and I could find one of them, first time during a Big Day!

The situation has changed at Montes de Malaga in that it was here where we ticked the Booted Eagle and not at the river. Short-toed Eagle and Common Buzzard were also present on the way down from Los Montes.

It was very cold at El Torcal, with only 2ºC. That could be the reason there are still some Ring Ouzels over there and no one of the little warblers we are eagerly waiting for. Nevertheless, the great observations of Rock Buntings and Thekla Larks compensated.

The Laguna de Fuente de Piedra is looking good and it still rained more while at the Laguneto hide. Fantastic views of the Wryneck again. Its mimetic plumage makes it so difficult for the camera to focus on it and get better pictures! The first Reed Warblers have already arrived and we could enjoy a couple of British race Yellow Wagtails. There were Red-crested Pochards, White-headed Ducks, Whiskered Terns and Marsh Harriers at the Laguneto, and the White Storks seem to be trying to nest at the village again. Despite the number of Greater Flamingos is increasing day by day, it was not difficult to spot three Lesser ones among them.

The farmlands look much better with Lesser Kestrels and the elegant Montagu’s Harriers.

The Great Crested Grebes at El Chorro reservoirs made 100 on the list.

After a short visit to the lower valley of the Guadalhorce, I decided to finish the trip by trying to spot my favourite birds, but they did not show up and the day ended with the melancholy calls of the Little Owl at dusk.
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__________________
"I use a compact camera and no hide photography. These are the birds as you can see them in my birding tours"
One day trips and birding holidays fom Malaga and the Costa del Sol www.birdaytrip.com
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Old Saturday 24th March 2018, 17:35   #25
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Bird watching around the Antequera farmlands (2018.03.21)

Fantastic journey across the farmlands in search for the Little Bustard...

Click here for some more pictures: http://www.birdaytrip.es/blog/item/7...ain-2018-03-21

We were very lucky to enjoy the Little Bustards as well as Crested Lark, Spotless Starling, Serin, Corn Bunting, Zitting Cisticola, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Greater Flamingo, Montagu’s Harrier, Golden Eagle and Rock Sparrow.
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ID:	657033  

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"I use a compact camera and no hide photography. These are the birds as you can see them in my birding tours"
One day trips and birding holidays fom Malaga and the Costa del Sol www.birdaytrip.com
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