Birding hotspots of eastern Costa del Sol (Malaga, Andalucia, Southern Spain)

My dear friend Quirri and I have had a wonderful dawn to dusk tour, visiting the mouth of Rio Velez, Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs and La Caleta Harbour.

Have a look at more pictures and the complete list of 64 species observed below!

The Rio Velez is the main river of La Axarquia, the easternmost district of Malaga province. The last section of the river flows amongst an old lush native poplar river forest from the bridge over the old N340 road downstream.

We parked the car near the bridge at dawn and started a very entertaining walk towards the beach in which lots of birds of many different species showed up: Cattle Egrets coming out their roost, Robin, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Crag Martins (that roost in the area in big numbers), Cetti’s Warbler (this is one of the best places I know for visual contact with them!), White Wagtail, Moorhen, Blackbird, Monk Parakeet, Goldfinch, Grey Heron, Siskin, Black Redstart, Great Tit, Common Waxbill, Skylark in the farms near the river, Citting Cisticola and Coot.

Once at the beach, many more seabirds and other lagoon species came into the list: Lesser Black-backed, Yellow-legged Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, Sanderling, Balearic Shearwater, Cormorant, Gannet, Dunlin, Purple Swamphen, Teal, Mediterranean Gull, a lonely Barn Swallow (the first surprise of the day!), Great Skua, Black-necked Grebe, Mallard, House Sparrow, Kingfisher, Serin, Greenfinch, Stonechat and Meadow Pipit.

The walk back to the car gave some more new species like, Snipe, Grey Wagtail, Spotless Starling, Bluethroat, Penduline Tit, Hoopoe, Kestrel, Collared Dove, Little Egret, Chaffinch and a fond of singing Wryneck that we could not spot among the leaves of a big poplar.

The day was very cloudy and there even were a few showers that made it difficult for me to reflect so much beauty in my pictures.

Tip: an early start here is very highly recommended as many other “birdwatchers” meet in this area from mid day (or earlier) on.

Our next stop was at Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs. It is the mating season of the Spanish Ibex and we could spot one of those majestic old males very close to the road. But there were forest and rock birds as well like Wren, Black Redstart, Sardinian Warbler, Crested, Great, Coat and Long-tailed Tits, Rock Bunting, Thekla Lark, Chiffchaff, another lonely Crane flying over the cliffs to the west (the second surprise of the day!), Blue Rock Thrush and also Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern and even an Audouin’s Gull on the rocks at the beach. We were just getting into the car to leave the area when a Peregrine Falcon flew into the sea from the cliff.

After lunch, our plan was watching the fishing boats come back to La Caleta Harbour as they are followed by seagulls and also Gannets and shearwaters. The little beach at the entrance of the harbour is a fantastic place for very close views of most of the seagull species in the region as well as little sea waders and even egrets and kingfishers.

Quirri says that there are fewer juvenile Gannets this year (maybe breeding conditions have not been optimal in the north) and the bulk of the Balearic Shearwaters has not arrived yet though we still could spot some of them from the breakwater.

The sunset was stunning and thousands of Mediterranean Gulls arrived from inland, where they go eating olives, to roost on the water in huge flocks. It was a beautiful end for a fantastic birding day with Quirri.

You can also live these experiences with us !!!

Complete list of birds observed:

  SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME
1 Audouin's Gull Ichtyaetus audouinii
2 Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus
3 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
4 Black Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros
5 Blackbird  Turdus merula
6 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
7 Black-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus ridibundus
8 Black-necked Grebe  Podiceps nigricollis
9 Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
10 Bluethroat  Luscinia svecica
11 Cattle Egret  Bubulcus ibis
12 Cetti’s Warbler  Cettia cetti
13 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
14 Chiffchaff  Phylloscopus collybita
15 Coal Tit Periparus ater
16 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
17 Common Waxbill Estrilda astrid
18 Coot  Fulica atra
19 Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo
20 Crag Martin  Ptyonoprogne rupestris
21 Crane Grus grus
22 Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus
23 Dunlin Calidris alpina
24 Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla
25 Gannet  Morus bassanus
26 Goldfinch  Carduelis carduelis
27 Great Skua Stercorarius skua
28 Great Tit  Parus major
29 Greenfinch  Chloris chloris
30 Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea
31 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
32 Hoopoe  Upupa epops
33 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
34 Kestrel  Falco tinnunculus
35 Kingfisher  Alcedo atthis
36 Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus
37 Little Egret  Egretta garzetta
38 Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
39 Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos
40 Meadow Pipit  Anthus pratensis
41 Mediterranean Gull  Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
42 Monk Parakeet  Myiopsitta monachus
43 Moorhen  Gallinula chloropus
44 Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus
45 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
46 Purple Swamphen  Porphyrio porphyrio
47 Robin Erithacus rubecula
48 Rck Bunting Emberiza cia
49 Sanderling  Calidris alba
50 Sandwich Tern  Thalasseus sandvicensis
51 Sardinian Warbler  Sylvia melanocephala
52 Serin  Serinus serinus
53 Siskin Spinus spinus
54 Skylark Alauda arvensis
55 Snipe  Gallinago gallinago
56 Spotless Starling  Sturnus unicolor
57 Stonechat  Saxicola rubicola
58 Teal  Anas crecca
59 Thekla Lark Galerida theklae
60 White Wagtail Motacilla alba
61 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
62 Wryneck Jynx torquilla
63 Yellow-legged Gull  Larus michahelis
64 Zitting Cisticola  Cisticola juncidis
Last modified onWednesday, 29 November 2017 10:56

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