100+ Birds Costa del Sol Bird Watching Challenge (Malaga, Andalucia, Southern Spain)

I got exactly 100 species this month!

Have a look at the pictures and the complete list of birds below!

Believe it or not, it was 11ºC at Montes de Malaga when I got there at 5:30 so, wearing shorts and a light polartec made me feel a bit cold while waiting for my friends to wake up... There were not many night singers today, just several Scops Owls scattered around the woods. The only special observation was a Peregrine Falcon that flew from north to south over the ridge with the first lights of the day.

As usual, El Torcal was a great source of both typical mountain birds like Rock Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock and Cirl Buntings and Thekla Lark and also breeding small passerines like Orphean, Subalpine, Melodious and Bonelli’s Warblers and Black-eared Wheatears. Have you ever been surrounded by a clutch of Wrens? It’s funny to have so many little shys calling around you!

After breakfast I headed to the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra. It is nice to compare the similar songs of Reed and Great Reed Warblers, the latter resembling the calls of the frogs. I found the surprise of the day at the Laguneto: a Marbled Duck! There was also a late unexpected Whiskered Tern flying around.

My tour around the farmlands was not as productive as I expected. It was not my friends fault: maybe I was too confident of the length of the day in June that I spent too much time looking for the Azure-winged Magpie out of the regular route, or took too much time taking pictures at El Torcal, who knows, that I got to the farmlands when it was too hot for life to show up. So, after a short lunch break under an olive tree that gave me a nice couple of Booted Eagles, an Iberian Grey Shrike, and some Alpine Swifts, I found myself well behind my target with almost 20 species for the 100 target.

I still had El Chorro for some mountain birds I missed at El Torcal, and decided to go direct to the mouth of the Guadalhorce after that.

It was good at El Chorro: Griffon Vulture (surprisingly absent at El Torcal!), Egyptian Vulture!, Bonelli’s Eagle, Crag Martin and Black Wheatear. Not bad, I just missed two friends... Next time!

Once at the Guadalhorce, I headed straight to the Rio Viejo for sea birds. I was 11 birds short! First Yellow-legged Gulls flying to the sea, Little Egret at La Casilla, a few Monk Parakeets flying around, Little Ringed Plovers from the Rio Viejo hide with two unexpected Spoonbills. Still 6 species to record when I arrived to the Rio Viejo near the sea: Slender-billed Gull, Kentish Plover and Sandwich Tern (Gull-billed Terns were already on the list from Fuente de Piedra). What was that lying on the little island? Oh my God, I am not sure! Then, good, three unexpected Redshanks!

I went to have a look at the east branch of the river in search for more gulls. I just found a young bird in a terrible light. It could be... but I am not sure! I was determined for my last resource: a last call to Zapata. When going back near the Rio Viejo again, another unexpected: a Greenshank! Only one to go! And then I found what I had been looking for all the time there: a lonely Pallid Swift coming from the city... 100!

It was 20:30 and still time enough for a call to Zapata in search for the “+”. But it is Euro2016 time and Spain plays tonight...

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Complete list of birds:

1 Alpine Swift  Apus melba
2 Avocet  Recurvirostra avosetta
3 Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cooki
4 Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica
5 Bee-eater Merops apiaster
6 Black Kite Milvus migrans
7 Black Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros
8 Black Wheatear  Oenanthe leucura
9 Blackbird  Turdus merula
10 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
11 Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
12 Black-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus ridibundus
13 Black-winged Stilt  Himantopus himantopus
14 Blue Rock Thrush  Monticola solitarius
15 Blue Tit  Cyanistes caeruleus
16 Bonelli’s Eagle  Aquila fasciata
17 Booted Eagle  Aquila pennata
18 Cattle Egret  Bubulcus ibis
19 Cetti’s Warbler  Cettia cetti
20 Chaffinch  Fringilla coelebs
21 Chough  Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
22 Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
23 Coal Tit  Periparus ater
24 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
25 Common Crossbill  Loxia curvirostra
26 Coot  Fulica atra
27 Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
28 Crag Martin  Ptyonoprogne rupestris
29 Crested Lark  Galerida cristata
30 Crested Tit  Lophophanes cristatus
31 Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
32 Firecrest  Regulus ignicapilla
33 Flamingo  Phoenicopterus roseus
34 Goldfinch  Carduelis carduelis
35 Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
36 Great Spotted Woodpecker  Dendrocopos major
37 Great Tit  Parus major
38 Green Woodpecker  Picus viridis
39 Greenfinch  Chloris chloris
40 Greenshank Tringa nebularia
41 Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea
42 Griffon Vulture  Gyps fulvus
43 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
44 Hawfinch  Coccothraustes coccothraustes
45 Hoopoe  Upupa epops
46 House Martin  Delichon urbicum
47 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
48 Iberian Grey Shrike  Lanius meridionalis
49 Jackdaw  Corvus monedula
50 Kentish Plover  Charadrius alexandrinus
51 Kestrel  Falco tinnunculus
52 Linnet Carduelis cannabina
53 Little Egret  Egretta garzetta
54 Little Grebe  Tachybaptus ruficollis
55 Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius
56 Long-tailed Tit  Aegithalos caudatus
57 Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos
58 Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris
59 Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta
60 Mistle Thrush  Turdus viscivorus
61 Monk Parakeet  Myiopsitta monachus
62 Moorhen  Gallinula chloropus
63 Nightingale  Luscinia megarhynchos
64 Nuthatch  Sitta europaea
65 Pallid Swift  Apus pallidus
66 Peregrine Falcon  Falco peregrinus
67 Pochard  Aythya ferina
68 Raven  Corvus corax
69 Redshank Tringa totanus
70 Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
71 Red-rumped Swallow  Cecropis daurica
72 Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
73 Robin Erithacus rubecula
74 Rock Bunting  Emberiza cia
75 Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia
76 Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
77 Sardinian Warbler  Sylvia melanocephala
78 Scops Owl Otus scops
79 Serin  Serinus serinus
80 Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
81 Short-toed Treecreeper  Certhia brachydactyla
82 Slender-billed Gull Chroicocephalus genei
83 Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
84 Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata
85 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
86 Spotless Starling  Sturnus unicolor
87 Stonechat  Saxicola torquatus
88 Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans
89 Swift  Apus apus
90 Thekla Lark Galerida theklae
91 Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
92 Western Bonelli’s Warbler  Phylloscopus bonelli
93 Western Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
94 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
95 White-headed Duck  Oxyura leucocephala
96 Wood Pigeon  Columba palumbus
97 Woodchat Shrike  Lanius senator
98 Wren  Troglodytes troglodytes
99 Yellow-legged Gull  Larus michahelis
100 Zitting Cisticola  Cisticola juncidis
Last modified onMonday, 20 March 2017 11:10

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