One year of Malaga Birding Big Days (Costa del Sol, Andalucia, Southern Spain)

It is one year ago that the brave “Andalucia Bird Sociaty (ABS) Malaga Team” (Barbara & Derek Etherton, Mick Smith and Luis Alberto Rodríguez –Birdaytrip-) got engaged in the challenge of spotting 100 birds in one single day.

Have a look at the best pictures and the complete list of birds observed during this year below!

The idea came from Derek, who had just taken over as editor of 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”.

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 and have access to all the big day trip reports HERE.

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).

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, 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.

The tours have taken place within the triangle formed by the city of Malaga, the Fuente de Piedra Lake and Ardales. It includes Montes de Malaga, El Torcal and Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes (El Chorro) Nature Reserves, the farmlands around Campillos and the Valley and mouth 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. The poor results of December and January have had more to do with my lack of experience to run the tours in the shortest days of the year than with the own existence of birds as Chart 1 shows, so this region very well deserves to be known as “The Route of 100 Birds”.

You can also live these experiences with us !!!

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

 

Chart 1

Last modified onSunday, 16 April 2017 08:41

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