Its worth a visit
Arrival in Malaga
We arrived at Malaga airport at around 09:45 on Tuesday the 6th of September and after the usual dlays with the airport and the proccesing of our car hire we managed to leave the airport area at around 10:15.
The car we were to use was a silver Ford Fiesta and allthough this was not ideal or in the end not that economical we progressed on to Rute(not by the easier motorway route but by the more scenic route viaTrujillo etc).
As the roads were extremely busy we decided not to visit the Malaga Reserve at this time but instead get to Rute as quickly as possible.
After arriving in Rute and dropping off some of our equipment at our base camp we changed into our birding gear and went straight to the local Sewage Ponds in Rute to find out the state of the beds.we found three beds containing water and one bed completely dried up.One of the beds contained a god amount of sludge and it was on here we came across our first waders.
Most obvious were 2 Black Winged Stilts standing in a far corner.These birds departed immediately on our arrival and did not return.
A Common Sandpiper was feeding on the centre of the main bed together with a single Little Ringed Plover and one Green Sandpiper.
2 Yellow Wagtails were also on the same bed together with 3 White Wagtails.There was no sign of the Little Owls that are known to frequent the wooden posts that border the Sewage Ponds so we decided to move on to another site.2 Turtle Doves were flushed from Poplar trees adjoining the car parking area.
We arrived at Rio Azore a river side location in the Subbeticas National Park on route to Priego De Cordoba.Departing the car in the parking area we were immediately immressed by the numbers of small birds which coming to drink at this very picturesque site.First up was a party of some 36 Serins constantly descending to the waers edge from telegraph wires over the river.A;so in the same location some 16 Spotted Flycatchers were perched at different vantage point mostly immature birds(see picture gallery).3 Grey Wagails were feeding on the stones in the centre of the river together with 2 Yellow Wagtails and 3 White Wagtails.
A superb Woodchat Shrike was on the telegraph wires above the car and this was the first of several observed during the first three days(this species gradually declined as the trip progressed as the species moved out to be replaced by the increasing Southern Grey Shrikes).
There was noticeable signs of bird movements at this site as overhead hirrundines particulary Red Rumped Swallows and Crag Martins and smaller numbers of House Martins were moving to the South East all of the time we were there.
A Booted Eagle appeared ot of the North at arounf 19:15 hours to be immediately mobbed by 2 Ravens.
The first party of European Bee Eaters came over at around 19:20 hours when a party of 7 birds flew South.This was followed some ten minutes later when a further two parties of 20 and 35 birds aldso flew to the South.
A party of some 40 Crag Martins also flew South at this time with several Common and 5 Pallid Swifts.
A single Hoopoe came in to drink on the riverbank and there was 3 Melodious,single Olivaceous and several Sardinian Warblers in the undergrowth near our car at 19:40 hours.
The impressive looking crag overlooking this site is a well known site for Eagle Owl and we decided to concentrate our final hours on this first day on several ideal cave entrances on the crag face to see if we could locate one of these birds.
Our efforts were rewarded at precisely 20:05 hours when an Eagle Owl was sen to leave one of the cave entrances to be immediately mobbed by 2 Ravens before it disapeared in to the woodland below the crag face.
2 Common Kestrels apeared over the crag at around 20:30 hours and appeared intent on roosting.
The light finaly gave out on us at around 20:40 hours and this was not gradual but quite sudden and we found this to be the case with sunrise which was also very sudden.
An interesting first afternoon and evening at local sights which held out much promise for the next day.