It may be just the fact that the waters have returned to Fuente de Piedra but everybody seems to be heading that way. First we had Eric and Pat Lyon last Sunday, I took Norwegian birders over on New Year's Eve, my friend Andy Paterson was expecting to be there yesterday (check out his blog at http://birding-the-costa.blogspot.com to see if he finally went) and now, this morning, I have received a report from my friends John and Jenny Wainwright about the visit they made yesterday, New Year's Day. Amazing, I see fifty-eight species and I have hardly started reading John's report when I start hearing about species that we did not record twenty-four hours earlier. Enjoy John and Jenny's visit.
Laguna Dulce & Piedra 1st January 2014
A bright day to start but got colder and duller as the day went on.
We set off from Salar at about 09.30 and the place was like a ghost town, but we did see a few birds en route to the autovia. Lots of House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings, Collared Doves and Azure-winged Magpies, several Blackbirds, Wood Pigeons and Goldfinches were also noted.
As we approached Laguna Dulce two Great White Egrets flew past in the opposite direction, above the fields on the right a large flock of Lapwings and a Southern Grey Shrike was spotted atop one of the telegraph poles. At the hide - as we made ourselves comfortable - two Purple Swamphens were seen in the reeds to the right of the hide. On the water hundreds of Common Coots mixed in with Gadwalls, Little and Black-necked Grebes. At the back of the laguna we found seven Tufted Ducks, five Ferruginous Ducks, eleven male Red-crested Pochards with about twenty or more females, Common Pochard, Mallard and one male Teal.
|Gadwall Anade Friso Anas strepera|
|Marsh Harrier Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental Circus aeruginosus|
A few cars pulled up here so we decided to try Fuente de Piedra via the Sierra del Yuegas rough road. On the latter road we saw Black Redstarts, Mistle Thrushes, Serins, Buzzard and Common Cranes, a surprise bird was the Black-winged Kite which we found on the power lines opposite the old farm yard at the T junction.
|Black-winged Kite Elanio Comun Elanus caeruleus|
|Common Crane Gulla Comun Grus grus|
The scrape held only five Moorhens, a single male Teal and three Black-winged Stilts so we headed for the hides, which yielded nothing of which we hadn´t already seen (mostly gulls and a few Shovelers). So back to the centre's mirador where we found Greater Flamingos, Shovelers, two Shelduck, Mallard and as I was scoping the right hand side of the laguna a
As we were leaving the reserve a Red-legged Partridge flew out of an olive grove and a Raven flew over the same grove. It was getting really cold and overcast now so we decided to cut the day short and make our way home the only thing of note was another Raven as we passed Loja on the autovia.
All the photographs are by John Wainwright save the Black-winged Kite where Jenny managed to get hold of the camera.
Fabulous report John with lots of great sightings. Strange that you found your Black-winged Kite in exactly the same place as Eric and, like both of us, confirmed that there would appear no Great Crested Grebes at the Dulce. But it does have Marsh Harries and, apparently, both Merlin and Sparrowhawks in attendance. Great that you got to see the great White Egrets and that you not only managed to find a few straggling White-headed Ducks yet to move on to their respective breeding territories but also had those delicate little Ferruginous Ducks present. Similarly, it looks like "seven" is now the definitive numbers of Tufted Ducks to be found (at the moment) until someone reports otherwise.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.