Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fuente de Piedra with John and Jenny

I may be back in Blighty and now experiencing continuous, miserable rain after two mornings of severe frost but John and Jenny Wainwright are back on the birding road again having suffered a dose of bronchitis these past two weeks or more - so the weather must be better out in Malaga province!

But where are the Cranes?

Lagunas Fuente de Piedra & Dulce:  Wednesday 26 November

A very pleasant day with a light breeze.

As we left our village of Salar a flock of some thirty Collared Doves flew over and around us, on the wires we saw Spotless Starlings and a few House Sparrows. Only one Jackdaw on way along the A92 and nothing more until we entered the reserve at Piedra.

The flood meadow had a good amount of water in and it held good numbers of Teal - mostly males, Shovelers, Meadow Pipits, Cattle and Little Egret and a couple of Common Snipe.  A female Marsh Harrier came out of the reed bed here and above us a Booted Eagle circled.  The boardwalk area was pretty deserted all bar White Wagtails, two Hoopoes, Chiffchaff and a Black Redstart, while walking alongside the small stream, more Chiffchaffs and Black Redstarts, but in the scrape we did find another Common Snipe.

Looking out from the mirador we saw Lapwings, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls, Dunlin and Sanderlings and in the distance some Greater Flamingos but too far off to see if any Lessers were in the group.

Distant Pintail Anas acuta (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Moving on to the hide at the small lagunetta, masses of Black-headed Gulls interspersed with Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backs, these birds always on the move today.  Another Hoopoe was seen here as well as Blackcaps, Sardinian and Cetti´s Warblers, Goldfinches, a single Song Thrush, Corn Buntings, White Wagtails, a Blackbird, a Willow Warbler and several more Chiffchaffs.  On the back reedbed we spotted a male Pintail in company with Shovelers (a lot in eclipse here), Gadwall, Mallard and Teal, a few Little Grebe and one Black-necked Grebe and on the near shoreline a Green Sandpiper and three more Common Snipe were noted as well as a couple of Lapwings and a single Cormorant.  At the far end of the lagunetta a Grey Heron, Moorhens, Common Coots and a juvenile Greater Flamingo were seen.

Great White Egret Egretta alba (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Two Marsh Harriers (a female and a juvenile) flew in and while the juvenile caused the gulls and Coots to scatter, the female came to rest in the reeds on the far left-hand island.  As we left the reserve a Great White Egret was spotted, sitting on the bank of a ditch.

Looks time for the departure of the Great White Egret (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Along to the Cantarranas mirador where we expected to see at least a few Common Cranes - not a sight or even a sound of them anywhere today.  A few Linnets, Pochard, Common Snipe, Shovelers and Stonechats were the only birds around at this spot.

At Laguna Dulce it was very bleak with only a few Gadwall, Shovelers, Mallard, a Marsh Harrier, Black Redstart and Goldfinches plus a huge raft of Coots in the far left hand inlet.  A few Large and Small Whites, plus one Red Admiral and several Crimson-speckled Moths.

Crimsoned-speckled  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

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