Thursday, 8 January 2015

John & Jenny at Fuente de Piedra

Thursday 8 January

Looks like a busy week with everybody out birding, whether it is me (see next blog), Dave and his Arboleas Group up in Almeria or John and Jenny Wainwright over at Fuente de Piedra yesterday.  Well, you have to make the most of this pleasant, calm sunny weather we are presently enjoying out here in southern Andalucia.  Now for John's report on yesterday's visit:

Lagunas Fuente de Piedra & Dulce  7th January

A very cool start but warmed up considerably during the day.

As we had to go to Antequera on business we thought we would make a day of it round the above lagoons, en route seeing Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings, two Common Kestrels, a single Jackdaw and a Southern Grey Shrike.  Entering the reserve  a Raven flew over the car park and then half a dozen Jackdaws came in to rest on the aerials at the old reception centre.  Several Black Redstarts were also in and around the car park area.  We walked down to the small flood meadow and here we located two Little Ringed Plovers, Shovelers, White Wagtails, Chiffchaffs, Common Coots and House Sparrows.

Jackdaws  Corvus monedula (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Then over to the boardwalk where we saw single winter plumaged Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilts, Meadow Pipits and a pair of Stonechats.  Scoping the reed beds I found a Common Snipe soon to be joined by another and here we were joined by an English birding couple from Cheshire  -Tracy and Mark Powell - whom we were to "bump" into several times on our trip.  Two Green Sandpipers flew in as we were speaking and one of the Common Snipe flew out.  The reeds and the mud flats were alive with Chiffchaff and White Wagtails.

Dunlin  Calidris alpina  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Walking along the small stream - which has been denuded of most of it´s low cover for skulking birds like the Bluethroat (which we never located today) - we did see however a Lapwing, and more Meadow Pipits and at the scrape another Common Snipe took off, but this still left five more feeding along the back of the scrape.  A few Teal were noted here as well as a Little Ringed Plover, a Lapwing and a Stonechat.

Over the laguna a massive cloud of mixed gulls lifted off due to the approach of a juvenile Marsh Harrier and when they had settled down we found Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed  here.

Walking around to the lagunetta we saw Sardinian Warblers, Black Redstarts, House Sparrows and a couple of Meadow Pipits.  Looking out from the hide in the small bushes to our right a Dartford Warbler  was seen as well as two more Stonechats, Linnets and a Goldfinch.  In the front of the hide two Lapwings were noted as were Common Coots and Moorhens.

On the lagunetta itself we found Shovelers, Mallard, a single Black-necked Grebe as well as countless Little Grebe, Common Pochard, and the afore mentioned gulls were here also.

We then made our way round to the Cantarranas mirador we came across a few Common Cranes and seven Little Egrets, while at the mirador as we were having a food break, another forty flew over and round in several small flocks and landed across by the olive groves.  Looking out from the mirador itself we found about a hundred Greater Flamingos off to our right, then a Grey Heron was seen flying at the back of the reed beds.

On the scarce amount of water here we saw a Redshank, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler and Black-winged Stilts. A female Marsh Harrier scouted the reed bed to our front  and then a Purple Swamphen was located - by this time we had been joined by Tracy and Mark again - where we settled down to watch the antics of a Marsh Harrier  literally jumping up and down in the reed bed - we think it had caught something (possibly a bird as I saw it covering a dark object and I thought I saw a wing, but we will never know for sure) anyhow it kept this up for a good five minutes maybe more.  Another bird, this time a juvenile Marsh Harrier, was seen soaring above the beds, also several Common Cranes landed to the left front of the mirador.

Teal Anas crecca (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

And then on to Laguna Dulce where we found the remainder of the Common Cranes.  There were over two hundred of them in the small shoreline area at the right hand rear of the laguna, also in the fields beyond and up by the ruin.  On the water a great swathe of Common Coots paddled back and forth and along the back of the laguna we found over forty ( male and female ) Red-crested Pochard along with some really fresh looking Gadwalls.  Common Pochard were here as well as Teal, Shovelers, Mallard, Black-necked and Little Grebe plus four Greater Flamingos.

Common Cranes Grus grus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

In the reed beds to our front two Cetti´s Warblers, Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Corn Buntings, Serins, a female Blackcap and a Blackbird.  On our way back to Antequera a very pale Common Buzzard, a Southern Grey Shrike and three Ravens were seen, ending quite a good days birding.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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