Fresh from their morning with us yesterday, John and Jenny Wainwright took off for Fuente de Piedra today and were well rewarded with a sighting of a visiting Pallid Harrier. Now I wonder if this is the same bird that was reported as being seen last week at Zapata and, most winters, we get a sighting of the bird(s) at La Janda so, perhaps, this is a returning migrant on its way north. Whatever the reason, certainly a great bird to add to anyone's Year List down here in Andalucia. Here follows John's report:
First it was warm then a bitter wind.
As we drove into the car park and set the scope up a person came across and asked if he could use the scope to ID a bird and then asked me to have a look. Although it was a long way away, the pale colour and the obvious full collar, gave us a Pallid Harrier. I said to the man, it would be good if another raptor came over to put it to flight and lo and behold a female Marsh Harrier came and gave us good views of it flying but when it landed it was hardly visible. Jenny and I did get more views of it flying later on but we couldn´t get close enough for photos.
Anyhow, after the excitement we looked over the boardwalk area, but only White Wagtails were noted, so we moved along the stream and saw Chiffchaff, Spanish Sparrows, Crested Larks and Black-winged Stilt. From the mirador we spotted Greater Flamingos in the distance along with three rafts of Gulls.
From the Laguento hide we saw Shovelers, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, more Greater Flamingos, including several juvenile birds. Two Common Snipe were spotted in the weeds along the foreshore as well as Moorhen, Common Coot and White Wagtails. Lots of Jackdaws, Black-headed Gulls and a few Yellow-legged Gulls whilst, in the bushes, Sardinian and Cetti´s Warblers were heard. Goldfinches, a Greenfinch, Black Redstarts and Great Tit were noted and House and Crag Martins, Barn Swallows were in good numbers. A movement in the reed-bed over the far side of the laguento gave us two Purple Swamphens and then three Ravens flew over the left edge of the water.
We then moved over to the Cantarras Mirador, where there is still no water, but here we found about 200 or so Common Cranes in the far fields. A Marsh Harrier and the Pallid Harrier were having a ding-dong over the reed-beds. We also saw Common Buzzard, Little and Cattle Egrets, Sardinian Warblers, Great Tit, Blackcap and Lapwings.
It certainly sounds as if you had a good visit and, not yet being the end of February, there were still Common Cranes to be found. No doubt they will all be gone within the next week or so.
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