I left Mezquitilla in beautiful sunshine and clear skies with the temperature just topping 8C but by the time I had reached the low mist where the A45 split for Sevilla and Granada the temperature had dropped to zero! Onwards towards my destination at Fuente de Piedra for the January meeting of the Andalucia Bird Society and the temperature continued to fall finally reaching -2C. Ouch! Arriving to join my fellow ABS members we could now bask, once more, in clear blue skies and full sunshine but, unlike the coast, a starting temperature of 0C. But id did improve during the day reaching a dizzy 8C before I arrived back home with the car now registering an outside temperature of 16 and told by Jenny that it had been over 20C during the day and shirt-sleeve order. Such is the life of a birder.
Before parking up I stopped to check out the almost flooded scrape on the left of the drive and discovered, other than a very small area at the back, it was a sheet of ice so explaining the few birds of of which were at the back. But before seeing what else was present apart from the Black-winged Stilts one could not but notice the very large flock of sparrow-like birds hungrily feeding on the sandy grit on the far side of the water/ice. Closer inspection revealed mainly Greenfinches but also very many House and Spanish Sparrows plus a handful of Rock Sparrows. Lovely to see the last come and present themselves in full view. Also present the odd Chaffinch.
Apart from the Chiffchaffs feeding in the tamerisk bushes, the Black-winged Stilts were accompanied by a Green Sandpiper and a couple of Dunlin. A good number of White Wagtails running about the edges and at least one Grey Wagtail. Resting up the grass a score of more of Lapwing and then the first of the Jackdaws put in an appearance. Just four Teal, albeit a quintet of Mallards flew over, before we moved on towards the boardwalk. On the dry scrape a couple of Meadow Pipits but on the ground in front we found a lovely adult Bluethroat along with Robin and Stonechat and more Spanish Sparrows. A Kestrel rested on a distant sign post and then we made our way towards the main hide overlooking the Lagunetta.
Still a lot of water here with the islands mainly covered and plenty of ducks on view including, mainly, Mallards and Shoveler but also a small number of Pochard, a couple of Shelduck and a single White-headed Duck. Probably a score or more Coots and a handful of Moorhen plus more Lapwing and a constant movement of Jackdaws with Rock Doves in the distance on the far side. A Little Grebe was recorded along with the first of many Spotless Starlings and a lone Heron posed on the island. Other passerines noted included Black Redstart, Blackbird, Serin and a large charm of Goldfinches.
The main lake itself looked very sorry for itself with only a distant site of any water. Hundreds of roosting Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls but Flamingos could be counted in fives rather than hundreds, nevermind thousands. Indeed, it need the telescopes to actually get a half-decent view.
Following the Annual Finance Meeting of the Society, a quick sight of some distant Cranes on the far water before departing, and noting the feeding Snipe at the edge of the (now) water at the side of the road, to drive to the other end of the lake in the hope of closer views of these lonely birds before heading for home. Approaching the Mirador de Cantarranas we stopped to look at seventeen Cranes showing well and then on the viewpoint. Very little to be seen but some very distant Cranes on the shore until a flock of, maybe, two hundred arrived at the far end to our right so that we could appreciate numbers if not good views. Leaving here we had a single Raven sitting in the opposite field and, finally, a Hoopoe flew off as we drove through the olive groves to wards the main road.
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Heron, Flamingo, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Hoopoe, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch,
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