|Fuente de Piedra for Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus|
Following yesterday's (Tuesday) continuous heavy rain all day, this morning was beautifully warm and sunny even though the local forecast had suggested that we might have to wait until late morning before the temperature started to pick up. So off to Fuente de Piedra to see the effect of the rain on the site and what might have been brought in. How different from Monday evening's visit to Charca de Suarez when I had to sit in a damp hide with the drizzled dropping through the porous cane roof although, as my birding friend Chris Bell from Worksop pointed out, if I had paid more attention to my history lessons at school I would have known to "Beware the (h)ides of March!"
|Can you find the Snipe Gallinego gallinago?|
On arriving at Fuente I could sense that something was different from previous visits at this time of the year. There was a good-sized pool on the field to my left as I entered the reserve but only a number of Coot to be seen along with, eventually, a couple of Ringed Plovers and a White Wagtail plus a number of Barn Swallows feeding over the water. No ducks and where were all the waders that I expected to find. To my right now plenty of wader on below the boardwalk but, again, just a single Black-winged Stilt to be seen. So up to the southern side of the Visitors Centre and look down onto the scrape. A rather large pool now and water in the nearer channel but, also here, no real evidence of any waders. Yes, Coots and a handful of Mallard along with a pair of Shovler and even the Moorhens could be counted on less fingers than one hand. What is going on? However, scoping in on the resting male Shoveler revealed a pair of well-concealed Snipe and then out of the blue, or in this case out of the green, a most magical moment that made it all worth while as the most handsome of male Garganey swam into view. What a gorgeous bird!
|The glorious Garganey Anas querquedula|
I, therefore, quickly returned to the car to collect the camera and walked along the bottom track in the hope of getting a closer shot of the Garganey. Whilst walking towards the hedge gap alongside the fence I also picked up a female Black Redstart and male Stonechat, a calling Hoopoe and, of course, a small number of House Sparrows. Now where was it hiding? A dozen Black-winged Stilts had arrived and the Shoveler was moving about but no Garganey. Looking just beyond the water on the "grazing" land I found a trio of White Wagtails then noticed a lovely male Northern Wheatear and, almost immediately, a female Yellow Wagtail of the Iberian sub-species. Great; a second year tick in just few minutes or so. A movement to the bird's right, more a sudden yellow light, as I found, also with the use of the scope, a resting Stone Curlew which had opened one of its large, chicken-like eyes. Could it get any better? Yes it could as the Garganey made its appearance from upstage left and gave me the chance to get some distant photos.
|Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina with sleeping Flamingos|
|Time to go for these Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus|
|Garganey Anas querquedula with Teal Anas crecca and Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus|
|Is this White Stork Ciconia ciconia the odd one out with a pair nest building on a nearby chimney top?|
|A well-concealed but distat Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus|
A stop at the Mirador revealed that the Curlew had moved on but there was a very small flock of Golden Plover on the sands and, as we watched, a pair of Redshank landed in front of us on the scrape and a Green Sandpiper took flight. Beyond the scrape we once again picked up both Yellow and White Wagtails along a with a pair of Little Ringed Plovers and a solitary Crested Lark. Moving across to the boardwalk a trio of Avocets passed overhead and, in addition to a couple of Black-winged Stilts we managed to find both Meadow and Water Pipit. A few Jackdaws were making use of the breeding tower out on the field and returning to our cars we stopped to take a good look at the roosting Little Owl.
|Sleepy Little Owl Athene noctua; but I can still see you!|
A stop at the mirador La Vicaria hide for our picnic lunch revealed only many distant waders of various sizes in the heat haze with only Dunlin being positively identified. A lovely Buzzard drifted overhead and a handful of Serin were recorded. On to Cantarrannas mirador where nothing extra was added and so the start of respective journeys home which included a very lovely male Hen Harrier at the far end of the laguna near the near mirador. All that then needed to be recorded were the Corn Buntings on the wires and the Rock Dove near the farm before once again joining the main road back towards Antequera and the motorway. A very enjoyable day and in the best of company which, for me, finally provided a total of 53 species including three new for the year as previously mentioned.
|A last view of the Garganey Anas querquedula|
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Garganey, Teal, Red-crsted Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Heron, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Little Owl, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail (Iberian), White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
|So how many species can you count; 7 or more?|
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