At the airport in the middle of the night to take friends back for their return flight so straight on to Zapata arriving at 5.50 for twenty minutes or so. As you will deduce from the time spent in the dark nothing seen (apart from a single young rabbit) so off to Fuente de Piedra where the only open coffee facility was in the market. Still, a quick coffee and then down to the salinas to park on the road alongside the flooded field and await the morning light. In the gloom at the back I could make out 21 Flamingos and a couple of Black-winged Stilts so took a short walk over to the boardwalk, found a few more Flamingos but nothing else in the dark. And my goodness it was cold!
|Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus on the move|
|Resting Gull-billed Tern Pagaza Piconegra Sterna nilotica with feeding Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus and Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta|
|Avocet Avoceta Comun Recurvirostra avosetta accompanied by a pair of Ruff Combatiente Philomachus pugnax and a Shovler Cuchara Comun Anas clypeata|
|Very distant record shot of the pair of Stone Curlew Alcaravan Comun Burhinus oedionemus|
Meanwhile, looking at the main water, there seemed to be a slight increase in water and this was accompanied by a definite increase in Flamingos present. Lots to be seen and informed by the Centre staff that there were now upwards of 15,000 on site (we saw and neighbours heard Flamingos making their way westwards during the past week and presumably heading towards Fuente de Piedra) but there was much concern how the breeding season would develop as they expected the water levels to reduce in the coming weeks.
The main hide overlooking the Laguneto revealed that there was still plenty of water but , at least, the islands were once again beginning to appear. Lots of Black-headed Gulls about and a score or more Avocets along with Mallard, Pochard, Shoveler and Teal. Still a number of Flamingos on the water along Coot, Moorhen and Coot and a number of Black-winged Stilts. Beyond the pair of White Stork could be seen on their new nest atop the tall chimney and, naturally, lots of Spotless Starlings and Rock Doves inhabiting the roof tops.
A Hoopoe could be heard singing as I walked to the neighbouring hide and a Green Sandpiper took to the air upon arrival. On the water I was able to add a pair of Red-crested Pochards. Using the bins to look at a nearby Goldfinch on the ground below a bush I was rather pleasantly surprised to see my first Nightingale of the year standing nearby and then it disappeared within and refused to come out and have its photograph taken!
|Male Red-crested Pochard Pato Colorado Netta rufina|
|Ruff Combatiente Philomachus pugnax in the compoany of Little Stints Correlimos Menudo Calidris minuta|
The farm did, indeed, produce a number of House Sparrows and then on the return side back to Fuente I stopped to see another Corn Bunting perched on top of the old ruin and scoping the water picked up a Woodchat Shrike in the young olive trees. In front of me a Serin was posing in a bush and a Crested Lark made the short journey form one side of the road to the other. Finally, on the back track opposite the railway station, a trio of Lesser Kestrels were in the air and showing very well.
|And a Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius came along to join the Ruff's party|
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Heron, White Stork, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Snipe, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Rock Dove, Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting.
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