Friday, 29 March 2019

Zapata, Laguna Dulce & Fuente de Piedra

Friday 29 March

Up early and just about to set off for Fuente de Piedra and a telephone call from friend Derek Etherton informed me that he had just seen a Mute Swan at Zapata.  This is, no doubt, the same nervous Mute Swan that has spent the past week or so visiting the local waters from the mouth of the Guadalhorce to Malaga city centre and would now appear to be up river, north of the airport.  So, change of plans and an initial visit to Zapata where I did not find the swan.  I found Derek and company, who had also recorded both Great Spotted Cuckoo and a first Woodchat Shrike of the summer, but search as we might, no swan.  But I did find the pair of newly-arrived Red-crested Pochard along with Green Sandpiper and Little Egrets.  Also present were many Barn Swallows, Serin, Goldfinch, Sardinian and Cetti's Warblers.

Still at Laguna Ducle by just after ten and here the ducks were still in evidence with good numbers of White-headed, Common and Red-crested Pochard.  Lots of displaying Great Crested Grebes, the occasional Little Grebe and Black-necked Grebes looking resplendent in their breeding costumes.  Just a trio of Flamingo on site, a small number of Coot and numerous Barn Swallow and House Martin feeding over the water.  I could hear the Cetti's Warblers calling but no sign of the Little Crake which, presumably, has moved on to pastures new.

Great Crested Grebe Somormujo Lavanco Podiceps cristatus

Arriving at Fuente de Piedra there is still a good-sized pool on the left as you approach the car park so I stopped to take a note of hat was present including the resident Jackdaws. Lots of Black-winged Stilts and Avocets and a small number of Greater, Little and Kentish Plover on the far side.  Not just  a handful of Back-headed Gulls but a similar number of Gull-billed Terns.  A score or more Flamingo were on this water and searching I was able to find both single Ruff and Snipe along with Dunlin and a pair of Teal.

My first walk across the boardwalk produced nothing other than Little Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilt plus both White and Blue-headed Wagtails so on round to the Laguneta.  Here many more Flamingos plus Black-headed Gulls along with Coot, Moorhen, White-headed Duck, Shoveler, Mallard and both Common and Red-crested Pochard along with Little and Black-necked Grebes.  The occasional Goldfinch in the nearby bushes and, of course, more feeding Barn Swallows.

Black-necked Grebe Zampullin Cuelinegro Podiceps nigricollis

Returning to the car via another visit to the boardwalk proved very positive as I not only witnessed the arrival of a White Stork which landed in the neighbouring field but also saw one of the Spotted Crakes seen recently as it came out (almost) from the reeds to feed.

Well-concealed Spotted Crake Polluela Pintoja Porzana porzana

Then it was back home to both complete this report and put the finishing touches to my Bird Report from Borneo (Part two) so that I can get it published by the week-end.

Black-winged Stilt Ciguenuela Comun Himantopus himantopus
Birds seen:
Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Little Egret, White Stork, Flamingo, Kestrel, Spotted Crake, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.

Pair of White-headed Duck Malvasia Cabeciblanca Oxyura leucocephala

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

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