Saturday 30 March 2013

Laguna Dulce with the Wainwrights

Whilst I am still trying to sort myself out and get my short blog posted I was very pleased to received the following from John and Jenny Wainwright who had ventured forth along the A92 to Fuente de Piedra and the Campillos lakes.  My word they seem to have had a good morning's birding but somewhat indifferent weather.  Shame really as we had lovely weather that got better, rather than worse, as the day went on!

Read on for John's report.

Laguna Dulce & Redonda  Friday 29 March

Overcast with scattered showers, a few sunny periods en route to one of our favourite destinations, Laguna Dulce, we saw Spotless Starlings, Collared Doves, Wood Pigeons, Jackdaws, four Chough and a ring-tail Montagu´s Harrier.

Great Crested Grebe Somormujo Lavanco Podiceps cristatus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

The wind had picked up quite a bit by the time we had parked outside the hide - but at least it wasn´t blowing directly into the hide - which made birding more comfortable.  The water level was so high here - it had almost reached the hide - but in a good way, as it had brought the birds that bit nearer for photos.  Our first sightings were of Common Coot and Great Crested Grebes, the latter was parading in front of a female with a newt in its beak. This occurred several times during our visit here . The next sighting was of a Crested Coot (uncollared), this stayed in and round the area - calling the whole time we were there. Then a dark mass appeared up the top of the reed bed, this turned out to be a Purple Swamphen, it was shadowed in the water below by another.  Also to our front we could see Common and Red-crested Pochards, Little Grebe, Gadwall, Shovelers, a single Mallard and a couple of Moorhens.

Red-knobbed Coot Focha Moruna Fulica cristata (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

In the bushes a Cetti´s Warbler was heard and several Chiffchaffs were noted along with Goldfinches, Corn Buntings, Serins and a Hoopoe. The plaintiff call of a Little Owl was heard but we never saw the bird.

Across the laguna we spotted a Buzzard and a female Marsh Harrier, which in turn put up several Whiskered Terns and a Green Sandpiper and as the harrier flew over the back of the reed beds it was mobbed by a couple of Lapwings and then a Grey Heron joined in the mobbing.  On the water at the far end of the laguna we found White-headed Ducks in the company of Teal, Shovelers and Gadwall.  Lots of gulls about with Black-headed being the most numerous, mixed with  a smattering of Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backs.  On the grass bank behind the laguna a pair of Shelduck were spotted. 

Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

The sky started blackening over now and this brought massive influx of hirundines, including three Alpine Swifts as well as Common and a couple of Pallids; a few Barn Swallows were seen also.
Everything seemed to quieten down for a while then a Zitting Cisticola flew across the front of the hide and in the distance over by the ruin a Booted Eagle soared, this put up a small group of seven Little Bustards, which we hadn´t seen skulking in the grasses.

Redonda Laguna:

The rain started blowing into the hide so we made our way over to the Redonda lagoon.  Here on the flooded fields to our right we saw Coots, Moorhens, Black-winged Stilts and Little Grebe.  From the hide at Redonda we found Black-winged Stilts, Pochard and Little Grebe.  Across the fields here we could see Common Swifts and Barn Swallows, Corn Buntings and six Common Kestrels were hawking the crest of the hills.  A lone Calandra Lark rose up from the fields singing but quickly dropped down out of sight again, as the rain started again.

We decided to make our way back as it was getting quite cold now.  On the flooded fields along the Antequera road (A384) we found Greater Flamingos, Avocet, Black-winged Stilts, a Sandwich Tern and a huge raft of mixed gulls were present. A little further on and just prior to the Bobidilla turn-off, a Black Kite appeared putting up a flock of some eleven or twelve Little Bustards - from the area we had seen them a fortnight ago.

A nice end to the day as the rain started in earnest.

Great report John, lovely photos Jenny and what marvellous birds.  So completely different from the small selection that I had up in the Sierra Tejeda.

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

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