Whilst we were enjoying a reasonably pleasant morning above Lake Vinuela with increasing cloud cover throughout the morning leading to heavy rain in the afternoon, it looks very much as if John and Jenny wainwright managed to receive an earlier introduction to the wet stuff whilst they were over at Fuente de Piedra. Not to worry, though, as they managed to find some good birds before having to give in to the rain as can be seen form the following account received from John.
A bright but blustery day, rain quickly followed.
As we approached the centre the sky was alive with hirundines mainly Barn Swallows and a few House Martins. The flood pond on the left of the road was deserted all bar a few Whiskered Terns and Black-winged Stilts.
|Ruff and two Reeves Combatiente Philomachus pugnax (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
At the boardwalk we found Ruff - one fine male obtaining his breeding plumage- and several Reeves, a good number of Wood Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper and a few Curlew Sandpipers. In the grasses we counted six Yellow Wagtails, of the iberia race, and a single Snipe took off from here also.
|Curlew Sandpiper Correlimos Zarapitin Calidris ferruginea (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The main scrape is still full of water although we did find a Red-crested Pochard here, Redshanks and Black-winged Stilts also. A couple of Jackdaws were noted as well as more Whiskered Terns.
|Whiskered Tern Fumarel Cariblanco Childonias hybrida (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
From the Centre's mirador we located Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard and Greater Flamingo. At the Laguneta hide we were lucky enough to see the two Ocellated Lizards that have taken to living in the old rabbit burrow directly below the hide and, on the water, we found Common Pochard, White-headed Ducks, Little Grebes, Avocets, Common Sandpiper, Moorhen, Common Coots, juvenile Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls. The area was awash with Barn Swallows, House Martins and one Sand Martin, and one Red-rumped Swallow, also Common Swifts were noted. The bushes to our front held Goldfinches, a Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starlings and some Corn Buntings. A Zitting Cisticola was heard also.
|Sardinian Warbler Curruca Cabecinegra Sylvia melanocephala (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
At the Palomas hide (the open hide) we saw Red-crested Pochard, Gadwalls and a Little Grebe. The rain was coming down quite strongly now, so we high-tailed it across to the mirador Cantarranas.
Here we saw Wood Pigeon, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls also Gull-billed Terns, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Common Pochards and an Alpine Swift showed up among a small flight of Common Swifts. Stone Curlews were heard calling but I couldn´t find them.
|Wood Sandpipers Andarrios Bastardo Tringa glareola (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The rain was now coming down with a vengeance, so we returned to Salar.
I am just hoping that the rains will hold off long enough for my visit this morning to the Guadalhorce in Malaga!
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.