Thursday 19 September 2013

Laguna Dulce & Fuente de Piedra

John and Jenny Wainwright were back on the road on Wednesday and seem to have had a very successful and enjoyable time visiting Fuente de Piedra and nearby Laguina Dulce.  Most jealous that they managed to find a Whinchat, a bird that seems to have eluded me all year!  Fuente de Piedra still seems to be full of Greater Flamingos on the main water and still a great variety of waders on the small laguneta at the rear.  As for the Dulce, it seems once more to be in its element and well worth a visit (to both that is) whilst the situation is most favourable.

Fuente de Piedra & Laguna Dulce: 18th September 2013

A cool start 14C but warmed up very gradually to 24C.  A few sightings en route such as Collared Dove, Spotless Starlings, Wood Pigeons and a Hoopoe.  As we approached the site the lack of water in the first flood meadows and the boardwalk was very obvious, but we still walked down to that area in hope.  A couple of Stonechats, a Zitting Cistocla and a Grey Wagtail were seen.

More Grey Wagtails on the dry scrape and opposite a Sardinian Warbler and more Stonechats were singing.  A flock of Goldfinches in all stages of plumage and age were raiding the thistle heads both sides of the track.

Gadwall Anade Frisa Anas strepera (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
At the centre´s mirador we looked over the laguna and here we saw Greater Flamingos - adults and juveniles - Black-necked Grebes, Mallard, Teal, Black-headed Gulls, Avocets, Little Egrets and Common Coots.  Hirundines were Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, House Martins and a lone Common Swift.

On towards the lagunetta hide; water again in short supply but what pools were here were packed with waders in the shape of Little Stints, Ruff, Black-winged Stilts, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Avocets, Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Redshank, two Dunlin and a few SnipeGadwall, Mallard and Pochard were the duck representatives and a few Greater Flamingos were also present along with Coots and Moorhens.  The bushes held Goldfinches, Sardinian Warblers, Common Redstarts, an Orphean Warbler and a Cetti's Warbler was calling from the reeds.

Snipe  Agachadiza Comun Gallinago gallinago (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Leaving the reserve towards the Mirador Cantarras we found Southern Grey Shrike, more Red-rumped Swallows and great views were given to us by a female Whinchat.  At the mirador a pair of Marsh Harriers put on a show for us and also here we found Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebe, Black-headed Gulls, Mallard, Pochards and Cetti´s Warbler.

Female Whinchat  Tarabilla Nortena Saxicola rubetra (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

We then had lunch and then onto Laguna Dulce.  A Common Buzzard was seen on one of the telegraph poles close to the laguna.  And at the hide - which was full of small midges and flies for a few minutes - until a breeze sprang up and they all disappeared (thankfully).

We settled in, to the calling of the Cetti´s Warbler and the scratching of a Reed Warbler, and on the water were some eighty plus Black-necked Grebe, White-headed Ducks, Mallard, Shovelers, Teal and a few Pochard.  Lots of Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Common Coots, Moorhens, Gadwalls and in the distance were about twenty Greater Flamingos.

Marsh Harrier  Culebrera Europea Circaetus gallicus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Two Marsh Harriers were seen quartering the back reed bed and while they were doing so put up a Little Bittern.  The two Marsh Harriers were joined by another three and in turn these birds put up the ducks and twelve Little Egrets, shortly to be joined by a Squacco Heron which dropped into a dead bush alongside two Grey Herons.  Also in and around the reeds I came across two Purple Swamphens.

I then came across two Common Buzzards searching in the fields and these in turn were put up as a Booted Eagle came across them.  All across the laguna were masses of House Martins and Barn Swallows, and as a Marsh Harrier flew closer to the hide, this time it put to flight a Purple Heron.

A lot of dragonflies about, mainly Red-veined Darters also three Lesser Emperors.

Lesser Emperor  Anax parthenope dragonfly  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
 Nothing extra was seen on our homeward journey.

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