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.
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)
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 Snipe. Gadwall, 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)
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)
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.