Thursday 3 October 2013

Laguna Dulce with John & Jenny Wainwright

Wryneck Jynx torquilla (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
At last, the Bluethroats have returned for the winter months with the first, that I have heard about, being seen by John and Jenny Wainwright at the Laguna Dulce.  Not only Bluethroats but they even had a close view of a long-staying Wryneck and then a pair of Ferruginous Duck.  Now what was I doing yesterday whilst all this excitement was taking place?  Good job this report had not arrived before I went up to Ventas de Zafarraya this morning or I would have been really depressed!  But look on the bright side; off to Tarifa and La Janda in the morning with Steve and Elena Powell for a day or so .  Lets hope that there will be plenty of birds and the winds kinder than my previous visit a couple of weeks ago.  Watch this space, as they say, and all will be revealed when I get back next week.

Laguna Dulce 2 Otober 2013

A dull, dreary start but very hot later.

As we left home in Salar we could see the huge mist bank over Loja, a few Azure-winged Magpies and Collared Doves were in the area of the petrol station as were House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings. Not a lot else was seen en route as the mist was quite thick all the way to Laguna Dulce.

At the hide we were greeted by the resident Cetti´s Warbler and a few Goldfinches.  The water level is still quite high here and in front of the hide several Black-necked and Little Grebes were diving for food for their youngsters.  Lots of Common Coots, White-headed Ducks, Mallard, Common Pochard, Shovelers and Gadwalls were spread out over the laguna and three Marsh Harriers - two juveniles and one female were practising food parcel drops over the reed beds.   This action by the harriers caused a small raft of Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls to take off, as well as three Common Snipe.

Along the far bank we found half a dozen juvenile Greater Flamingos, Cattle Egrets, Moorhens, more of the aforesaid ducks, a Grey Heron and some Great Crested Grebes.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

A flurry of movement in the small cypress trees to the right front of the hide, produced two Spotted Flycatchers and then a beautifully marked male Bluethroat.  Jenny then went on to find a Wryneck in the same bush, the photos I got are not the finest but the birds were not in a "posing mood" and stayed well in cover.   A couple more visitors at these trees were seen throughout our visit in the shape of Willow Warblers, a Stonechat and two Cetti´s Warblers.

Record shot of the Bluethroat Luscinia svecica at Laguna Dulce (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

A movement just below the bank gave us fleeting views of a Weasel - out to decimate the rabbit population I suppose.

While we were scoping the banks to the left of the hide a Ringed Plover was seen and then Jenny found a Purple Swamphen in the large clump of bushes in the laguna.  It came out into the open water and then climbed into one of the skeletal bushes it repeated the process several times before disappearing into the reed bed.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyria with female White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala in background (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

A small group of Black-winged Stilts flew in as did four Lapwings.  A Zitting Cisticola was spotted atop a reed flower and then two Azure-winged Magpies were seen to the rear of the hide.

The Wryneck made another appearance just as a couple of our friends - Jackie and her husband - arrived.  Then another birding acquaintance joined us and told us of a couple of Ferruginous Ducks were here, they were eventually spotted coming out of the reeds to the far right of the hide, they then moved out into the open and across to the far reeds were we found the collared Red-knobbed Coot.

Hirundines were in short supply today with only small groups of Barn Swallows and two Sand Martins were noted all day.

A large group of people turned up and they found the Wryneck in the trees over the picnic site, Jenny went to photograph it but it flew back in the direction of the hide, she did however find a male and two female Pied Flycatchers.

Just prior to leaving a pair of Ravens, a small flock of Corn Buntings and a Great Tit were seen.

We took the short cut through to Humilladero and over to Fuente de Piedra, just in time for the local shepherd and his flock to enter the scrape, so we headed straight for the hides.  Here we saw Coots, Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Cattle Egret and two Little Terns.  On the main laguna were all the aforementioned ducks, Greater Flamingos, huge rafts of gulls in the distance, and in the bushes below the mirador we saw Sardinian and Cetti´s Warblers along with House Sparrows.

Great report John with lots of cracking birds seen.  Now I wonder who will be first to see one of our returning Common Cranes this month?
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