Sunday, 11 October 2015

Laguna Dulce and Fuente de Piedra

Sunday 11 October

Left home in the rain (yes, rain!) with broth-in-law, Chris to meet Pieter at Laguna Dulce and collect a supply of Birds of Andalucia, the quarterly magazine of the Andalucia Bird Society, for onward distribution.  Mind you the weather was much better once we gained height on the way towards Antequera.   Dropping down onto the plain I noticed that a start has been made on manoeuvring the new high speed rail bridge across the motorway but probably still a few weeks of work to complete.

Approaching the laguna we had a solitary Southern Grey Shrike on the wires and, after storing the magazines in the car, took a look at the now empty and barren hollow below the hide.  All very quiet apart form a good number of House Sparrows and Chiffchaff in a tree to the right-front of the hide and then we picked up a Marsh Harrier on the far side.  Also in this area were not only a couple of White Wagtails but a handful of "Blue-headed" Yellow (iberiae) Wagtails with the occasional Corn Bunting to offer a little variety.  With large charms of Goldfinches also to be seen we then made our way round to Fuente de Piedra to leave some magazines at the Visitors Centre.

Having had a Raven pass alongside the car,the Mirador de Cantarranas offered very little by way of either water or birds but a little patience resulted in finding a small number of Barn Swallows and House Martins feeding high over the dry lake.  A Buzzard was spotted by Chris as it made its way towards us and then it was on the main laguna.  Either some water is being let into the reserve or the recent rains are beginning to show fruit with a mixture of large damp patches and even some very shallow pools relatively close to the main viewing point.  At least fifty plus Flamingos present along with a large, roosting flock of mainly Lesser Black-backed Gulls but I did notice a couple of Black-headed Gulls amongst them.  Indeed, I spent some time using the scope trying to confirm that there was not a lone Lesser Flamingo present.  One individual was very red and appeared slightly smaller, size of the juveniles present, but on raising its neck to full height I cam to the conclusion that it was simply another Greater Flamingo but showing more red than might be expected.

Also in this wet area upon arrival were a couple of Grey Herons and three Little Egrets.  Closer observation revealed a pair of Mallards, a small number of Lapwing and also at least a dozen Ringed Plovers.  The short walk round the back to the Laguneto revealed more Goldfinches, a small number of Greenfinches and a lovely female Pied Flycatcher right in front of us.  Now when will she finally decide that the time has come to say goodbye and head off southwards?  Finally, a Hoopoe disappeared westwards.

Considering the weather, lack of water everywhere and the fact that we had only gone out with the intention of collecting the magazines so that we could be back in time for the start of the Russian Grand-prix, it was not too bad a morning.  I even had chance to fill up with fuel and clean the car in preparation for tomorrow's departure to the Donana, Odiel and Portuguese border before arriving home for the race.  But you can't trust those pesky Russians; TV turned on for the, as usual. 2pm start only discover that they were already on lap31 and Hamilton was in the lead and Rosberg already retired!  Well, you can't have everything.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Pied Flycatcher, Southern Grey Shrike, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

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