Monday 9 May 2016

John and Jenny at Fuente de Piedra

Monday 9 May

Another very wet start to the day albeit the rain has now ceased - for the moment.  What better way to cheer yourself up then than read the report from John and Jenny Wainwright following their visit to Fuente de Piedra on Saturday and, yes, those lovely terns were still about.  Much more of this rain and, hopefully, we shall once again has decent water levels on the main laguna and, maybe, even some water at the nearby Laguna Dulce; we can but hope.

Saturday 7 May:  Laguna Fuente de Piedra

An overcast and misty day, with showery intervals.

As we drove into the reserve we could see Avocets, Greater Flamingos and Black-winged Stilts, with a few ducks and waders in the background.  So after parking and setting up my scope we walked down and found a Redshank, lots of Curlew Sandpipers, Gadwalls, Mallard and three Jackdaws.  While in the surrounding reeds and bushes we saw Nightingales, Zitting Cisticola, Corn Buntings, Goldfinches and a Hoopoe.  Just then a White-winged Tern came into view then a Black Tern.  We managed to get a few photos before a gas-gun report put everything to flight.

White-winged Tern Childonias leucopterus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Moving across to the boardwalk area we saw more Curlew Sandpipers, Pochard, two Ringed Plovers and two Little Ringed Plovers, several Linnets and in the reed bed a Reed Warbler started singing and a Snipe took flight.  It started spitting with rain so we hurried along to the open hide, we could hear the Great Reed Warbler before we even got to the hide and we settled down the bird was seen moving about in the reed bed to our immediate front, it then flew over to the reeds to our right giving us good views as it sang from the reed heads.  Also about here were Little Grebe, Moorhens and Coots.  Lots of terns passing over mostly Gulled-billed with a couple of Whiskered and three Black-headed Gulls.

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

The shower had stopped so we walked across to the Lagunetta hide where the first thing spotted were two Squacco Herons, perched in a small bed of reeds to the right of an island.  We also logged Red-crested (at least forty of these birds here today) and Common Pochard, Shovelers, Mallard, a single White-headed Duck and some Gadwall.  Black-winged Stilts were in good numbers and voice as they quarrelled amongst themselves, as were Avocets and Little Grebes, and on the foreshore a Common Sandpiper was located.

Distant White-winged Tern Childonias leucopterus over Flamingos, Avocets and Coot (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
A movement about fifty yards in front of the hide gave us a Great Spotted Cuckoo feeding in the grasses, much to the chagrin of a pair of Blackbirds who repeatedly harrassed it, but the bird never blinked an eyelid.  It flew up onto a small branch and watched the antics of the Blackbirds with disdain.  We had two Spanish photographers in the hide with us and when we pointed the cuckoo out to them we nearly got trampled in the rush, but I must admit they took some really beautiful photos of it.  In the bushes surrounding the hide we saw Nightingales, Sardinian and Cetti´s Warbler before another gas-gun explosion and all the birds again flew off, including the cuckoo.

Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Leaving the hide we had a Night Heron pass over us and then at the mirador a male Montagu´s Harrier flew low across the laguna, putting to flight the Moorhens that were feeding there.  Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, House Martins and two Common Swifts were noted here, while on the laguna we saw Greater Flamingos, Black-headed Gulls, Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns, a few Redshanks and a couple of Dunlin.  It started spitting again so we headed back to the car.  As we reached it a Grey Heron flew over.  We noted that one of the terns had returned to the flood meadow so we walked down to try to get better photos of it.  We did get a couple more but the bird kept to the back half of the meadow.  We did however log a Wood Sandpiper here.

Linnet Carduelis cannabina feeding young (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

As the weather was getting no better we moved across to the Cantarras mirador, where there is still no water, but we did see Sardinian Warbler, Crested Larks, a Common Kestrel, Raven, Buzzard and Red-legged Partridge and as we drove off heading for home a Bee-eater and a Black Kite appeared, as did the sun.

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Lovely report John and so pleased to read that you could still find four tern species at the week-end (I wonder if Steve and Elena also saw all four?) and what about your Great Spotted Cuckoo!

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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