Friday 23 June 2017

Fuente de Piedra

Wednesday 21 June

Jenny and guests off up the mountain so took the opportunity to pay a morning visit to Fuente de Piedra to both see what the reserve was like following the distinct lack of rain and also int he hope that I might pick a couple of new birds for the year.  With regard to the latter I was successful but not the pair I had anticipated.  No sign of the Rufous Bush Robin at a nearby site so suspect its too late in the sense that the bird is no longer sat singing on the wires having achieved his objective and secured a mate for the summer.  I also remembered as I was leaving that I had been told about the breeding Barn Owl in the old electricity tower but, again, not to be.

Collared Doves as I drove through the village and on the now dry field to the left as I made my way to the car park the first Jackdaws of the morning along with a single Red-rumped Swallow.  Towards the far end I also added both Barn Swallow and House Martin and a pair of Mallards flew across towards the Laguneta.  Up to the Visitors Centre and House Sparrows whilst a look through the scope away to my right where the track heads off beyond the boardwalk I picked up both Crested Lark and an Iberian Grey Shrike busy feeding from the fence as it dropped down onto its prey, whatever it/they might be.

Then a look out across the laguna from the mirador taking advantage of the shade offered by the large tree.  What a sight!  Completely white and difficult to decide whether it looked like freshly laid snow, the Bonnerville Saltflats or simply the end of the world.  No "Bluebirds" came racing across so I assume I could omit the second choice!  Way, way over tho the very far left was a huddles mass of Flamingos and, presumably this was the main breeding colony.  The rain we had a month or so ago must have done some good as today's paper informs me that there will be a ringing programme in early August, so some successful breeding.  Nearer and to the left where what little mud/silty/water might have accumulated from the minuscule inflow another two hundred Flamingo in one mass trying to ind sufficient food to survive.  But at least it made it easy to scan the whole flock and sure enough., to me great delight, I managed to find the single Lesser Flamingo.  One down and one new bird to find.
Lesser Flamingo Flamenco Enano Phoeniconaias minor (PHOTO: Tom Merigan from Internet)

On round tot he back and the Laguneta but a quick look at the small pond on the way revealed not only dirty, brown water but a single Avocet.  This was to be the only Avocet seen all morning during my 90 minute stay.  Lots of water here but the islands in front held numerous breeding Black-headed Gulls and their now well-grown chicks.  A few Coots, Moorhen and Litttle Grebe and ducks consisted mainly of Mallard.  However, a little closer scrutiny revealed not only the small number of Common Pochard but also at least a trio of White-headed Ducks.  To the very far left a couple of Shelduck and more Flamingos.  Overhead, in addition to the Barn Swallows and House Martins, a small number of feeding Gull-billed Terns and a pair of Whiskered Terns.

A scoped look at the far bank picked up a Black-winged Stilt and on top of the old chimney the baby White Stork was keeping very low to, presumably, try and avoid some of the sun's heat.  Good job that I then saw the adult coming flying in to the nest.

An interesting visit to the adjacent hide paid off having waited patiently for something to happen.  Not just the pair of Sardinian Warblers as I approached or the feeding House Sparrows, occasional Mallard or passing Spotless Starlings but the Bonelli's Warbler that put in a brief appearance.  Not the bird I expected but, nevertheless, another first for the year.  Walking back a pair of Stonechats were busy trying to feed their hungry youngsters and my final bird was a Kestrel as I left the village an was till able to be home in time for lunch.

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Stonechat, Sardinian warbler, Bonelli's Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

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

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