Monday 22 January 2018

Fuete de Piedra

Saturday 20 January

Fuente de Piedra for the morning and attend the Annual meeting of the Andalucia Bird Society.  My word it was cold upon arrival even if the sky was clear and the sun shining.  Car warnings on the A92 informing me that the outside temperature had dropped to 3C and then fell again and steadied at 2C.  However, up to 4C upon arrival and after the meeting as I made my way home via an almost circuit of the laguna the temperature had risen to a very warm 18C so a case of removing a few layers.  The cold start was bad enough but whilst I was meeting guests and sorting out bits and pieces for the coming meeting I did not join the others checking out the local birds.  Yes, you guessed it, missed out on both the Wryneck and single Redwing , the latter feeding on the beautiful red berries!

My initial work completed I wandered around the back of the Visitors Centre to see what was about on the laguneto.  Lots of water at the moment including the flooded field on the left as approaching the car park and holding  mainly Shoveler and Coot.  To the side of the Visitors centre we soon encountered the resident Jackdaws and down below the first Spanish Sparrow of the day.  The scrape had plenty  water but no birds where I had expected to find a range of small waders.  Finally a solitary Snipe then on the the main hide at the laguneto.  Lots of birds present including three Flamingo.  Those on the main water, probably a couple of hundred, were very distant and instead most of the near water was occupied by thousands of gulls, mainly Lesser Black-backed but no shortage of Black-headed Gulls.

Coots and, again, mainly Shoveler but we did find a good number of Common Pochard and, finally, a pair of Red-crested Pochards along with a handful of Mallards.  A small number of Little Grebes were bust feeding and every so often a Moorhen would put in an appearance.  Small birds recorded included Chiffchaff, Stonecaht and White Wagtails along with a pair of Sardinian Warblers.  Back on the water, the arrival of three Shelduck exposed the small number already on or near the left-hand island.  With a Cetti's Warbler calling we made our way back to the car park and Visitors Centre in readiness for the Annual Meeting, sighting a Song Thrush and meeting up with the rest of the members.  On the far side of the stream we finally located the Stone Curlew along with a number of Black Redstarts and Stonechats and a lone White Stork was seen in the distance.

Distant female Red-crested Pochard Pato Colorado Netta rufina
Following the meeting I spent a short time trying, unsuccessfully, to locate the above Wryneck and Redwing but did observe, in addition to the Black Redstarts and Blackbird, a number of Blackcap and a very obliging Meadow Pipit.

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis
Then it was off to Mirador de Cantarranas noting the Black-winged Stilt on the flooded field with a pair of Red-legged Partridges making a good effort at throwing themselves in front of the car.  Just before the mirador we stopped to take a look at the first sightings of the wintering Cranes.  Whilst at the side of the road we also found a pair of courting/feeding Black-shouldered Kite.  More Cranes seen from the mirador along with distant Flamingos plus a distant Heron motionless on the field to our left and then on towards the turn onto the main road towards Antequera.

Distant record shot of Black-shouldered Kite Elanio Comun Elanus caeruleus

Again, a stop near the white farm building to check out another few score Cranes also revealed a flock of smaller birds.  Expecting to identify as Lapwing when focused in the scope we had thirty-six Little Bustard, a very good find indeed.  The distant Kestrel and Spotless Starlings seemed almost irrelevant.

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Mallard, Shovler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Red-legged Partridge, Heron, White Stork, Flamingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Little Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow,

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