Thursday, 19 April 2018

Laguna Dulce and Fuente de Piedra

Tuesday 17 April

Up at Laguna Dulce near Campillos by 9.30 and amazed to see just how much water was on view, not just the laguna but also neighbouring fields.  Nevermind the hundred Flamingos I was pleased to record all three of our grebes with at least 8 Great Crested, 6 Little and no less than a dozen Black-necked Grebes.

Great Crested Grebes Somormujo Lavanco Podiceps cristatus at Laguna Dulce
Also present the usual Mallards and Coots, probably a score of Shoveler and a good-sized mixed flock of Common and Red-crested Pochard.

Trio of Black-necked Grebes Zampullin Cuellinegro Podiceps nigricollis

In front of the hide a good number of feeding House Sparrows along with many singing Corn Buntings.  In the undergrowth at least four singing Nightingales and a similar number of Cetti's Warblers.  A Woodchat Shrike put in an appearance and as the few Barn Swallows skimmed the water I noticed the distant Black-winged Stilt.   Then it was time, as a Raven crossed the road, for me to make my way round to Fuente de Piedra.

Anyone seen a House Sparrow Gorrion Comun Passer domesticus?
More Barn Swallows along with Spotless Starlings and House Sparrows as I passed the farm taking the left fork and on the Mirador de Cantarranas.  Again, very obvious the thousands of Flamingos in residence and when added to those nearer the Visitors Centre almost certainly well in excess of 20,000.  Crested Larks and Corn Buntings on the approach along with a Red-legged Partridge and from the hide mirador the shadow cast by the strong sun made duck identification almost impossible - but one could not mistake the iconic silhouette outline of the Coot,

Approaching the main entry I stopped at the farm track adjacent to the crossing of the main stream.  The field to the left was well-flooded and held a number of waders including Ruff, Dunlin and both Common and a single Spotted Redshank.  Both Moorhen and Avocet in the stream on the right-hand side of the road and flying overhead a couple of gull-billed Terns.

So on to the main laguna itself but not helped by the large party of young children at the viewing point so straight round to the Lagunetta hide which was occupied by a party of about twenty adult birders.  Third time luck to make use of the smaller, but empty, nearby hide where I found Red-crested Pochard, Moorhen and Coot.

A misty Red-crested Pochard  Pato Colorado Netta rufina  at Fuente de Piedra
Back to the main hide which now had some seating room and able to enjoy the bird life below me.  Lots of Pochards, both Common and Red-crested plus Mallard and Shoveler to ad to the Coots and Moorhens. Again, many (more indeed than the Little) Black-necked Grebes.  Also present a few Avocet and a good number of FlamingosGulls were almost exclusively Black-headed.



Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus at Fuente de Piedra accompanied by Black-headed Gulls Gaviota Reidora Larus ridibundus
Walking past the main laguna I was able to pick up Lesser black-backed Gulls and both Reed and Great Reed Warbler were singing away without a care in the world.  The same, also , could be said for the many Cetti's Warblers.  A single female Marsh Harrier drifted over at near the causeway and just the one feeding Whiskered Tern before I picked up both Greenfinch and a Blackcap. A final stop to take a second look at the flooded field on the right as I departed confirmed both more Barn Swallows but only a single Black-winged Stilt along with three Dunlin and a lone Cattle Egret.  And all the while the resident Jackdaws were moving around the site.

One of very many Corn Bunting Triguero Emberiza calandra

Leaving the motorway at Mollina I took the broken and badly pitted road/track across to the former Laguna Herrera where I found, much to my delight, that there was water once again.  A soaring Buzzard on the way and a couple of Blue-headed Wagtails making use of the speed limit sign plus very many Corn Buntings and a few more Crested Larks.

(Blue-headed) Yellow Wagails Lavandera Boyera Iberica Motacilla flava iberiae

At the back of the laguna a number of resting Little Terns and a lone Grey Heron flapped slowly across the water.  In addition to the Shelduck and small number of Avocet I also noticed a trio  of Redshank in the grasses near the edge.

These Red-crested Pochards Pato Colorado Netta rufina had obvioulsly seen enough!
Birds seen:
Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Heron, White Stork, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Dunlin, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Blue-headed Wagtail, Nightingale, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.


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