Friday 29 November 2019

Sierra Loja and Huetor Tajar

Ist-W female Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus
Thursday 28 November

Lovely sunny start down here on the coast at Mezquitilla so decided, as I would be on my own, to pay a visit to the Sierra Loja in the hope that wintering thrushes may have arrived.  Given enough time, then to carry on to Huetor Tajar to check out on the wintering Little Bustards and Stone Curlews.  Picking up Mallard, Spotless Starling and House Sparrows as I made my way towards Zafarraya, I then also recorded both magpie and a quintet of Red-legged Partridge as I made my way over the hills to Loja.

Then it was straight up to the mountain track to the summit of the Sierra Loja at about 1480 metres.  Chaffinches, Serin, Great Tit and Blackbirds at the bottom and as I ascended I also added Thekla Lark, Black Redstart and a few Jackdaw.  A special surprise when I stopped at the breeding site of the resident Spectacled Warblers and was rewarded with a good view of one the members.  Soon after the first of a trio of Iberian Grey Shrikes and then it was the turn of a Stonechat before coming across a flock of over 100 Chough.

Hundreds of Choughs Chova Piquirroja Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax at the summit of the Sierra Loja

Making my way past the old cave I eventually found a Black Wheatear but no sign of any wintering thrushes other than a couple of Blackbirds and a single Song Thrush.  making my way back I stopped to photograph what I though was a pair of Stonechat on a rock alongside the, now, very muddy track.  But, just minute, that's not a Stonechat!  No, a handsome Alpine Accentor posing next to the Stonechat and so giving a prefect comparison in size and colour.  But hope soon dashed as my friend John Wainwright kindly pointed out that it was in fact a very fresh, first winter female Stonechat.

Looking like an Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris with male Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

And so on down the mountain with a stop to try for a photograph of the Little Owl to my left and a pair of Sardinian Warblers as I neared the tree-line.

Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua
A short stop to buy some refreshments after leaving the motorway for my visit to Huetor Tajar and as I crosses the river to enter the town I could not help but notice the few Greylag Geese amongst all the domestic varieties plus a single Grey Wagtail.  Then it was time to park up and walk the usual path through the fields at the far end of the high street.  Immediately a departing Crested Lark then a pair of Zitting Cisticola.  Half-way down the path I stopped to check out the handful of Olive trees and the neighbouring bare tree.  Mainly Serins but also many Chiffchaff, a few House Sparrows and a also at least a couple of Tree Sparrows.  A White Wagtail came to join in the fun and then on to almost the far end to check out the usual fields on my left where I duly found a few Stone Curlews and a nearby Meadow Pipit.  Next to them a flock of about fifty Rock Doves/Feral Pigeon feeding on whatever had just been planted.

Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus
Next of to where we found the Little Bustards last month and much searching to discover maybe a half-dozen but well hidden in the growing greenery.  Returning to the railway bridge I took the track into the neighbouring fields and apart from more Goldfinches and Stonechats duly found about ten Little Bustards out in the open but, sadly, the photographs were very disappointing.

Record shots of the Little Bustards Sison Comun Tetrax tetrax, mainly female?
A Magpie took off and as I made my way back to the river, no chance of crossing given the state of the land and water following heavy rain, so used the bank to make progress.  Lovely to record a singing Sky Lark and then a few more Blackbirds followed by a pair of Red-legged Partridge and a couple of Cattle Egret before finishing up with another Heron and a handful of Chaffinches.

On the whole, a most enjoyable and protective day.

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Cattle Egret, Heron, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Rock Dove, Little Owl, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Sky Lark, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, Chough, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch.

Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus
Thekla Lark Cogujada Montesina Galerida theklae

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Wednesday 27 November 2019

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Group

Wednesday 27 November

With Dave and Gilly now safely back in Spain after their UK visit I see that, once more, the Arboleas Birding Group is functioning once more; no peace for the wicked or should that read enthusiast?  Welcome back Dave and look forward to more exciting reports of your birding adventures to the east of Andalucia.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 27th November

Hi all!

Glad be be back in Spain after a long seven weeks in the U.K. John made the decision last week that the group would go to Cabo de Gata today. I made my own way down the A7-E15 and headed for Pujaire.  I logged Magpie, Iberian Grey Shrike and Spotless Starling before I reached the meeting point, the cafe in Pujaire.  There I met Peter, followed by Alan, John, Les, Trevor and lastly Kevin. Those in Alan's car had also seen Northern Starling.

After a coffee we headed for the first hide seeing some Jackdaw on the way.  The Greater Flamingos were there of course.  I later estimated there to be around 300 on the salinas.  There was a large flotilla of feeding Slender Billed Gulls.  Also on the high water were some Cormorant and Mallard. As the water level was so high there were no sand bars or scrapes for waders. We did see Little Egret. A Sardinian Warbler was chuttering in front of the hide.  Trevor spotted our first Chiffchaff of the day.  Alan found a Robin and Les, a Linnet.  I spotted some Crag Martins over the pump house, but was trumped by Les's Barn Swallow.  We also saw Black Redstart, Thekla Lark, Stonechat and Meadow Pipit.

Greater Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
John then scanned the shallow pool on the other side of the road. There were 4 Snipe, a Spotted Redshank, a Black-winged Stilt and a pair of Redshank.  He also spotted a passing Yellow-legged Gull.

For a change we then headed towards the Rambla Morales.  As I joined the beach side track I spotted a flying Audouin's Gull.  We carried on along the track when we began to see small waders on the beach.  There were Sanderling and Kentish Plover.  Further along I spotted some more on savanna to our right.  There were Kentish and Ringed Plovers plus a number of Skylarks.  Alan spotted a Trumpeter Finch which flew further along towards the rambla.  Also seen was a large flock of Goldfinch with Linnets and Greenfinches present.  Two Trumpeter Finches flew off.  We added Cattle Egret, White Wagtail and Kestrel before we reached the water.  Yet again, very disappointing.  John managed to spot a Coot...yes, that was it!  Out to sea Alan found a Gannet and I, a Sandwich Tern. John added some Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

We headed back to the second hide along the Cabo beach road. As we reached the hide a flock of 26 Stone Curlew flew by.  As well as a flock of Black-headed Gulls there was a mixed rabble of feeding Greater Flamingos and Slender-billed Gulls on the water.  John spotted some Spoonbills on a distant causeway.

We moved onto the third hide, the one before the public hide.  We got out of the vehicles.  John said to me, "This is where the Dotterel were last time" indicating scrubland between us and the beach.  I replied, "Like that one there!"

Dottterel Chorlito Carambolo Charadrius morinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
In fact there were 8 Dotterel, giving good views.  We then walked to the hide.  We added Shelduck to the list.

The public hide was next.  We had a clearer view of the Spoonbill.  There were 30 of them.  Kevin and I were alone in the hide when I was shocked to see a pair of Red-rumped Swallows fly by, not 10 metres in front of us...and heading north!  The others were checking out some small waders to the right.  There were Dunlin, Little Stint and Kentish Plover.

As the wind was getting up we decided to adjourn for lunch and not head for the lighthouse.  As I drove along the road back towards Cabo village I saw a small flock of 4 Trumpeters finches flitting about the scrubland to the left.

Male Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We ended up with a respectable 50 species, the stars being the Dotterels and the very early/late Red Rumped Swallows!
Regards, Dave

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Wednesday 27 November

By the time I eventually got away form the local  hospital following my early morning appointment it was gone 11.30 on arrival at the Alcaucin picnic area and all, on the whole, very quiet.  A Black Redstart as I approached my usual car park and in the tall Eucalyptust tree opposite a couple of Crossbill.
Distant Crossbill Piquituerto Comun Loxia curvirostra
A walk through the picnic area itself and up to the top of the track produced Blue Tit and Chaffinch and Robin and Blackbird in the lower levels.  More Crossbills and Chaffinches and eventually a couple of Nuthatch.
The inquisitive Robin Petirrojo Europeo Erithacus rubecula
A Crag Martin flew over the top of the valley and on my way home after just an hour I recorded both Stonechat and White Wagtail driving down towards Alcaucin.  But at least the sun was shining and it was warm despite the good breeze.
Male Crossbill Piquituerto Comun Loxia curvirostra high in the shaded tree
Birds seen:
Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Crossbill

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Tuesday 26 November 2019

Ventas de Zafarraya

Tuesday 26 November

Lovely start to the day with sun and just a light wisp of cloud albeit quite windy as I drove up to the old railway track at Ventas de Zafarraya.  Both Black Redstart and Sardinian Warbler as I approached the mirador and then greeted by another pair of Black Redstart.  Above me a quartet of Ibex Capra sibirica feeding happily unawares, at the time, of my presence as I walked through the old tunnel I had my first Choughs as I exited.  The first Stonechat of the morning was recorded quickly followed by a Thekla Lark

Thekla Lark Cogujada Montesina Galerida theklae

Quite a long time before I eventually found my first Black Wheatear and no sooner found then a Song Thrush flew out of the nearby bush and dived into the next vegetation much to my delight.

Male Ibex Capra sibirica
Not a lot of birds recorded as I moved on to the growing fields and driving through same quickly added Spotless Starling, House Sparrow and a couple of Greenfinch.  making my way to the pond I found at least a score of Mallard but on the field opposite, now covered but with rotting tomatoes on the ground and some muddy puddles, a lovely mixture of Linnets, House Sparrows, Bramblings and Chaffinches.  Then also Meadow Pipits, Short-toed LarksCrested Lark and White Wagtails.  What a field and especially all those lovely visiting wintering Brambling looking most resplendent.

First Bramblings Pinzon Real Fringilla montifringilla of the winter
A drive up through the "Magpie Woods" and down to the left through the arable fields eventually found very many (common) Magpies followed by Blackbird, Collared Dove and even a small flock of Azure-winged Magpies.  Just a few Corn Bunting and a trio of Red-legged Partridge and making my way back I looked to the left to enjoy the spectacle of the early snow on the Sierras.

If so inclined, time to take out the ski equipment now that the white stuff has arrived
And so to El Robledal for a fleeting visit which produced only a Kestrel and at least six Jays along with more Blackbirds, Goldfinches and Black Redstarts.

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis

Young male or female Ibex Capra sibirica
Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Kestrel, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.

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Thursday 21 November 2019

Guadalhorce, Malaga

Thursday 21 November

Funny old day for the monthly field visit of the Axarquia Bird Group to the Guadalhorce reserve at the mouth of river in Malaga.  Rain promised by 11 o'clock and a short shower as I approached Malaga.  But being over thirty minutes ahead of schedule as a result of no holdups on the motorway I was able to  take a very quick diversion to drive through the Zapata birding area at the back of the airport before till arriving with ten minutes to spare.  A quick check of the entrance site and with no one present I made straight for the Casillas hide on the far side of the reserve so at least I would be under cover before the rain arrived.  Approaching, I noticed Eric and Pat Lyon behind me and once in the hide a short shower.  Then, out of the rain, the arrival of Steve and Elena Powell along with James Moore; just like "old times" with the six of us set for the morning's birding.  And best of all the only rain was a second short shower whilst we were back at the first hide.  Time to depart at exactly 1pm and a light drizzle set in but once in our respective cars and on the way home we received the anticipated, continuous heavy rain - and still light rain until the early evening.  Dull but not unpleasant weather and fifty species recorded during the morning.  Great!

Approaching Zapata from the arches I first encountered Serin before parking up at the ford.  Scores of gulls near the weir, mainly Black-headed and Yellow-legged with a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a good number of Cormorant.  A Heron was watching me watching him and then a White Wagtail flew away from near me.  Moorhens and Mallards to the side of the weir as I made my back up the slope and along the track towards the back of the airfield.  First Crested Larks then a Great Tit followed by a female Black Redstart before coming across a handful of Spotless Starlings.  The cut through the reeds produced a drinking Grey Wagtail at the stream and I noticed that the ringers had a net erected- they, too, obviously decided it was not going to be too wet a start to the morning.  Sure enough, three of the team in one of the cars undertaking the appropriate recording but, when asked, no Penduline Tits seen but they did show me the Snipe being currently processed.  Finally a Sardinian Warbler and then a group of Collared Doves as I departed the area for the short drive over to the Guadalhorce reserve.

Arriving at the Guadalhorce meting point I was greeted by a flock of House Sparrows, over a score of screaming Monk Parakeets and even a lone Raven flew off the site and over the road above me.  Given that rain was scheduled for mid-morning, with no one in sight at 9.30 I set off for the eastern arm of the Guadalhorce and the Laguna Casillas.  The initial walk along the top track produced a number of Serin and a male Blackbird and on the stones to my right a handful of Sardinian and calling Cetti's Warblers before reaching the footbridge.  A number of Cormorants were resting on the banks of the river and many, many more were to be seen during the morning.

The sleepy Booted Eagle Aguililla calzada Hieraaetus pennatus
Once at the Laguna Casillas we recorded a number of Coot and  mixture of Teal and ShovelerChiffchaffs were feeding in the grasses and reeds below us and many Crag Martins over the water.  The first Little Grebe appeared on the water and then a Moorhen on the far side.  Just in time to look up and see the local Osprey fly past us but no photograph taken at this time, not least because of the lack of decent light.  Below the hide another Black Redstart and this time chased off by an aggressive Robin.  Once the Hoopoe had disappeared we then had the pleasure of a long-staying Zitting Cisticola.

Turnstone Vuelvepiedras Comun Arenaria interpres
Moving on to the Wader Hide we had our first Black-winged Stilts of the morning ad a quartet of Teal.  A Stonechat was seen below and in the distant bear trees a resting Booted Eagle.  Having already recorded a single Black-tailed Godwit we moved on down to the Sea Watch to check out the beach.  In the old river (Rio Viejo) we found a lone Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sanderling, Ringed Plover and Little Stilt.  Just the single Turnstone on the beach and a small number of Black-headed Gulls on the water itself.

Greenshank Archibebe Claro Tringa nebularia
Returning in the same direction we picked up a Kestrel before once more arriving back at the Wader Hide.  Here we found a lone Greenshank being harassed by a bigger Black-winged Stilt and a pair of Jays arrived to rest awhile in the bare tree on the island.  Below us on the bank a pair of Greenfinches.

Mix of Shoveler Anas clypeata and Pochard Aythya ferina but note the pair of Wigeon Anas penelope (top)

And so on to the Laguan Escondida which never seems to let me down.  Lots of ducks on the water, mainly Pochard and Gadwall with also a mixture of Teal, Shoveler and Mallard.  But best of all the pair of Wigeon towards the back but no sign of a single White-headed Duck.  Maybe all these stiff-tails were over at Laguna Dulce near Campillos on an annual WHD convention!  Also on the water both Coot and Little Grebes and below the hide not just the Chiffchaffs but a Bluethroat busy washing itself and even a visiting Kingfisher.

Common Sandpiper Andarrios Chico Actitishypoleucos
Finally, a stay at the main hide overlooking the Laguna Grande.  Scores and scores of Cormorants on site along with a few Herons and a resting Booted Eagle.  A few Collared Doves in the trees to the left and on the water mainly Shoveler and Mallard along with eight Black-necked Grebes.  Whilst not seen by we last two, Steve and Elena had also seen the single Avocet and a juvenile Flamingo that flew from the far island.  Having let the visiting cyclists look at the Booted Eagle through my scope I then checked out the feeding pole at the back of the water and found that our Osprey had returned and was enjoying his lunch.  Just as we packing up to depart our cycling friends returned and so they were also able to take an enhanced look at the Osprey.  So back to the car in the very light drizzle and on the meadow to our right eight resting Herons.

Record shot pf the distant Osprey Aguila Pescadora Pandion haliaetusin poor light
Birds seen:
Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Flamingo, Osprey, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Snipe, Back-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Jay, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

The hiding Kingfisher. Why here when there is a lovely bare branch just two metres away?

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Tuesday 19 November 2019

Rio Velez, Torre del Mar

Tuesday 19 November

A lovely start to the day; warm, sunny and practically no breeze to speak of.  With rain forecast for later in the week I decided to park the car near the the old road bridge at the Rio Velez just outside Torre del Mar and walk the track to the beach and back up the other side to complete the circuit.  All seemed very dry with the only water, initially, at the lagoon just back from the beach itself.  A few Moorhens and resident Rock Doves as I prepared to start my walk and then a Hoopoe flew across the now dry driver bed.  Both Robin and Blackbird were seen and the first of very many Chiffchaff.

Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita
Reaching the hide I had more sightings of Chiffchaff and a second Robin.  Indeed, very fortunate as before setting off for hoe I had actually noted more than a handful.  From the hide I picked up a few House Sparrows and a good number of Crag Martins that were feeding above the lagoon.  Just one Monk Parakeet noted but more Moorhen feeding on the grass near the reeds.  The first of a few Cetti's Warblers was calling but nothing else until I reached the beach and able to take a good look at the lagoon.  A couple of Black-headed Gulls landed on the water and two Coot put in an appearance.  Only one White Wagtail noted along with more Chiffchaffs but then a small brown bird on the fallen sticks a little upstream caught my attention and I was able to confirm the first Bluethroat recorded here this winter.  Having reached the other side of the lagoon, not only more House Sparrows but couple of bathing Meadow Pipits and even a few Spanish Sparrows in with their House Sparrow cousins.

Bluethroat Ruisenor Pechiazul Luscinia svecica at the Rio Velez

Continuing upstream on the far side there was an inordinate number of feeding Chiffchaff and with the occasional Greenfinch and then the first Serins.  before heading towards the river bed I stopped to look at the field being harrowed and was able to see a number of Black-headed Gulls, Cattle Egrets, a number of White Wagtails along with both Stonechat and a female Black Redstart.

White Wagtail Lavandera Blanca Motacilla alba

Once back at the the river bed I found a small, almost hidden, stream and looking downstream noted both the lone Heron and a single Snipe in addition to more Moorhens

Distant record shot against the sun of the visiting Snipe Gallinago gallinago

To my left, upstream, a few Goldfinch were feeding in a puddle  along with Chiffchaffs and about a dozen Spotless Starlings.  At this point the party of ten Collared Doves arrived to roost in a nearby tree.

The Collared Dove Tortola Turca Streptopelia decaocto gathering

Back to the car and a drive upstream beyond the N340 road to check out the arable fields.  No sooner had I arrived than I found a male Black Redstart, female Blackcap, more Serins and a very large flock of Spotless Starlings which also included a handful of Common Starlings.

Another Chiffchaff Mosquitero Comun Phylloscopus collybita takes flight

Moving on to check out the river I found plenty of White Wagtails on the way and with  some clear water puddles below me I was also able to pick out another Meadow Pipit along with both a single Lapwing and a lone Grey Wagtail.  Similarly, I finally found a couple of the expected Crested Larks.  So, my relatively short visit had produced 31 species before making my way back for a welcome coffee and churros.

Meadow Pipit Bisbita Pratense Anthus pratensis
Birds seen:
Cattle Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Snipe, Back-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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Sunday 17 November 2019

Laguna Dulce and Fuente de Piedra

Saturday 16 November

Common Cranes Grulla Comun Grus grus over Laguna Dulce
With the sun already shining in a clear blue sky and, at last, the wind abated I set off for a morning at the Laguna Dulce near Campillos just after 9 am.  Already up to 11C as I departed but upon arriving, having received a frost warning in the car when the outside temperature dropped to 3C at the top of the long climb up from Malaga, I arrived jut before 10.30 to be greeted by 5C, lots of birds on the water but very cold when standing at the hide as my hands gradually turned to ice.  But it was worth the effort and by the time I returned to Mezquitilla in mid-afternoon the temperature on the coast was up into the low twenties.

Checking out the water, try as I might I could not find a single Great Crested Grebe; scores of both Little and Black-necked Grebes but not a single sight of their larger cousin.  On the other hand, in addition to the hundreds of Coot, I had a marvellous selection of ducks.  Very many Mallard and Shoveler and diligent searching produced about a score of Common Pochard,  handful of Red-crested Pochard and a single Shelduck.  No Teal but a good number of Gadwall.  However, despite losing count at in excess of 250 White-headed Ducks my pride of place probably went to the score or more of Wigeon, not a bird I find that often in southern Spain, but then welcome sighting of a quartet of Garganey, my bird of the day.

Mainly Gadwall Anade Friso Anas strepera in this group of ducks
Whilst a good number of Crag Martins were feeding over the water and both Chiffchaff and House Sparrows were foraging below me in the greenery along with calling Cetti's Warblers, I looked up to watch the passing female Marsh Harrier.  This reminded me of the Black-shouldered Kite that I had just past on top of a wooden telegraph pole as I drove through Santa Ana just down the road.  A single Moorhen wandered out towards the hide whist on the opposite side of the nearby bay to my left an arriving Lapwing also drew my attention to Black-winged StiltRinged Plover and both Grey and White Wagtails working the shore. A little further behind them working both shore and hedgerow was a small flock of Meadow Pipits.

Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus at Laguna Dulce in the company of Coot Fulca atra and, if you carefully, Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Next job to find the wintering Common Cranes.  To the very far right-hand corner a tight group of about thirty Flamingos were busy feeding and to their rear four Common Crane.  At that moment a half-dozen flew across the water, right to left, so I knew the main flock had to be somewhere in the immediate area.  Meanwhile, there was a presence of about 100 plus Black-headed Gulls to the rear of the water and as I looked I could still be not unimpressed by the huge swathe of White-headed Ducks which seemed to stretch right across the back of the water.  Time to drive over to the far side and take the farm track towards Fuente de Piedra but first a check in the shrubbery behind me where I duly found a lovely Zitting Cisticola.

About 30+ of the White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala with a few Shoveler Anas clypeata
Moving along the back of the water I quickly found both Crested Lark and Stonechat and the first of three good-sized flocks of Linnets.  A trio of Collared Doves were resting in trees near the farm to my left at the crossroad and, as I watched, a pair of Raven with a quartet of Jackdaws above the moved to the the left.  As the Ravens continued the Jackdaws joined a few more of their number also at the above farm.

Raven Corvus corax (above) and Jackdaws Corvus monedula (below)

 At about the same time I found the grazing flock of at least an hundred Cranes near the back of the water.  As I watched a good section moved away to the front of me and I discovered two further large flock so bringing the Crane total up to well over 300.

Common Cranes Grulla Comun Grus grus
Continuing on down the track nothing to record at the old ruin though I did pick up a solitary Buzzard resting on a relatively recently-ploughed field.  A good number of Jackdaws were seen at the "nesting tower" along with a few Spotless Starlings.  More Linnets and then both Serin and Goldfinches before re-joining the road and taking the anti-clockwise circuit to the salinas of Fuente de Piedra.

Female Linnet Carduelis cannabina (above) and Stonechat Saxicola torquatus (below)

Unlike the Laguna Dulce, Fuente de Piedra was almost devoid of water, just a couple of large puddles and the entrance fields and scrapes completely bone dry.  The only birds to be seen on the "lake" was a tight mixed flock of mainly Lesser black-backed and Black-headed Gulls.

Flamingos Flamenco Comun Phoenicopterus roseus at the laguneta

So round to the back and the laguneta where, even here, the water level was conspicuous by its dramatic fall in level.  Never mind islands, all we now had was a couple of small humps on the barren bed.  On the remaining water mainly a few Mallard, Shoveler and Coot along with little more than a handful of Flamingos.  A Lapwing walked the nearby shire and in the bushes the occasional Linnet and House Sparrow.

Northern Lapwing Avefria Europea Vanellus vanellus

Walking back towards the car both Goldfinch and a couple of Greenfinch were recorded then a male Sardinian Warbler and a number of feeding Blackcaps in the olive trees.  A female Black Redstart put in an appearance and a male Blackbird made a hasty retreat as a Kestrel drifted overhead, so bringing up the day's total to 45 species.

Female Black Redstart Colirrojo Tizon  Phoenicurus ochruros

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Flamingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.

More Common Cranes Grulla Comun Grus grus

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