Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spain - Final Day!

Bare Laguna Fuente de Piedra - Dazzling in the bright sunshine!
My flight home wasn't until late evening Monday so a visit to Laguna Dulce and Fuente de Piedra was on the cards, Lesser Kestrel on route to our first stop, Laguna Dulce. As we arrived at the hide a Spotted Flycatcher was perched on the roof and shortly after a second on the ground near the parking area seemed to have a damaged wing! A coupe of Spotless Starling were also close by and offered a photographic opportunity.

Spotless Starling
Plenty of water here but not too much mud for the waders and so during our stay we only managed a lone Ruff, (3) Ringed Plover, Little-ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper and numerous Black-winged Stilts. A small party of mixed Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper flew through but we never managed to see where they settled, if at all. Plenty of hirundines with Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow and plenty of Sand Martins, a few Common Swifts were also drifting through. A real bonus was a Subalpine Warbler that appeared close to the hide but just as I was about to get a cracking shot everything flushed, we never managed to relocate!

Sardinian Warbler
Good numbers of Greater Flamingo with lots of adult and juvenile birds and both Little Grebe and Black-necked Grebe were into double figures. Shoveler were in good numbers, a species I've always had down as a dabbling duck but the ones here are constantly diving! Over forty odd Pochard out towards the centre seemed a good number and Gadwall and White-headed Duck were also well represented, strangely a lone Wigeon was under the dead trees to the left of the hide. Raptors included a Common Buzzard and a couple of Marsh Harrier. Other birds of note: Zitting Cisticola, Goldfinch, Yellow Wagtail (iberiae), Common Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and Chiffchaff.

Crested Lark
On to Laguna de Piedra, where the drive down to the centre produced Crested Lark, Stonechat, Whinchat and Red-legged Partridge. I was already aware that the laguna itself was almost devoid of water after a super dry summer but no visit to the area is complete without a stop here, as it can also be a great place for passerines. We arrived just as the visitor centre was closing for lunch and from the centre view point managed distant views of around 30 or so Greater Flamingo and similar numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gull both feeding in a small pocket of water to the south. We visited the lagunetta hides which thankfully overlooked water but unfortunately the guys were busy strimming and the only bird of note was a distant Peregrine being mobbed by several hirundines. Around the mirador a couple of Little Owls were calling to each other but we never managed to connect.

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike
When visiting I always take a walk south along the perimeter track that runs parallel to the laguna. Spotted Flycatcher on the fence, along with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, juvenile Woodchat Shrike and a flock of around forty or so Goldfinch. At the bottom of the track the Olive groves appear and it's always worth checking the bases of the olive trees as they provided decent shelter in the afternoon heat. We were on the money with Pied Flycatcher, White Wagtail, Whinchat and Wheatear all ground feeding and then taking cover, time for the airport!!