Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Fuente de Piedra - Spain day 5

Our penultimate day in Spain and the weather resembled something more akin to the Scottish highlands with an absolute hoolie blowing in off the sea! Having said that when we arrived at our first stop, Laguna Dulce, Booted Eagle and Raven on route, at least the sun had come out.

Gull-billed Tern over Laguna Dulce
The laguna has plenty of water currently and we were greeted by a hole raft of Red-crested Pochard, numbering in the region of 50/60 birds. Lots of House Martin, Sand Martin and Barn Swallows feeding over the water, along with the odd Common Swift and a nice pair of Black-necked Grebes almost in full summer plumage. A decent selection of water fowl with White-headed DuckPochard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Great-crested Grebe and Little Grebe.

Wood Sandpiper - This one at Fuente de Peidra
Not too many waders represented today with a few Lapwing, a single Little-ringed Plover and a brace of Black-winged Stilt. Around the hide area House SparrowCetti's Warbler, Serin and plenty of Goldfinch, plus a Hoopoe calling from across the road but not located. Towards the back and at real distance Greater Flamingo and a group of Terns roosting were probably Gull-billed Tern and a single Cattle Egret was also noted. Out of the wind in the sunny areas a few butterflies to be seen with Swallowtail, Clouded Yellow and Small White.

Whiskered Tern at rest - Fuente de Piedra
On to Fuente de Piedra and the recent  rains have certainly paid dividends with plenty of water on the flood meadow and in the main laguna, where 1000s of Greater Flamingos shimmered in the sunshine. As we drove to the parking area several Whiskered Tern along with Gull-billed Terns were fishing and waders included: Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Snipe, RuffBlack-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Black-winged Stilt and a single Little Stint.

Common Sandpiper
Standing on the boardwalk was extremely hard work, particularly with the scope attempting to blow over at any moment. Here a couple of Wood Sandpiper along with more Little-ringed Plover, Kentish PloverWhite Wagtail and a number of Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiae)

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae
Around the mirador a Little Owl Calling but not picked up and a walk south along the perimeter track that runs parallel to the laguna was very windy. Despite the conditions several Corn Bunting, a large flock of mixed Jackdaw and Spotless Starlings, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, and deep in the reed bed my first singing Nightingale of the year. We visited the Lagunetta hides which were, dare I say, too full of water offering no wader potential but the gulls were in their element with Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed all noted. Wildfowl included Pochard, Shoveler and the odd Gadwall, plus on the Island several Cattle Egret and a single Little Egret

A lone White Stork over the visitor centre
As we left the centre a lone White Stork graced the sky and the drive back, taking in several stops around the the lagoon produced Lesser Kestrel, Kestrel, ♂♀Marsh Harrier, Red-legged Partridge, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler and to end a very challenging day a small flock of Linnet.