🇪🇸 Monday 25th April 2023 🌞30C ~ Wind SE @ 3MPH ~An early morning and chilly start at Fuente de Piedra arriving at sunrise to just 8C and clear skies. As I drove slowly onto the reserve, parking next to the pool on your left when you enter the reserve ('the disappearing pool') I could see immediately there was plenty to look forward to. *('the disappearing pool') This pool will be devoid of water in a few weeks!
|Around 50 or so Greater Flamingos on the Cerro del Palo|
A large gathering of Greater Flamingos, many Avocets, Pochard and Black-winged Stilt on the water and from the car I could make out at least ten Common Sandpipers, plus Little-ringed Plovers, Ruff and a few Little Stints feeding around the peripheral.
|A Purple Heron directly overhead|
After parking, I made my way over to Sedero las Albinas for a walk across the boardwalk. In fact, I'd only made it halfway when a Purple Heron flew directly over my head! The lagoon was awash with birds and along with a few local photographers, I spent an hour enjoying the scene from the boardwalk. It's no exaggeration to say that I've never experienced so many different wader species in one small area and, provided you were quiet, the birds were extremely tolerant.
|At least 17 Curlew Sandpipers mostly in breeding plumage.|
The best way to give a further account of this part of the visit is to write a short pictorial of the species noted and this follows below.
|Black-winged Stilt ~ Various numbers on the lagoons|
|Water Rail ~ Just a single bird noted. Seemed to be the main attraction for the photographers!|
|Ringed Plover ~ A count of seven on the lagoon|
|Little-ringed Plover ~ Display flight in evidence & lots of chasing around.|
|Glossy Ibis ~ A nice group of 16 birds on the Sedero las Albinas|
|Ruff ~ Great to see one almost in breeding plumage.|
|Little Stint ~ I counted 15 but could have easily been more.|
|Wood Sandpiper ~ Just a single bird noted today.|
|Spotted Redshank ~ Always nice to see in near-summer plumage.|
|Avocet ~ Good numbers around most areas of the reserve.|
After the boardwalk, I had a quick walk to check out a few agricultural fields and scoped at least four Stone Curlew in the heat haze, the temperature was now well on the rise.
|The first of five Woodchat Shrikes seen today.|
The first of five Woodchat Shrikes were also noted, plus a couple of Yellow Wagtails, one a Motacilla flava iberiae. As I made my way back across the boardwalk to begin my walk along the path that runs adjacent to the main laguna it seems I stumbled upon quite a rarity for the sight, a Grasshopper Warbler. Actually, I wasn't aware of this fact until I uploaded my report on Ebird when shortly after I received an email requiring more data. I only heard the bird, which was reeling for some time but had the good sense to record it on my Merlin App and so have updated my sighting report.
|Gull-billed Tern ~ One of a number of birds commuting from the main lagoon across to the Laguneta.|
A central track runs left from the centre and leads between mixed agricultural fields and the main lagoon, it ends at a railway crossing around a kilometre away. Despite being well protected by treeline there are a few areas where you can get reasonable long-distance views of the Lagoon. Unfortunately, the lagoon is extremely low on water and I estimate that less than 200 Greater Flamingos are currently on site. Lots of Shelduck and Gull-billed Terns and I managed to pick out two Kentish Plover on the salt flats.
Along the walk, Cuckoo, Reed Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Nightingale, Stonechat, three more Woodchat Shrike and a single Spotted Flycatcher were the best, along with many House Sparrows.
|A pair of Red-crested Pochard on the Lagunetta|
My next stop was the Lagunetta Hide, where most of the waterfowl can be found and today there was a good selection. (5) Marbled Duck, Pochard, (6) Red-crested Pochard, (5) Black-necked Grebe along with Little Grebes, (5) White-headed Duck, (2) Northern Shoveler and (15) Gadwall. A Turtle Dove could also be heard and over towards the town on a large chimney stack I was happy to see the White Stork nest is still there with a single bird in residence. A creditable 72 species were noted today!