30 January, lagunas Dulce and Fuente de Piedra

After last week's effort, when the most we could see at the laguna Dulce (Campillos) was about 15m and a few Shoveler, Bob Hibbett and I tried again this morning, going on to Fuente de Piedra after. The sight of the laguna Dulce with water after so many years dried out is amazing, and it spills over in to the surrounding fields there is so much. In fact, I rather suspect that the total lack of Little Bustards, which I was fairly confident of seeing, might have moved off because of the soggy ground, and the rather surprising lack of flamingos there because there was too much depth for them.

The place was pretty good for waterbirds though, with a few Black-necked Grebes and at least 8 Great Crested scattered amongst the multitude of ducks, with Shovelers winning in quantity over everything else. There were several Teal and at least 13 Red-crested Pochards which are always nice to see, albeit at a distance, and 5 Wigeon. A flock of Lapwings (a rubbish photo in poor light) was frightened into the air by a 2nd year male Marsh Harrier, not a plumage that we see too often down here.

From there we went on to Fuente de Piedra, the light and visibility getting better all the time, going in across the western end so that we could look down and search for Lesser Flamingos amongst their bigger cousins, but with no joy. Neither did a stop at Cantarranas (photo R) yield much apart from more Cranes, their calls really are superb, a nice Song Thrush and a Raven and we saw a fox, presumably the same one as last week in almost the same place.

From there it was round to the information centre area, the centre itself being named after José Antonio Valverde, one of Spain's pioneer birders who had a lot to do with the founding of Doñana as a reserve. If you ever have the chance to get your hands on a copy, read Wild Spain by Guy Mountfort, which chronicles early expeditions along with Valverde and famous British ornithologists of that period (Eric Hosking, Lord Alanbrooke and so on) there in the 1950s, do so. It's well worth the read and will make you realise what life (and travel) was like back in those days. I picked up a copy cheap through Amazon some years since, and another outfit, Alibris may also have them.

In fact there really wasn't a lot there either. The only waders were 2 Snipe and a few Black-winged Stilts and we saw the same little 1W male Bluethroat in the same place as before (a smashing little bird!), a distant immature Marsh Harrier, but as far as I was concerned the best birds of the day were the 15+ House Martins, even though I had seen one last week, and 3 or 4 Barn Swallows - the harbinger of things to come, these hawking for insects over the laguneta behind the information centre. The numbers of Stone-curlews had dwindled to less than 20 and there wasn't a Golden Plover to be seen.

No hay comentarios: