26/09 : Fuente de Piedra

A brief blog, this, about yesterday morning at Fuente de Piedra with Jorge Garzón. A splendid mornign when all we did during the more than 3 hours there was walk from the car park, round below and up by the mirador, a look at the pantaneta del Pueblo round the back and return by the same route. A shirt-sleeve and shorts morning, not that there'll be too many left, but lots of birds.

For a start off, 17 spp. of waders - not in great numbers but variety is better - and with good views too from the path below the mirador as nearly all were on the flash there. Don't worry, I'm not giving a full and boring list but noteworthy was the fact that we didn't see a single 'shank and singles only of Green and Common Sandpipers. A few Snipe wandering around as though they owned the place, a few Curlew Sands - one still in nearly full breeding plumage, and the same for the Little Stints with one still in mostly breeding plumage and quite incongruous as they wandered around underneath and between the legs of the Flamingos! Talk about the long and the short of it!

Also nice to see was the presence of at least 11 Ruffs and Reeves, some of the Ruffs splendid big chaps and one of an extreme variety with all the body, neck and head white with the white extending to about half way down the mantle - quite a striking bird and I've seen white-ruffed ones on the breeding grounds on Texel and in the polders many years since but never one like this. It is in this shot but between the distance and heat shimmer it gives some idea! As Jorge said, it seems to be my moment for seeing extra-white birds!

Way out on the lake, which still has quite a lot of water, there were 18 Black-tailed Godwits which later moved close in along with a bundle of Avocets . There were the usual Mallard and Shovelers, plus a pair of Teal in the duck line, plus a lot of Moorhens which must have had a great breeding year and the usual Coots.

Around the back at the pantaneta - pond to you - which is drying out and with little water there were 2 Stone Curlews, although a pair of Belgian birders, who later immediately endeared themselves to us by telling us what they thought about twitchers, had seen a flock of about 70 just before we arrived! It was from there that we saw a single Black-shouldered Kite, although the Belgians had seen two! You can't win sometimes but one is always better than none.

As for other bits and pieces, there were 4 spp. of swallows and martins, including a single Sand Martin. There were also goodly numbers of Corn Buntings moving through and we saw a andful of Yellow Wagtails, one a male of the flava or Blue-headed race.

NOTE : It is international bird day (weekend) and the Guadalhorce is open to visitors on Sunday when the S.E.O. will have a stand and there will be ringing demonstrations between 09 and 13h. In years gone by we have often done well, including one morning with no less than 5 Ospreys over-flying.

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