01/02 : a morning at Fuente de Piedra

Two birding trips this last week and no blogs done, so first this one with no photos about the lagunas Dulce and Fuente de Piedra this last Wednesday, and then, as there are a bundle of photos to process and a lot more species to talk about, La Janda on Friday.

Ron Appleby and myself had a morning free and as my birding might be much reduced for family reasons after the middle of this month (yes, January has gone!) we took the opportunity for a quick visit to the laguna Dulce (Campillos) which was rather poor, in spite of seeing a Buzzard just bnefore drove off the road to the hide. Things have not been helped by a constant stream of trucks rumbling along the road over on the far side. This disturbance certainly accounted for seeing only 2 very distant Little Bustards and possibly for only 2 Marsh Harriers. There were very few ducks, a smattering of the common ones, and the same for the grebes with only one or two Black-necked and a single Great Crested. That made getting on to Fuente de Pîedra even more quickly a matter of some urgency.

We stopped at the top end where one can overlook the lake from the west. Quite a lot of Greater Flamingos but I couldn't find a Lesser, but they hide so easily if there is a mass of their big cousins. From up there we did find a group of 3 Black-tailed Godwits and later, from the information centrea end, a string of 15 more. But I jump ahead. A quick stop at Cantarranas gave us only 3 Marsh Harriers, the worst of this mirador being that one is looking in to the light in the morning. The other side of the road gave us some 150 Cranes, quite distant but very wary.

From the information centre, we had little time to spare but finding a Lesser Flamingo was very easy as the light was right, it was nicely apart from big cousins and the colour difference very visible. There were some very handsome Teal and Shoveler, as usual, quite a few Snipe and a pair of Shelduck were grovelling in the mud along the shore of the main lake. The bird of the morning was, without a doubt, the Black-shouldered Kite which made an appearance just as we were leaving for the run down to the coast, now some 10 minutes more rapid because of the new peaje (= toll but dirt cheap at 3.05 euros) autovía which runs from the top of Las Pedrizas down to Torremolinos, this cutting out the kamikaze curves. and possible jams coming round Málaga.

The Friday blog should be on-line tomorrow, Sunday, as apart from 60+ photos to go through, this universally cold afternoon England play Scotland for the Calcutta Cup.

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