14/05 : Fuente de Piedra and an appeal

A nice morning and she who thinks she rules was cleaning, so getting out seemed to the best and safest option, especially as the wader migration is now well on and there are still some, the highest latitude breeders, still moving through. I was late away and not down there until 10, which was a bit late as it was already starting to warm up nicely until it got downright hot, well over the 30ºC mark by the time I left around 12.30.
The heat and the wind is having a very negative effect on the water levels and there is now no water to the left of the road as one enters and that around the wooden board walk is diminshing rapidly but there are still some waders, although what I saw today may very well bear no relation to what is seen tomorrow.
Today there were some 200+ Flamingos over on the left as there had been less than a hundred last week and Saturday afternoon a flock entered but were very uncertain and restless according to information from Manolo Rendón, director of the reserve and a great chap and friend who has dedicated his career to the place and these birds and to whom the many birders who visit owe much.
There are plenty of Gull-billed Terns around and I estimated well over a hundred in the area just around the board walk as they fed over the fields and came and went on their foraging further afield. They are tremendously elegant birds and their call is a dead giveaway. On the other hand there were some Black-headed Gulls and there are nests, at least 15 as far as Manolo and I could see, on two islands in the lake behind the information centre. A single Collared Pratincole, another very elegant bird and with a flight which makes it hard to believe that it's a wader but which refused to come close and give me a try at a photo as it hawked for insects over the fields.
As for waders, there were 5 or 6 Wood Sandpipers - what a good spring we have had for these, and a single Green Sandpiper. Last Thursday Bob had seen 30+ Curlew Sandpipers, many in full breeding plumage, but today there were about 8, all feeding busily way out of camera range. The 20+ Dunlin, nearly all sporting the sooty black bellies, were feeding with equal enthusiasm, as were the 4 Ringed Plovers and the elusive single Temminck's Stint, now in virtually full breeding plumage but I saw only 2 distant Little Stints.
I wasn't really keeping much of watch for passerines or raptors, although the operatic Great Reed Warbler which featured in an earlier blog was still at it, although invisible in the depths of the reed bed, and a female Yellow Wagtail flew over, as did a pair of rather tatty Black Kites showing good signs of primary and tail moult.

Once more an attempt is being made to bring some pressure bear on the weak-kneed, lily-livered Maltese politicians to stop the spring massacre of migrants by their unspeakable hunting inhabitants, in spite of continual international condemnation. Therefore, please copy and paste to this link http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_Spring_Hunting_in_Malta/  then read and sign.


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