14/08 : laguna Dulce & Fuente de Piedra

Awoken early and unable to sleep again, I was out of the Paterson menagerie (or should it be ménage?) by 07.25 and at the laguna Dulce (Campillos) by 08.20 - the new toll motorway from Torremolinos direct to the top of Las Pedrizas is a boon. It was a beautiful morning, pleasantly cool, around 22ºC I would think, with not a breath of wind and - and here is the surprise - there is still water in the laguna Dulce which is prone to dry out faster than you can say 'drought', yet Fuente de Piedra is as dry as a bone.
A flock of some 330+ White Storks had over-nighted - apparently there have been other flocks seen there and at Fuente in the last week - and were spread out along the margins and amongst the Flamingos, some feeding and others resting, whilst a few Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Curlew Sandpipers and 3 each of Common Sandpipers, Redshanks. Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits were pottering around the edges as well as a single Green Sandpiper.
Out on the water there were plenty of moulting Mallards and a suprisingly high total of 129 White-headed Ducks. There are still some Black-necked Grebes, although numbers have fallen markedly, and although there were still plenty of Coots, many showing bleached white primaries and coverts, very odd-looking, not a single chick appears appears to have been produced there, and that is official from one of the biologists. Similarly, there appears to have been a very poor season for the Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers both at the laguna Dulce and Fuente de Piedra.
This Grey Heron, shown here on final approach, totally ignored the many Common Swifts that were feeding over the water (I saw only one Pallid) and Swallows, several hundred of which were resting in the reeds beds, but there was only 1 Sand Martin. The only passerines that stood out were a single juv. Woodchat Shrike and this Reed Warbler.
From there it was on to Fuente de Piedra to (a) see my biologist friends there and (b) have a coffee (it is pretty good) from the machine in the centre. There was a trickle of Black Kites moving westwards to be seen on the way, with birds on the ground feeding and in the air, probably between 30 and 40 but one needs to keep an eye on that road. There is some fresh water filtering into the laguna way over on the left from the information centre and down below the mirador, not much but enough to keep a couple of hundred Flamingos happy (no Lessers to be seen although a colour ringed bird which probably one from a Belgian reserve which has been knocking around Spain for the past year or so has been seen) and some small plovers and a couple of Dunlin, plus a single Black Stork, with up to 4 of these having been seen in this past week.
So, I shall now pack and am off to the UK where I shall be this time tomorrow, and the metcast. is absolutely blankety-blank vile. It would be, I'm going!

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