13/04 : Laguna Dulce & Fuente de Piedra

Ferruginous Duck, male
The weather promised fine and indeed it turned out to be so all morning, with plenty of sun - shirt sleeve weather - and next to no wind. I was at the laguna Dulce beafore 9 to find that Federico was already there, having come down fron Córdoba and brought Diego Peinazo with him. As the first words were to the effect that I had just missed a pair of male Ferruginous Ducks, I wasn't overjoyed but these soon came back. and allowed some photos when they weren't trying to obscure themselves in amongst the reeds .
Black-necked Grebe
The laguna was absolutely splendid, not overloaded with birds which can make it very hard work searching for the scarcer ones.. We soon notched up all three species of grebes that were present, a pair of Black-necked in particular showing themselves off virtually in front of the hide (above), as did the Little Grebes, (L) whilst the Great Crested (above) showed themselves in brief bouts of display. Out on the lake a few Gull-billed Terns ploughed back and forth and over towards the far side and in the same area we finally picked up two Black Terns in full sooty breeding plumage and a single Whiskered Tern.  We were happy to pick out a somewhat distant Red-knobbed Coot (formerly known as a Crested Coot even though it never has a crest), this with a white collar showing it be one of the released birds from the reintroduction project, and later a male without any collar. I was even happier when Federico found a distant male Garganey, a superb little duck and totally unphotographable and there were a few Red-crested Pochards also. In the passerine line, whilst Reed Warblers are to be expected as was the very noisy Cetti's Warbler, it was very nice to see a single migrant Sedge Warbler. The only raptors seen were a female Marsh Harrier and 4 first year birds, plus a single male Montagu's Harrier from the car as we drove off to Fuente de Piedra.

On the way we came across a small group of Gull-billed Terns feeding on the insects over a  manure heap and these gave the best opportunity I have ever had to get some half way decent shots of the elegant (opposed to Elegant) terns.
After that stop for the terns, there was a couple of seconds' look over the top end but with nothing to attract us we made the car park the first stop where this Little Owl on a pole was keeping a beady eye on things. There was some sort of course on so the place was pretty full and by the time I left there was some sort of semi-vintage car rally driving in.
It's a pity some parents can't control their off-sprung but Federico helped one couple with pointed comments about the behaviour of their revolting children!
But that apart, the birding continued to be excellent, and the water flash on the left as one drives held a minimum of 15 Redshanks - with the others that we saw later there must have been well over 20 in the area, plus a Wood Sandpiper  - we saw 2 more later on the board walk flash, and a Common Sandpiper, and later a single Green Sandpiper. We walked the track towards but not reaching La Vicaria, on the way hearing but not seeing the gentle cooing of first European Turtle Dove of the season, the sort of sound that heralds hot summer days down here. I recorded three races of Yellow Wagtails, the British flavissima, flava and iberiae.   
The standing water on the far side of the road was duly scanned for us to be rewarded with the usual Stilts and Avocets, all three small plovers together - Ringed (6), Little Ringed (1) and Kentish (a pair), plus a flock of ca.15 Curlew Sandpipers, some in very smart plumage, and a single Greenshank, as well as a flock of at least 20 Gull-billed Terns resting We ventured further but time was getting on for me and a scan of the water on the left produced a few Shelduck, at least 6 Whiskered Terns and some Pochards, after which time I legged it for the car park and home, as my little canine friend would need attending to.
As Federico said this afternoon when he rang me, what a splendid morning's birding!

No hay comentarios: