12 October : laguna Grande (Campillos) and Fuente de Piedra (Stone Curlews)

After the BirdLife International Bird Day at the Guadalhorce last weekend, organised by SEO-Málaga  and which was a raving hit if one judges by the masses that turned up along with their immatures and juvenile, but I got little birding done. On the plus side, it is very encouraging to see the number of parents with their offsprung and they crowded around the ringers (banders if you're from the far side of the pond) to see a wide variety of birds being ringed (banded), and the star of which was a Kingfisher. Good job they don't know about the disgusting way of males settling territorial disputes, it'd really have put them off!
ringing a Kingfisher

Today : A brief swing around this morning after most of the week spent either sitting in the dentist's chair with my mouth open like a stranded fish (record 2 hours 35 minutes on Thursday) after which I definitely did not feel like translating anything. So, after waking around 07.20, I was on the way to the laguna Dulce outside Campillos as first port of call and then on to Fuente de Piedra. The basic idea was just to get out, see a few birds, and relax.
 It was nice at the laguna Dulce, sunny, fresh but not cold by any standard, and all the birds were at the far, far side of the lake. And when I heard gunfire which would have done credit to the opening barrage at the battle for El Alamein, I knew why. I had forgotten the hunting season is now upon us and the birds had taken refuge where they  were, they hoped, untouchable and very nervous. Three different Greenshanks that spent all the time I was there calling were certainly nervous and I don't blame 'em! There were a couple of young Marsh Harriers, tons of Coots - try finding a Crested/Red-knobbed or whate ever in all that lot on the far side of the lake, plenty of Mallard and well over 130 White-headed Ducks. The best was undoubtedly a trio of Ferruginous Ducks, 2 males and a female, but as Mick Richardson told me that he'd seen 7 there a couple of weeks since, I felt let down.
So, giving up there, I went on to Fuente de Piedra, stopping off to see if I could find a Lesser Flamingo which is about as easy as throwing snowballs at the moon with the thousands of Greater Flamingos there still are in the lake!
I believe that the last time I was there in the relevant blog I wrote that they has just started harrowing the field on the right when one goes in towards the info. centre, the oner with tower. Well, they did a good job on it and I stopped on the way in 'cause that is the Stone Curlew field  where they like to congregate if the conditions are right. Now look at the phot below and then continue reading.

find the Stone Curlews
 As you can see from the above, they take some finding and that is with this show cut down a bit but when they're in three or so hectares, it's another ball game. But persevere and once you've got you eye in (and I found all the 29 or so present just with binoculars) it's not so difficult.
4 Stone Curlews
Really, it weas just nice to be out and I can't say that even took the birding seriously as I spent quite a bit of time with a very pleasant Finnish birder and his wife, telling what and where. There were a few Barn Swallows around and by the pond at the back, which is now a gorgeous emerald green! there was the Little Owl, as well as a few ducks and a single Common Sandpiper. Rather dead, really. There were one or two Blackcaps and a lateish Spotted Flycatcher, and that was really about it.
But at least I'd had a very relaxing morning out and feel sufficiently fresh to face a week with my sister's presence, which means going birding again, and again, and again. What a life! I just hope the birding's up to it!

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