A big surprise on the fields.
As normal I called at the Laguna on the way into work, it was still quite dark when I first arrived which was quite good as I got to see a very nice sun rise over the water. On the lake there were the usual noisy 100 or so Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), along with 25 Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), 13 Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). about 40 Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) moved gracefully around the far shore line and the 50 or so Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) that roost on the farm buildings nearby either flew off to fields further away or dropped down on the muddy margins. Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) were all out on the water feeding.
Then came the surprise of the morning, out of the corner of my eye I picked up a huge bird flying low across the fields at the back of the lagoon and realised that it was a male Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda), I quickly drove around to the field where I had thought it had gone down. As soon as I got to the site the bird was in view but right at the back of a stubble field. I got some distant record shots before I had to leave for work. In the morning I also saw Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
After work I returned to the Lagoon and met John Wainwright and his wife Jenny who had seen the Bustard distantly before it disappeared into the heat haze. A few minutes later I meet up with Andy Mounteford who was staying with us for a few days and we started to do some birding around the area near the lagoon picking up 2 of the Ortolan Buntings (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana) on the thistles. We then doubled back to the area for the Bustard but the heat haze was very bad so we looped around and went for a scan of the Laguna. We had all the mornings birds plus 4 White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), 2 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), 5 Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 2 Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), 2 Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), 5 Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). Along the thistle covered ditch flocks of Goldfinches were feeding along with 3 Reed Buntings (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Our next stop was at Laguna Dulce near Campillos, we arrived to see masses of birds covering the whole lake. Most were Eurasian Coots but we also picked out good numbers of duck including White-headed (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) were all there, along with Greater Flamingo, Cattle Egret, Black-headed Gull, Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Black-winged Stilt, Northern Lapwing and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). The best of the birds was a single Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), which was watched at close range from the hide. Dragonflies were also present in large numbers, Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Migrant Hawker ( Aeshna mixta), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) were all noted.
After spending a good couple of hours here we went back to see if the Bustard had reappeared but sadly it was not seen, we did add Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) to the list.
Photographs from the top: Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda), Laguna Dulce, immature Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago).
61+ Bird and 5 Dragonfly species seed during the day