Sunday 28 November 2010

A morning of unexpected birding.

Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) Male.
Today was to be a bit different, with just one guest for the walk and knowing that Dot had an interest in wildlife I was given the option to ask her if she fancied a mornings birding instead of the usual El Chorro walk. She was happy with that idea so we made our way to Laguna Dulce near the town of Campillos, where the water was carpeted in birds. The most obvious birds were several hundred Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), good numbers of Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) probably numbered close to 80, quite an impressive site in their small groups, a few Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) were seen diving along the far shore along with good numbers of the larger Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus).
Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber).
Just in front of the hide we saw the only Gadwalls (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) we could find and several Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) were in the reeds. A female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) then flew in low and flushed an immature Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) from the same reed bed. In the distance a couple more Marsh Harriers quartered the edges of the marsh including a cracking male bird and just behind them a small flock of about half a dozen Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) were picked up feeding with a good number of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). On the screens and in the Almonds near the car we added Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). Just as we were leaving a single Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) flew in over the fence, a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and several White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) flew along the road.
On the way to the visitors center at Fuente de Piedra we added a couple of largish flocks of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), along with Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
On the road along the eastern side of the Lagoon we got our first views of the Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) a couple of hundred birds were in a tight group some way out in the water with many other scattered about. Whilst we were watching them a large group of Stone-curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) flew up from the field between us and the water, in total we saw at least 200 birds here and on the reserve. More Common Cranes were seen as we drove around to the entrance, on the walk around the centre we picked up loads of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler, Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus). From the large hide we added a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), at least 2 Water Pipits (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). As we watched the Water Pipits every thing started to fly and get upset, just at that moment the female Hen Harrier made another appearance but this time it landed in the thistle scrub between us and the water, even though it was obscured we still had great views through the scope. We then went to the smaller hide which was quite quiet but we did add a single Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) and a couple of fly over Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax).
Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
Other birds seen included Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
On the way back to the hotel we paid a quick visit to Laguna Herrera and added Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) and Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) to a great day list.