David and Steve's Spanish trip (Day Four).
A day for Lagoons.
This morning was a slightly later start after yesterdays marathon in Jaen, we headed west towards Antequera to our first stop of the day at Laguna Herrera were we hoped to add to the wader list. We scanned the newly flooded fields on the right of the track and picked up good numbers of Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) 30+ birds, several hundred Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). We then continued on to the Laguna where the first birds seen were a flock of at least 26 Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) feeding out on the newly flooded eastern shoreline, there were also a few Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and half a dozen more Green Sandpiper. Down amongst the reed stems 3 Reed Buntings (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) fed on the mud, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) perched up higher and lots of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) were up on the wires. We then viewed the fields again further down the track and added over 100 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). On the fields there were very good numbers of Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus). On our way to the next site at Laguna Dulce Steve picked up some birds on the side of the motorway which turned out to be a sizable flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax). On the way over to the laguna we stopped to have a look at a group of 20 or so Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) on one of the crop fields.
We arrived at the Laguna and I was surprised by the lack of birds after my last few visits. Instead of the hundreds of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) the surface was covered in Black-headed Gulls. One large flock of Eurasian Coot was on the far side of the lake and in the tamarisks two male Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula) and a male Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) managed to make themselves difficult to see. Other birds seen on the water included Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber).
On the surrounding areas we picked up White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba),
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
On another Laguna nearby we added White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and got cracking views of several Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).
Our last stop was at the salt lake at Fuente de Piedra, we saw thousands of Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) and at least 70 Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) on our way around to the visitors centre. On the pools near the centre we saw more Black-winged Stilts, Eurasian Teal, 8+ Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). On the pools at the back of the centre there were plenty of Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Gadwall, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot and a single male Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope).
With an early start the next morning we called it a day and drove home.
Photographs from the top: David and Steve birding at Laguna Herrera, Distant Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) and Laguna Dulce.
66 bird species seen.