Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fuente de Piedra and Laguna Herrera, Malaga Province and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A couple of year ticks and a new species for the patch.

I started off with an hour or so birding at Fuente de Piedra while Jayne was at an appointment. I first went and had a look from the wooden walk way over the ponds and this was about as far as I got. There were good numbers of waders on the flashes on either side of the path including at least 5x Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a dozen or so Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), 15+ Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), half a dozen Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), 4/5 Wood Sandpipers (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa Glareola) and best of all was a single Temmincks Stint (Correlimos de Temminck / Calidris temminckii) which spent most of the time I was there hiding in amongst marginal vegetation. A Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) was seen several times on the muddy margins of the small islands along with a couple of Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and several Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava). I then bumped into Andy Patterson and a friend (sorry names gone) who Andy blamed for starting him off on birding many years earlier, we had a chat and then relocated the Temmincks before I had to leave to meet Jayne. Other species seen here included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only as usual, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), 6x Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) distantly on main Lagoon, Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). Whilst on the exit road I had a look over the lake which runs close to the fence, here I saw another couple of Wood Sandpipers, Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata).
I met Jayne and we then went to the Garden centre near Antequera on the old Cordoba road and then visited what I had expected to be a totally dry Laguna Herrera. On the track we added single males of both Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and several Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) to the growing day list. When we reached the laguna I was very pleased to see some water in it, the first shallower half was covered in Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), along with around 50 Gull-billed Turns and plenty of Black-winged Stilts. The second deeper half had good numbers of Avocets, Little Stints 70+, a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), several pairs of Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Ruff and another 3 Wood Sandpipers. On the wires there was a single Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and a couple of Southern Grey Shrikes (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). We then went up to the shopping centre in Antequera to get some fuel and then headed home, on the way we saw a pair of Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax), a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Later in the day I went for a couple of hours birding down on the nearby fields, on the way good numbers of Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) in the olives, Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and my first well over due European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) of the year. Along the river I bumped into John and Jenny Wainwright and we had a chat before I headed off down one of the many dirt tracks locally, along here I had both Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus). Then on a short stretch of water lying in an all but dry river bed I found the birds of the day, two Spotted Crakes (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana) were walking up and down the muddy margins. As I arrived the Common Moorhens all flushed and one of the Crakes disappeared into some reeds and then over the bank and away but the second bird showed well. It was not long before John and Jenny had found me and they were soon watching this cracking bird as well.
Photographs from the top: Temmincks Stint (Correlimos de Temminck / Calidris temminckii), 2x Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), 4x Spotted Crake (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana) and 2x Crake video.

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