A day with the Axarquia Bird Group.
|Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).|
At this point I discovered that the track was flooded so retraced my way back to the main road and went around the site from the other direction, on my way back out to the road I added Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). Once off the road again I started to see Larks again with a couple of nice big groups of Calandras flying over the track. Along the first stretch I also picked up a couple of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) siting on the tops of the water outlets in the fields, a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago) which flushed up from a ditch, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común Passer domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
|Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis).|
|Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus).|
I then made a quick stop of at a picnic area near Humilladero where I checked out an area of Pine woodland near the entrance and quickly added Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilargo / Sylvia undata), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and a flock of 5 or 6 Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus) which appear to be much commoner this winter than usual.
I was by now running a little late for the bird group meeting so shot off to the visitors centre at Fuente de Piedra where I met up with the rest of the birders, we went up and around the side of the centre and scanned the main lagoon from the side of the building. From here we could see some of the several thousand Greater Flamingo's which were on the site, along with huge numbers of Northern Shovelers (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata),a couple of dozen Shelducks, a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and a group of 3 Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) which were diving out on the main Lagoon.
We then moved on around to the main view point with the oak tree where we were swamped by a very noisy group of school children who were soon quietened down with a few strong words of Spanish from Andy Patterson, from this watch point we did not add any new species so we headed around to the smaller of the two hides. On the small pool we saw Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) before moving around to the hide which gives views over the larger lake, here we picked up 4 Tufted Ducks (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), plus more nice Black-necked Grebe and lots of Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). I then walked back to the view point and along the pool margins birding with Andy Patterson, we did not add any new species but had a good chat and put a few parts of the world to rights !! From the far side of the board walk we started to find good numbers of passerines including several small flocks of Corn Buntings and House Sparrows which had small numbers of Reed Buntings ( Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) and a single male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) mixed in with them.
We walked out to the road and then turned back and added singles of both Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) the day list. We then went back to our cars and started to make our way anti-clock wise around the reserve, I was just out on the road when Andy rang me to say he had relocated the Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax) which John Wainwright had seen earlier so I turned around and had a look at this bird which was on the far shore of the pool on the exit road along with a couple of Snipe. On the largish pool to the west of the lagoon I had driveby views of a flock of Northern Lapwings with around 30 or so Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) mixed in with it along with a couple of feeding Avocets (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta). We then moved around the lake between the Olive groves and cerial fields until we came upon a flock of Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus), in the same area we picked a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) before we moved off to the nearby view point. A couple more Marsh Harriers were seen from here including a nicely plumaged Male bird which sat in on of the willow near the reed beds for some time. From this point we also saw Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
|Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).|
|View from the south end.|
I then spilt off from the party and while they went for some lunch I headed for Laguna Dulce which was quite disappointing, the lagoon appeared almost devoid of birds but with a quick scan I did manage to locate a small flock of White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and a very distant Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) perched up on a dead tree on the far shore.
I saw 80 species of bird during the day topped by the Stock Doves which are quite a rare species down here in Andalucia. Thanks Bob for organising the day which I greatly enjoyed.