Sunday, 2 June 2013

Laguna Herrera, Mollina, Fuente de Piedra and Laguna Dulce, Malaga Province.

A dash around the wetlands.
(Pam and John, Day One).

Pam and John had arrived late afternoon back on Friday after spend quite a while touring areas further North in their Motor-home. They had taken Saturday as an unwind day and joined us on the terrace during the evening for the June meeting of the Good Fork Club, the meal went very well and all 11 of us enjoyed our selves.
So on the Sunday morning the three of us headed off West towards Laguna Herrera near to Antequera and started the birding, we turned off the main road on to the track and stopped straight away when Pam liked the light as he shone through some of the wildflowers. John and I we soon started to pick up some birds for the list, we soon located House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica). Pam had her photo's so we moved on to the first part of the laguna where we set up the scopes and scanned the water and margins, we quickly located Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and a small flock of feeding Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica). we checked out the field on the opposite side of the track but apart from a small strip of water on the far side it had dried out, but on this strip we saw more Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and added about a dozen or so Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). Also in the thistle beds around this field and along the stream we had Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which was quartering a distant field. We moved a little further along the track and parked next to the barn about a third of the way down, along the side of the barn in the reeds a Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was singing and on the water we found a pair of Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) with three youngster in tow, a cracking male White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) which looked as though he was watching over a sitting femail bird, two pairs of beautiful summer plumage Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and a flight of a dozen or so Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). On the margins we saw hundreds of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), a few Iberian Blue-tail's (Ischnura graellsii) and further out on the water we saw a few Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope), also amongst the water vegetation we saw and heard lots of Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi). Wildflowers included lots of Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Spanish Wild Mallow (Lavatera trimestris) and Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis).
Again we moved on and parked at the far end of the pool, in the air we picked up flights of Swifts passing over which included both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid's (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), also in the air we added Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and a male Montagu's Harrier. Just a little further along the track we stopped and scanned the wires which cross through the Olive Groves, sat on the wires we watched a single Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), several Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), a Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and three European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were hunting insects from the height of the wires. We turned left a little further on and passed along the track through the fields heading back to the main Antequera road, on the way we added Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and a single male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis). We went back out on to the motorway and headed to Mollina, at a spot out in the fields we spent some time watching the locally rare Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes). At the spot we had cracking views of a singing male and a female who followed the male off into the nearby fields, whilst we were watching this pair another male could be seen singing from an electric cable a few hundred meters away. In the same area we picked up several butterfly species including Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
We went back through Mollina and then to an area of Pine woodland on the outskirts of Humilladero near the camp site where we parked and started to look for some more butterflies and we were soon adding speices including Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae), Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus lavatherae), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus) and Large White (Pieris brassicae). Birds included Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). Wildflowers here included Cleonia lusitanica and a species of Delphinium which I am still checking out.
Our next stop was at Fuente de Piedra where we parked and went to scan the main lagoon from the view point behind the visitors centre, here we had views of some of the twenty odd thousand Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), along with Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), many more Gull-billed Terns and a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). We moved around to the hides to the rear of the centre but we saw nothing new bird wise but we did get some nice views of a young Red Fox (Vulpus vulpus) as it skulked around the tamarisks, Large White (Pieris brassicae), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi) and a couple of Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator). From here we went back around to the car and headed towards the view point on the western side of the lagoon which looks distantly over the breeding colony for the Greater Flamingo's. We did not see anything new here but there were good numbers of Gull-billed Terns, Flamingo's, Common Pochard, Black-necked Grebes and Shelduck. Our next stop was at Laguna Dulce where we started off by scanning the still full lake and soon added Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) to the day list, along with these we had lots more Eurasian Coots, Great Crested Grebes, Common Pochards, Black-headed Gulls and several White-headed Ducks. In front of the hide we had good views of Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum). Once we had checked this area we went on the track to the rear of the site and checked the back of the pool where there are a few patches of water, here we located a Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). Butterflies here included Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia). From here we started to make our way home, on the way we saw a nice stand of Cynara cardunculus on the road side which we stopped and photographed, once back we sat up on the terrace and looked for the local Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) but they remained elusive.

Photographs from the top: Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro), Spanish Wild Mallow (Lavatera trimestris),  Delphinium species, Black-tailed Skimmers (Orthetrum cancellatum) and Cynara cardunculus.

2 comments:

nic.b van es said...

wat een heerlijk gebied zijn jullie wat een geweldige foto,s heb je er kunnen maken,dit is genieten.

juani espejo jurado said...

Un gran trabajo, me encantan estas imágenes
Un gran saludo de un seguidor
Desde Doña Mencia (Córdoba)