Thursday, 15 August 2013

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

A day with some ups and downs.
Steve, Lynn and Adam, Day three.

We set off for a day targeting birds more than Dragonflies with Steve's new extra large play thing (a 300m Canon lens with a 2x converter) and our first stop was at Laguna Herrera near to Antequera. As we arrived and parked on the small bridge over the small stream running along side the track, from here we picked up a distant Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). We moved on down to the barn and scanned the water, the whole area before the barn was dry but on the far side there was still plenty of water and lots of birds. In amongst the hordes of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) we picked out 15 Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), 3x Wood Sandpipers (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), several Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), a couple of Avocets (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), 2x Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), 50 or so Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta). On the water there were a few Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Black-necked (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). There were also lots of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), along with several Black-head's Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a couple of Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). In the air we saw a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which was hunting along the marginal reedbeds, Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) were all in amongst a cloud of birds feeding over the lake, along with Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and both House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). As we walked along the track we picked up a few dragons which flushed up from the maginal vegetation, they included Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) and Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). On the walk back to the car we added Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), 5x Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). Once back at the car we drove along the tracks back to the main road, on the way we had a few new species for the day, the best were Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica). On the last part of the track we saw more Black Kites and Steve had a drive across one of the harvested fields to get what turned out to be some nice shot.
From here we headed to a spot near to the town of Mollina where we were hoping to catch up with the uncommon Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) but we were not lucky but we did see Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) along with a few butterfly species including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla).
Our next stop was at Fuente de Piedra, we parked on the main car park and then went up to the centre for an ice-cream which in the heat of the day melted quickly but went down very nicely. From here we went and viewed the main lagoon from the view point, from here we could see a great many Greater Flamingo's feeding out on the main water. On the smaller pool there were several Little Egrets, Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Black-necked Grebe, Black-winged Stilt and Avocet. From here we went and checked the fresh water pools at the rear of the centre, on the margins we added a few more waders to the day list including Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Little Stint. Other birds seen included Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). During our walk around we had views of several more dragonflies, these included Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Red-veined Darter and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
We then headed back to the car and this was the point that the day went wrong as we returned to find we had a flat tyre, which normally would not be a problem but it was a National holiday and all the garages were shut, again this would not normally be a problem but when we looked for the spare tyre we found a small bottle of liquid and an air pump with instruction thay said the repair will last for just 10 min. I would love to find out which total *********** came up with the idea of not putting a spare tyre in a car and do something very nasty to him with the chemical and air pump!!! Eventually we sorted it out, the car was collected by the breakdown truck and taken to Malaga airport, a few minutes later Steve and I were picked up by a taxi and taken to the same place and Lynn and Adam were collected by Jayne and they went back to the house. After getting to Malaga Airport we were given a new car and then made our Way back to the house as well, all this hassle for a bloody puncture.

Photgraphs from the top: Lynn photographing a wasps nest and the Wasps nest.

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