|Montagu's Harrier Aguilucho Cenizo Circus pygargus|
But first to Laguna Herrera just north of Antequera where the water had been reduced to hardly more then a small, isolated pool. Corn Buntings, Goldfinches and Serins as I approached and a very small number of Barn Swallows feeding over the water. However, there was a pair of Red-rumped Swallows feeding up and down the large drainage ditch to the right. A solitary and very forlorn-looking Gull-billed Tern rested at the water's edge and, no far away, a pair of both Ringed and Kentish Plovers. Also present were a couple of Dunlins.
So on to Fuente de Piedra by a few minutes after ten and the hordes of visitors. Fortunately for me they remained near the Visitors' Centre so I checked over noth the almost dry pool to the left on the approach road and the small pools opposite near the boardwalk. The former contained a small number of Curlew Sandpipers but there were at least 20 at the latter pool. Also present a number of Black-winged Stilts and a number of Dunlin plus a single Redshank. The larger adjacent pool contained, in addition, Avocets, Mallards, Moorhens and Coots plus a pair of Gadwall. In addition to the feeding Barn Swallows a Common Kestrel was in the air and a pair of Shelduck decided that there were too many people about and made a rapid departure. Unlike previous visits there also seemed to be many Jackdaws about, A look at the main pool confirmed that the Flamingo numbers were down to less than three figures with probably no more than eighty or so to be seen on the whole water.
|Raven Cuerva Corvus corax|
|Roller Carraca Europea Coracius garrulus re-charging his batteries|
The hostal would appear to be a birder's paradise given its location and one could certainly not quibble about the accommodation. Clean and roomy with access to a lovely large lounge and kitchen (free coffee on tap not to mention the free WiFi access) each room had air conditioning, television and a very clean and well-provided en-suite and all for €25 per night including breakfast! Having talked about future possibilities with the Irish owner, Peter I then drove over to the nearby Laguna Gosque (7 km) to check-out the possibilities. Very rough water and the low sun in my face but it should be perfect for an early morning visit on the way to Osuna. Again, lots of Coots but also a couple of families of White-headed Ducks, a small number of Pochards and, in addition to the Little Grebes, a rather lovely Black-necked Grebe in full breeding plumage. In the reeds behind me I has singing Nightingales and Reed Warblers as an added bonus.
Watch this space, as they say, or the linked website for a full report on my accommodation and the possibilities of a proposed two-day visit tot he area either/both later in the year or next Spring.
Birds seen:Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch and Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.