Funte de Piedra area 20th June
A hottish day with a slight breeze..thank heavens.
We had been to Mollina to the Boot Fair so we decided to drop into Piedra, regardless of the lack of water. Our first sighting before we got to the car park was of two White Storks in the field to our right and as we parked the car - even over the sound of the engine - we could hear a Great Spotted Cuckoo clamouring. It subsequently left cover and gave us great views as it flew across our front. Plenty of Gull-billed Terns about and two Lesser Kestrels were seen hunting over the marshes. Also here we saw Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, House and Crag Martins, Common and Pallid Swifts. As we approached the boardwalk, a Reed Warbler started calling from the small reedbed here and above him a Zitting Cisticola replied.
On the large scrape the majority of birds were Avocets - with their chicks - chasing everything off that came close to them, including Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwings, Coots and Moorhens. Two Little Ringed Plovers were seen harassing a Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail and feeding along the edge of the reeds were three Black-winged Stilts, a Cattle Egret and a lone juvenile Flamingo. Young Barn Swallows were lined up on the fences at the scrape awaiting the return of their parents to feed them.
While we were watching the wagtail being chased about, the Great Spotted Cuckoo had landed in the oak tree behind us- more clamouring led us back to it and also two Jackdaws, which vacated the tree for the power lines.
At the Mirador we looked over the main lagoon and the small amount of water that remained. This held more Little Ringed Plovers, Gull-billed Terns, several Black-headed Gulls and a Mallard. In the bushes around the mirador we saw Sardinian Warblers, a Reed Warbler flew from the reed bed across the path and back again, House Sparrows, Crested Lark and another Jackdaw. In the distance across the laguna - by the farmhouse - we found more Flamingos.
At the closed hide Little and Black-necked Grebe, Pochard, Mallard, five more juvenile Flamingos, a Redshank, Coots, Moorhens and the ubiquitous Black-headed Gulls ( their chicks are getting really big now). The open hide produced a Reed Warbler as well as an Ocellated Lizard - this is sloughing its skin and was seen rubbing itself against the huge dead thistles to rid itself of the dead skin. The rather poor photo (John's) shows him just before he leapt into a thistle to catch a large beetle. On our way back to the car park the Great Spotted Cuckoo flew across our front again as did a Hoopoe.
As we came out of the car park another Ocelated Lizard crossed the road and a single Stone Curlew was found on the fields to our left where the White Storks had been.
The Black-shouldered Kite has returned to the area, according to the receptionist at the Visitors' Centre, but we dipped on this. Still, a pleasant three hours birding all the same.
|Ocellated Lizard Lagarto Ocelado Timon lepidus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|