Leucistic Black necked Grebe, Málaga
Today we've had one of the best days every while birding the Fuente de Piedra lagoon. The day started with a Little Owl welcoming us to the nature reserve. As it is Monday, not many people were there and we enjoyed a calm and productive early start. Laurie and David (US) were delighted by the amount and -besides all- proximity to this many bird species that we saw. The flamingos were displaying at a very close range at the first lake, then the area next to it was flooded and it was there where we came across two different Spotted Crakes. A great starting!
The reeds were very productive today, and we had magnificen views of a female Bluethroat. We expected them to be gone by now -same as the Cranes- but it was a nice surprise! A significant number of the British subspecies of Yellow Wagtail seemed to recover energies on the nearby meadows. Then we tried to look for Lesser Flamingo but it was not possible to find it among the many thousands of Greater Flamingo at the reserve. What a view! The hides provided nice views of a variety of ducks, starring our precious White-headed, with not less than 5 individuals. Red-crested Pochard and Gadwall were also ticked on the list.
Then it was lunchtime and enjoyed the best possible "Menú del día" in the village, that filled our batteries to look for a small colony of Lesser Kestrel. We were blessed by the many bird sights today. We have been regularly birding in this wonderful reserve for the last 3 years and we can hardly think of a better day than today!
After saying bye to our today's travel companions, I felt tempted to have a go on the Lagunas de Campillos, where I had the great chance to photograph the very scarce Little Crake last week. This time the surprise was not going to be unperceived! A magnificent leucistic Black-necked Grebe swam among the standard ones for a long time, and close enough to get a few pictures. It is the first time I come across an individual like this, simply amazing.
While all this was going on, a small excavator was digging right besides the lagoon. Presumibly for planting still more olive trees. Unfortunately all the perimeter of this magnificent area is constantly slaughtered by planting new olive trees, resulting into a crucial habitat loss not to mention the future EU funds diverted to unsustainable agriculture instead of conservation. Same story in the important bird area Estepas de Osuna and nearly all over Andalucía. Perhaps this shiny leucistic grebe is a signal of the last rays of sun over our protected areas.
The Hen that laid golden eggs is baked and served with side olives.