An early start to the day saw us headed out to Castilla-la-Mancha in the hope of seeing the pair of Lesser Flamingo that have been reported at Laguna De Manjavacas. We arrived on site after a 3 hr drive to be met in the first field by a single White Stork. Initially we were surprised to see how big the area was, it is a well laid out reserve and although there are no facilities here, there is ample parking with reserved spaces for the disabled. There is a boardwalk that leads round one side of the lagoon providing good but distant views of the colony of breeding Greater Flamingo.
The short walk along the edge of the fenced off lagoon was eventful in it's own right. We recorded Savi's Warbler, Bearded Tit x 2 small family groups and Moustached Warbler. Although we did not see it we heard a very vocal Water Rail nearby.
The obvious target bird for the day was soon located in glorious colour. Even at a distance you could not mistake the bright pink blob which was viewable with the naked eye. Binoculars and Scopes provided excellent views without disturbing the bird in any way. One bird was out in the open amidst the hundreds of Greater-Flamingo, which in itself was a fantastic sight somewhat overshadowed by the "little pink one" as Dawn described this rare bird. The 2nd bird was tucked up safely with the chick amongst the breeding Greater-Flamingo on a small bank on the lagoon. A conservative estimate of the number of Greater-Flamingo present at this site is 400 pair ! A spectacular display of these fantastic birds.
We watched the Flamingo for around 45 mins taking photographs the whole time - the best of which are posted here for you to enjoy. We would like to point out that these photographs were taken at a distance, using Nikon photographic equipment with a zoom feature, so as not to cause any disturbance to the birds or their habitat. Conservation of this breeding site is important and common sense and a respect for the area should be advocated at all times.
The site continued to provide good birds for the duration of our stay which included : Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Black Kite, Honey Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.
After lunch we made our way back to Quesada with a planned stop at Yekla providing the group with: Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse 20+ Black-bellied Sandgrouse 20+, and Black-eared Wheatear amongst the usual suspects at this site.
A full list of birds at this site will be available in our trip report which will be posted on the website at the end of the tour.