Thursday, March 28, 2013

Many signs of Spring at the Aiguamolls

It was warm and sunny this morning. Time to visit the Aiguamolls nature reserve. Looking out from the first blind the water level continued to be very high. There were less mallards there than before but the rest of the birds, including the coots, shellducks, northern mergansers, geese and cormorants were all enjoying the day. We watched a male shellduck dragging what looked like a piece of wood only to find out when it finally surfaced that it was a female duck. It looked like a serious case of murder at the Aiguamolls but it really wasn't as both shellducks seemed to fly off with no harm done. In the far distance were lots of great blue herons, the pure white of giant and lesser egrets, with a few deer grazing in among the huge birds. The flamingoes were stirring up the bottom to get at the better choices of food.

Back on the main trail we could hear the clacking of the storks' beaks before we saw them. On top of the barn, there were several nesting birds in huge nests except for one very makeshift nest in the spot where the four chicks were born last year. It looks like this nest could blow away in the wind. All the nests on the nesting platforms and trees surrounding that field were full with nesting pairs. Of course the more mature birds had the best and biggest nests. One funny sight was two young adults perched above the fork of a tree, a perfect spot for a nest. They had placed three twigs in the fork and kept looking at each other as if they were saying, "OK, Now what?" They obviously couldn't come to terms with the whole nesting thing as they were still there two-and-a-half hours later and still looking at each other and the three twigs.

Further down the trail we spotted a lovely brown Camarague foal with very spindly legs. His mother came along and they set off together. The foal would move away from it's mum and then come frolicking around her. It was lovely to watch.

Finally we walked down to one of the far ponds that wasn't too deep. It was filled with stilts wading and feeding. 

Unfortunately, we didn't spot the baby otter or the elusive Grus Grus. Perhaps next time.

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