Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fuente de Piedra and Pink Flamingos

Fuenta de Piedra (which means Stone Fountain) is a town of less than 3,000 people about an hour north of Málaga. It's famous for the 13-square-kilometer lagoon of the same name that is home to thousands of wild Greater Flamingos, the largest colony on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in all Europe. It's a saltwater lagoon fed by underwater springs that pass through mineral salt deposits.

Hundreds of flamingos are banded (ringed) every summer at the lagoon. In 2009, for example, 5,000 young flamingos fledged and 600 of those were banded. The flamingos don't develop their pinkish color — which is a result of the organisms that live in their feeding grounds — until several years into their lives. Click on any of the images for a flamboyant view.

San Geraldo and I picked up a car and drove to Fuente de Piedra Wednesday afternoon. It took us a half-hour longer to get there than to get back because we missed our entrance onto the autovía (the highway) and drove the winding coastal road until we reached Benelmádena (the next city to our east). San Geraldo hadn't thought he would need anything for motion sickness and, yet again, we made it to the highway just in time. We had lunch on the central town plaza in Fuente de Piedra before heading over to the nature reserve visitor center. We got there around 3:00. The visitor center closes for siesta from 2 to 4. We didn't know that then. We do now. The place looks really nice.

THE VISITOR CENTER. VERY WELCOMING... BUT CLOSED.
LOOKING BACK FROM THE LOCKED FRONT DOOR OF THE VISITOR CENTER.
THE BACK OF THE VISITOR CENTER, OVERLOOKING THE LAGOON.
IT LOOKED REALLY INTERESTING WHEN I PEAKED IN THE PICTURE WINDOW.
FROM ALONGSIDE THE VISITOR CENTER.
AS I SAID AT THE TIME, "HOLY CRAP! ARE THOSE ALL FLAMINGOS?!?"

We walked the beautiful grounds around the visitor center for a bit and then hopped back in the car to explore the viewing areas scattered around the lagoon. I've got some pictures of the town and surrounding area, but today's post is all about the lagoon and the flamingos.

OUR OFFICIAL GREETER (NO SIESTA) AS WE ARRIVED AT THE FIRST OVERLOOK.
ONE OF MANY GATHERINGS OF FLAMINGOS ON THE LAGOON.
THE TOWN OF FUENTE DE PIEDRA IN BACKGROUND.

TRYING OUT A PHOTO FOR THE FIRST TIME THROUGH THE BIRDING SCOPE.
DETAIL OF SCOPE PHOTO.
ANOTHER VIEW THROUGH THE SCOPE.
FUTURE PHOTOS SHOULD BE BETTER NOW THAT I'VE GOT IT FIGURED OUT.
A QUICK SNAP SHOT AS WE WALKED BACK TO THE CAR. CAN'T BELIEVE I CAUGHT IT.
ANOTHER SCENIC OVERLOOK. FLAMINGOS EVERYWHERE.

24 comments:

  1. After just six years in Florida, I found that I really love a good flamingo.

    Nice to see that they have a lovely vacation spot.

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    Replies
    1. Bob:
      They live here, too. I wonder where the DO go for vacation... New York?

      Delete
  2. Oh I want to see those! Makes gaudy look beautiful! Your photos taken through the scope are much better than any I've attempted. Guess I'll try again.

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    Replies
    1. Sharon:
      You and Bill would love Fuente de Piedra. Lots of other birds, too. You can even take the train right there. Station is a very pleasant walk to the Visitor Center and the trails. I'm going to keep practicing with "scope photos." I might set it up on the table here and experiment with shots of beach and sea.

      Delete
  3. It is so exciting when you find those 'quick snaps' work! Lovely photographs. For months I thought there was a flamingo at the watermill near us - eventually I realised it was plastic...must get my eyes checked.

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    Replies
    1. Elaine:
      Well, the first time we went looking for egrets in the Florida Keys, I took a picture of the plastic egret posed next to the welcome sign at the watery entrance of a nature reserve. The plastic egret grabbed a fish and flew off.

      Delete
  4. Nice flamingos, to be sure - but for me and for 'star' quality, they were eclipsed by the bunny rabbit.

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    Replies
    1. Raybeard:
      The rabbit was adorable. Sat and stared us down before stepping out of the way.

      Delete
  5. Wow! What really beautiful bird photographs. Is your camera a DSLR?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristi:
      I'm flattered. My camera is a Canon IXUS 220HS (known as a Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS in the USA).

      Delete
  6. I knew Spain had Flamenco, but I didn't know they had flamingos. How interesting.

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    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      The porter in our building started to dance Flamenco when I told him where we were going.

      Delete
  7. Flamingos are really lovely birds. It's a shame we have given them such a tacky image here in this country.

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    Replies
    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      It's incredible to see thousands of them living free. (But nothing beats those lawn ornaments.)

      Delete
  8. Siestas, they always get one don't they!

    Flamingos are so graceful and the beautiful shades of pink...just perfect!

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    Replies
    1. Ron:
      Since moving to Spain we have, for better or worse, really begun to enjoy our daily siesta.

      Delete
  9. I think that we ALL need to take a siesta. I get sleepy every single day around 2:00 and would love to just take a quick half hour nap. Or an hour. Maybe and hour and a half. Ok...make that a nice two hour nap and then I could just awaken and tidy up the office and leave...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria:
      A half-hour nap and I'm usually refreshed and pleasant. An hour-and-a-half and it's like starting the day all over again. Two hours and even I don't want to be around me.

      Delete
  10. I've never stopped to think 'where do flamingos come from?" Thinking they all live around Miami FL.
    I did not know they were in Europe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spo:
      Only the plastic ones are "native" to Miami, FL. American Flamingos make their way sometimes to Southern Florida from the Caribbean, Belize, the Galapagos, Colombia, among other places. My understanding is flamingos don't breed at all in the US (except in zoos). The Greater Flamingo is in parts of Africa, Southern Europe (ex., Spain), and S and SW Asia. There are 4 other species.

      On the other hand, the species "Plastic Flamingo," is rarely seen in Europe.

      Delete
    2. #1 < you are a fountain of knowledge! thank you!
      #2 < I want to send you some Phoenicopterus roseus plasticus right away so Europe is not so backwards as the States. Eeek must we rescue you all again?

      Delete
  11. In my old Hialeah neighborhood, flamingos are the standard front lawn decoration...only second to some religious statue like Santa Barbara or San Lázaro....that's how many people can tell there are Cubans living in that house.
    But then again, it may be that Hialeah Racetrack has in the center of it a colony of flamingos.

    saludos,
    raulito

    ReplyDelete

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