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.