Surprise, surprise, Gilly's away for the weekend so Dave's arranged a visit to El Fondo, near Elche or as someone said "Indian country"! I met up with Les & Barrie at the Albox turn-off at 05.30 hrs. We headed north, kindly being chauffeured by Barrie. Having stopped off for a refreshment break at Cox, and being early for the north gate to be opened, we headed for the Information Centre first. On the way we saw our only bird of prey for the day, a Kestrel. Having parked up we were met by the sound of the vociferous Great Reed Warblers, many shouting from reed tops. We made straight for the viewing area were we saw Red-knobbed Coot, Squacco Heron, Marbled Duck and Common Pochard. Whiskered Terns were feeding over the shallow lake. Also seen were Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover. Barrie spotted a Stonechat as we headed back to the North gate for opening time.
As soon as we arrived we heard Nightingale singing nearby. We saw Bee-eaters perched on power lines further along the track. We met up with Helen. Once the gate was opened (08.10hrs) we made our way down to the far elevated viewing platform. We heard and then saw two European Cuckoos as they flew past. On the water in front of us we saw White-headed Duck, Greater Flamingo and Little Grebe. Little Terns were seen with more Whiskered Terns. Barrie found a single Cormorant. The first of a number of Glossy Ibises was spotted. Then we saw the first of many, many Little Bitterns flying between the reeds. Barrie spotted some Red-rumped Swallows, whilst Les found a Great Crested Grebe. Also seen were Slender-billed Gull, Purple and Night Herons. Helen did exceedingly well to find an Alpine Swift and almost immediately Barrie found 5 Black-tailed Godwits flying over.
On the trees to the left, one devoid of leaves provided a perch for an Iberian Grey Shrike and then a female Golden Oriole and a Woodchat Shrike. Helen had previously seen Moustached Warblers from here but after about an hours waiting we first moved to a hide a bit further along, which proved disappointing, so we trudged in the increasing heat to other hides back towards the north gate. We added Reed Warbler on the way and Avocet, Red-crested Pochard and Shelduck at the second elevated viewing platform.
We made our way back to the original platform where Helen informed us a Moustached Warbler had showed well in our absence! We'd only been back a few minutes when Graham, a local birder, found one, singing and showing well atop a reed. A lifer for Les! Well chuffed we headed back in the vehicle to the north gate to be counted out at 11.30hrs.
We made our way back to the Information Centre where we virtually repeated the birds we'd seen earlier with the exception of Collared Pratincoles seen from the raised wooden walkway.
Moving round to the other hides, Les spotted the Stone Curlews in the scrubland opposite the rear of the first hide. At the second hide Les and Barrie found a pair of Common Terns. Helen photoed another tern which we decided was a juvenile Gull-billed Tern. Then another juvenile was seen on a post and was found to be a faded Common Tern. We saw an Avocet with cute, fluffy chicks. Les found a Kentish Plover before we headed hot and dehydrated towards the car park, seeing a Sardinian Warbler on the way. Here we said our goodbyes and thanks to Helen for booking us in. We made our way to a cafe for water and drinks!
A brilliant days birding. 62 species in total, the star being the Moustached Warbler.
28 May : El Fondo/Hondo (Alicante)
Cat's away, miouse continues to play. The photo of the Common Tern is of a 1st summer bird, a relatively uncommon plumage to see even down here and well night impossible in more northerly climes. Rather early for a juv. Gull-billed Tern. We call 'foreign' areas Comanche territory here!
Publicado por Andy Paterson