Wednesday, 25 May 2022

El Fondo, Elche near Alicante

 Wednesday 25 May

Marbled Ducks Marmaronetta angustirostris

Amazing the species that you can see in less than an hour.  Working my way from Alicante airport having dropped Jenny off for her return flight to Bournemouth I headed for nearby Elche and my overnight accommodation before driving back to Velez de Benaudalla.  With the hostal being so close to the El Fondo reserve I decided to call in on the way and by 5,watching the overhead Common Swifts as I set off for the boardwalk at the back of the Visitors Centre.  A Robin as I left the car park and a couple of Glossy Ibis flew in from behind me.

Once on the boardwalk and overlooking the first pool to my left I immediately noticed the small flock of Glossy Ibis at the back and for the rest of the visit there was a continuous movement of these strange birds and at least thirty individuals noted.  Also present at the back a pair of Black-winged Stilts and both similar numbers of Mallard and Common Pochard.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

But even closer to me the first sighting of Marbled Duck as a pair swam close by.  Looking towards the centre and back of the water I counted a further dozen and, in total, at least fifteen present on the reserve. To my right a first Common Coot to add to the trio of Red-knobbed Coots seen.  Also present a couple of Great White Egrets and at least four Little Egrets,  Leaving the boardwalk near the reed bed a number of Reed Warblers were calling as I mad may way to the nearby hide overlooking the next pool.

Marbled Ducks Marmaronetta angustirostris

Once ensconced in the hide a dozen r more Flamingos away to my left and nearer to me a Little Grebe.  On my right a pair of Shelduck with a second pair and their ducklings at the back of the water.  However, on the island in front a good number of resting Avocets and more Shelduck.  To add a little variety, a Red-crested Pochard was also in their midst on the water.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta and Shelduck Tadorna tadorna but note the Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina

Making my way back to the car park by t e same route I quickly added a Cetti's Warbler and once at the Visitors Centre a check on the small pool behind added not only a further pair of Marbled Duck and Moorhen but a Purple Swamphen complete with just a single chick.  House Sparrows were present and above me the Common Swifts were feeding lower than upon my arrival.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio with single chick

Into the car and a drive to the far end of the reserve before turning towards the direction of my hostal and I added both Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove along with Blackbird, Serin and Bee-eater but the best sighting was that of a single Melodious Warbler at the side of the road on a small bush.  So, less than an hour and thirty species recorded.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Marbled Duck, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Glossy Ibis, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Flamingo, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Bee-eater, Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, House Sparrow, Serin.

Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata

Little Egret Egretta garzetta but note the Great White Egret Ardea alba above

Marbled Ducks Marmaronetta angustirostris with Shoveler Anas clypeata
 
Marbled Ducks Marmaronetta angustirostris

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