|Flamingo Phoenicopterus roses|
Thursday 29 September
Time to head off back to Velez de Benaudalla but first an overnight stop at my usual hostal west of Elche to enable a quick visit to the marvellous El Fondo reserve. Driving down the entry road to the Visitors Centre no shortage of feeding Barn Swallows with a Little Egret in the field to the left and a Cattle Egret crossing the road next to the entrance gate. A recently watered field on my right held at least forty foraging Glossy Ibis so definitely worth a visit on my way out. In the car park itself a welcoming group of the resident House Sparrows.
Definitely some rain since my last visit as the pool at the back of the Visitors Centre now contained some standing water which was being worked by more than a dozen Moorhen along with a single Red-knobbed Coot. Then a lone Mallard along with a feeding Little Grebe.
|Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata|
Taking the boardwalk across the first lake no shortage of Common Coot with at least two score counted plus a further eighteen Red-knobbed Coot but just the two Purple Swamphens on show. A handful of Little Grebe and six Flamingos before checking the waterfowl where I recorded a number of Mallard and three Marbled Duck.
|Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostrtris with a Common Coot Fulica atra|
As I reached the end of the boardwalk to visit the first of the two hides a pair of Carrion Crow flew over and once on the far track not just five Black-winged Silts in the air moving between pools but a distant quartering Marsh Harrier. At the smaller laguna on the left a number of ducks at the back of the water including Mallard and Shoveler but also a handful of Red-crested Pochard. A lone Heron was resting away to the back left.
|Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina|
On to the larger laguna away to my right where I managed to add a pair of Gadwall along with forty plus Flamingo. On the far bank a flock of resting Little Egret accompanied by a single Heron as a few Black-headed Gulls flew over.
|Resting Little Egrets Egretta garzetta|
Then it was the reverse journey back to the car park with a Reed Warbler working the reeds to the immediate left of the boardwalk and noted the Sardinian Warbler in the low bushed in front of me. I did stop at the flooded field next to the entrance lane and whilst the Glossy Ibis had now moved on a very slow drive down along the adjacent track enabled to me to record a six Wood Sandpipers, a couple of Iberian Yellow Wagtails and both a few resting Black-headed Gulls and three more Cattle Egret.
|Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola|
Finally, as I drove through the edge of the reserve back to the main road, a couple of Wood Pigeon and regular Collared Dove sightings. However, they could not outshine the Iberian Grey Shrike resting atop a pylon at the side of the road.
|Distant Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis|
Gadwall, Mallard, Shovler, Red-crested Pochard, Marbled Duck, Little Grebe, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow.
|Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio|
|Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis|
|Heron Ardea cinerea|
|Record shot of the Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberae|
|Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostrtris|
|Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina|