Monday 21 May 2018

Back in Spain - at last! Arboleas Birding Group 28 April

Monday 21 May

Now back from our month circumnavigatigthe globe with stops in Japan and Canada and, of course, the North Pacific cruise from Yokohama to Vancouver via Alaska.  Wonderful holiday and, no doubt, more later.  But first all those reports received but not published yet so apologies to the Arboleas Birding Group and John.  So here goes and, again, apologies that they are all coming at once.

El Fondo, near Elche   -   Saturday 28th April 20

Gilly & I left home at 05.00hrs to the sound of a Scops Owl calling from our rambla. We met up with Les & John at the Overa hotel, John being volunteered to drive to the El Fondo bird reserve near Elche. After a reviving cup of coffee at the Cox service station we headed for the football pitch area as we were a bit early to enter the reserve via the north gate. On the way an European Cuckoo flew over, the only one seen but we heard at least two more during the day. We doused ourselves in mosquito spray as it became obvious they were a problem here. Gilly got suitably dressed! We saw Jackdaw, Grey Heron, Common Swifts & Kestrel, but around us we heard Zitting Cisticola, Black Winged Stilt & Cetti's Warbler. We arrived at the north gate in plenty of time to spot a few birds before entry. We heard both Nightingale & Green Woodpecker. We saw Cattle Egret, Blackcap, Yellow Legged & Black Headed Gulls and Mallard. A flight of 5 Turtle Doves flew over. Some birders in front of us spotted a warbler in a tree in front of them. We saw it as well. They identified it as a Wood Warbler. Ana, the Park Ranger of the day let us in. On the way down to the far elevated viewing platform we saw Crag Martin, Avocet & Shelduck flying over. Once up on the platform a scan of the water to the front revealed Common Pochard, White Headed Duck, Great Crested Grebe and Greater Flamingo. Over the water Whiskered & Little Tern flew over with Barn & Red Rumped Swallow. Little Bitterns regularly flew between reed banks, some showing well. John spotted a Red Crested Pochard. A distant Marsh Harrier was being harassed by Whiskered Terns. Great Reed Warblers were very vocal from reed tops. We decided to walk back up the track to the next hide. 
A bird which John & I could only identify as a wheatear species flew up and luckily perched on a tree behind us. 
A Northern Wheatear. From the hide we saw a distant raft of Black Necked Grebe and a Moorhen. Walking further along I spotted a Purple Swamphen. A couple of Squacco Heron were seen. From the hide we added Shoveler & Goldfinch. We headed back to the exit gate, seeing a flight of 16 Glossy Ibis fly by.
En route to the information centre John spotted a pair of Iberian Grey Shrike. Again there was a cacophony of Great Reed Warbler sounds as we walked to the enclosed pool by the centre. Red Knobbed Coot were there with a chick. There were 5 Marbled Duck, all tagged from, presumably, last years release. Les & Gilly saw a White Wagtail & a pair of over-flying Collared Pratincole. Leaving Gilly there with her bad back, the three of us walked along the raised wooden path. We spotted a small number of Purple Swamphen and a Little Grebe. The first hide on the left didn't 
" disturb the scorer ", but the next hide was much better. We saw resting Collared Pratincoles, Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Little Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper. We heard Bee Eaters flying over. A juvenile Whiskered Tern caused some identity confusion! A pair of Marsh Harrier flew over. I rang Gilly to say we were heading back. She said she had a flycatcher hanging around the centre. Retracing our steps along the wooden path, stopping only for some posing Whiskered Terns, we were soon at the centre. Once a group of vociferous Spanish non-birders had left the area, the flycatcher showed itself. A female Pied Flycatcher. Walking back to the car we saw another Squacco Heron.
We expected more today, but we still had 62 species. The onslaught of mosquitoes didn't materialise. After lunch we stopped off at our friends house to check out their resident Long Eared Owls. We saw daddy owl & two fledged chicks.
Photographer Gilly unless stated.
Regards, Dave
Regards, Dave

Gilly in anti mosquito garb!  (Dave)

Turtle Dove

Male Little Bittern

​Gecko in one of the hides​

Marbled Duck (Dave)

​Purple Swamphen (Dave)

​Mr & Mrs Common Pochard (Dave)​

Whiskered Tern (Dave)

Pied Flycatcher (Dave)

​Squacco Heron (Dave)

Daddy Long Eared Owl (Dave)

​Baby Long Eared Owl (Dave) 
Just hoping that these pictures come out using "copy and paste" as I was unable to save as jpegs!!!! 

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