Sunday, 22 December 2019

An hour at El Fondo

21 December 2019

Good to see that when visiting Alicante to collect his friends from the airport friend Dave Elliott-Binns still managed to find an hour to visit that great birding site at El Fondo near Elche and, whilst based at the Visitors Centre, still hoped to find one of the wintering eagles.

El Fondo, Elche  -  Saturday 21st December

Was up early today to pick up Paul & Reyna from Alicante airport, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pop into the El Fondo bird reserve for an hour. Due to the time constraint I wasn't able to do the North Gate, but headed straight towards the Information Centre. En route I spotted a large bird of prey on one of the abandoned buildings by the football ground, but by the time I'd turned around it had gone! Was it one of the wintering Estonian Spotted Eagles?
I did see a Black Redstart. I carried on and parked up by the Information Centre. There was loads of birds on the shallow pool adjacent to the car park. Moorhen, Coot, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and Purple Swamphen. The waders included Black Winged Stilt & Snipe. Also seen were White Wagtail, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat and Water Pipit.

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
I moved on to the enclosed pool overlooked by the picnic area. There were loads of Moorhen, but the stars were at least 12 Marbled Duck and a couple of untagged Red Knobbed Coots. I then began to walk along the raised wooden walkway. I spotted two small waders on the far bank. Even though I hadn't bought my scope I could easily see light yellow legs. Temminck's Stints. On the water were Little Grebe, Black Necked Grebe and a pair of Gadwall amongst the Shoveler, Coot & Moorhen. Also seen was another Purple Swamphen. I heard a Cetti's Warbler.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
I carried on to the first hide. I only added a flying Cormorant. I began to walk back when I saw two 1st winter Bluethroats and a Little Egret. A Marsh Harrier flew by. A Magpie was sitting on a post. Time was running out so I headed back to the car. As I drove back towards the North Gate I spotted a Little Owl perched on the previously mention abandoned buildings. Stopped the car to confirm my sighting when I picked out a distant bird of prey sitting in a tree. I headed in it's direction, but discovered the track had a chain across it. I got a distant record shot. All I can say it was perched exactly like a Spotted Eagle would!

Distant Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina/clanga?   (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
So between 08.15 & 09.15hrs I managed 33 species and some not bad ones in there! Two weeks time I'm taking Paul & Reyna back to the airport. Might have to pop in on the way back, me thinks!
Regards, Dave

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