Sunday 30 August
|El Fondo Nature Reserve with single Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata|
Last leg of the journey home from Valencia to Mezquitilla and the route takes us within fifteen minutes of the El Fondo reserve at Elche near Alicante. Why would we not call in and spend almost an hour at the Visitors Centre which also provided and ideal moment for a break and lunch, etc.? Smiling as we drove past the North Gate, where visitors are admitted when opened and with the appropriate permit and immediately aware of the many Barn Swallows and House Martins swooping low over the car as they fed on the wing. Then, maybe half-way between the gate and the VC itself, a Little Bittern flew low across the road immediately in front of the car suggesting that we might be in for an interesting walk along the boardwalk and paths once on the reserve.
As we parked the car we could see both a Little Egret and a quartet of Moorhen on the water immediately in front and all started very well as I noticed the few Moorhens and resting Mallards along with three Marbled Duck on the small pool immediately in front of the VC.
|Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris|
Next the walk along the boardwalk which crossed the reed-covered pool and not the Common but rather a Red-knobbed Coot was the first bird to be recorded. A Purple Swamphen made a big splash as it "jumped" the two metres to a new resting place in the middle-distance reeds. Many more Common Coots on the water and then a second Red-knobbed Coot, this individual feeding a single recently fledged chick.
|Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata|
As I walked the path a Great White Egret flew over and I became aware how sticky the path was following the recent rain, so much so that soon my trainers were clogged with muddy clay and the surface became quite treacherous. Reed Warblers were calling but rather a wasted journey despite seeing a couple of Flamingos flying overhead. So back to the junction and turn right to visit the two hides overlooking their respective waters.
|Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula|
The first water held mainly Common Coots but a single Grey Heron was noted at the far end before discovering the "hiding" Little Grebe to my left. The second water was much more productive with over 100 Flamingos. Also seen was a handful of Back-winged Stilts and immediately in front of the hide a single Ringed Plover. However, moving to the adjacent widow to look further left I also had a Wood Sandpiper in close proximity.
|Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola|
Time to return to the car park so that we could get back on the road and walking towards the VC when first a Cormorant then a couple of Glossy Ibis flew over the reserve. House Sparrows in the bushes and approaching the car park a Wood Pigeon flew across and two Collared Doves were exploring the trees at the back. Changing my shoes I could not help but notice the number of Barn Swallows and House Martins along with a couple of Red-rumped Swallows feeding in the area. Finally, as I prepared to start the car not just a singe Little Egret and Moorhens in front of me but also a quartet of Cattle Egrets in the reeds at the water's edge.
|Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus|
Mallard, Marbled Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, House Sparrow.
|Just a sample of the many Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus present|