Monday 28 March 2022

 Monday 27 March

Always an opportunist, I certainly envy Dave for being able to get in a bonus visit to El Fondo up in Elche.  Nevermind the limited time and "only" 34 species, what species they were.  Garganey, Garganey and also all those Marbled Ducks.  Certainly something there for many more to look forward to.  Just a shame, I suspect, that the Garganeys will be gone when I pay a call to the site in late May after delivering Jenny to Alicante airport and have an overnight nearby.

El Fondo bird reserve, Elche: Monday 28th March

Garganey Anas querquedula (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I had to take one of Gilly's patients to Alicante airport and it would've been rude not to drop into the El Fondo bird reserve just south of Elche.  As I drove along the road from the North Gate entrance towards the Information Centre I spotted Serin, a flying Great Spotted Woodpecker, White Wagtail, Blackbird and Collared Dove.  Overhead there were lots of Barn Swallows together with a few House Martins and Common Swifts.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I parked in the car park and had a cup of Thermos coffee.  I had been up since 4am and on the road since 5.30am so I needed it!  A Red-rumped Swallow flew over.  It was a bit overcast, but thankfully no rain.  I even ventured out with only a T-shirt and waistcoat on (Yes, and trousers!).  I stopped to scan the shallow pool and reeds in front of me and was immediately the target of hundreds of mosquitos.  Back to the car for my fleece!  Once suitably covered up apart from my hands and face I returned to recommence my scan.  There was a single Glossy Ibis and tens of Black-winged Stilts and Avocets as well as some Black-tailed Godwit and Coot.  I found some Teal and a Shoveler just before at least three Garganey flew in.  A Squacco Heron flew past . Also seen were House Sparrow and Moorhen.  I moved around so I was adjacent to the Information Centre.  A Purple Swamphen was showing well.  I then found a group of 6 resting Garganey.  I heard both Cetti's Warbler and an Iberian Green Woodpecker.  A Hoopoe flew over.  I then moved to the viewing area at the end of the covered picnic shed which overlooks a small enclosed pool. There were at least 6 Marbled Duck swimming around.  Also seen were Coot, Moorhen and Mallard, but unusually no Red-knobbed Coot.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I walked along the raised wooden pathway.  I added Snipe, Greater Flamingo and Little Grebe.  I was following a group of 3 Finnish birders.  One suddenly looked up and pointed. An Alpine Swift!  Then there was a Red-knobbed Coot swimming within 10 metres of me. At the far end of the pool was a nesting box with a Marbled Teal standing on it as a male Garganey swam by.  Also seen were Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gull plus a Magpie.  I continued the loop back to the car as I was very tired.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta a. atop nest box (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

34 species seen or heard in only probably 40 minutes.  Unfortunately the patient returns via the Corvera airport so no return trip here!
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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