Monday 9 May 2022

El Fondo, Elche

 Monday 9 May

Looks like friend Dave Elliott-Binns had a bonus birding visit s a result of a visit to Alicante airport!  All being well, I shall have a very similar experience when I drop Jenny off at the same airport around 5pm on 25th of this month.  Unlike Dave, I shall be staying overnight in a nearby hotel so, all being well, might get in both an evening and morning visit to the El Fondo reserve before driving back to Granada province.

El Fondo, near Elche:  Monday 9th May

A friend of ours was flying out of Alicante so I reluctantly volunteered to drive him there (ha, ha!).  As I was passing El Fondo it would've been rude not to pop in.  A reasonably early start from Arboleas saw me at the airport by 9am.  I headed back to Jct 526 and headed for the El Fondo Bird Reserve's information centre.  En route there I observed a Woodpigeon, Collared Doves, House Sparrows, a single (and my only) Barn Swallow and the first of a number of flying Glossy Ibis.  I parked up in the carpark for a Thermos coffee.  I could hear very noisy Black-winged Stilts.  Suitably refreshed and covered in anti mosquito spray, I checked out the wetland opposite.  Sure enough I found the Stilts together with Coot, Moorhen and a solitary male Red-crested Pochard.  I carried on round toward the Information Centre seeing some flying Black-headed Gulls.  From the observation area by the picnic tables I was disappointed to see the small pool was covered in blanket weed.  As well as more Coot and Moorhen I saw one Marbled Duck and the backside of a Purple Swamphen disappearing into the reeds!

A vociferous Great Reed Warbler  (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I carried on, walking along the wooden walkway.  A Blackbird flew by.  On the water there were more Coot and Moorhen, Common Pochard and  a swimming Avocet.  It was impossible not to hear the Great Reed Warblers.  There seemed to be one singing from each reed patch.  Some showed well from reed tops, but of course the sun was in the wrong place!  I found a Little Egret which was joined by a Squacco Heron. 

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

A single Whiskered Tern was quartering the water.  I heard some Cetti's Warblers.  A Shelduck landed on the water.  Further round, near the observation platform, I had close views of Red-knobbed Coot and three Marbled Duck.  Also seen were flights of Glossy Ibis, Common Swifts and Crested Larks.

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

I walked to the far hide first.  There was a good number of Greater Flamingos feeding and Avocets nesting on the nearby island.  A Whiskered Tern was perched on a post.  On the water I saw White-headed Duck, more Marbled Duck, Shoveler and a Black-necked Grebe with a chick's head poking out of its back.
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Moving back to the other hide I added Grey Heron and a Little Grebe.  Nice to see more Marbled Duck. On the way back to the car I saw a Reed Warbler, an overflying Cattle Egret and a Corn Bunting resting on a fence post.

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

In the hour and a half I was there I accumulated 33 species.  It was quite hot.  Glad I was there early!

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