|Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata
Wednesday 5 October
Time to set off on the long drive back home from Valencia with scheduled breaks after each two hours. And it just happened that the first break was ten minutes short of reaching the fabulous El Hondo reserve a little south of Elche. Naturally, I pulled in and spent a couple of hours there followed by coffee and tapas before heading off for my second stop and finally back to Velez de Benaudalla.
Approaching the Visitors Centre a few Cattle Egret and a trio of Collared Doves then the noise coming from behind the tall reeds as House Sparrows foraged around the picnic area. Checking the now damp area with only a smattering of water behind said Visitors Centre, I soon found many Moorhen along with the odd Common Coot and a quartet of Mallard. Also resting atop the far bank a sleeping Marbled Duck.
|Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris
Moving on to cross the boardwalk there were scores of Black-winged Stilts along with a quartet of Ruff and many Common Coot along with a few Moorhen. More searching found a pair of Marbled Duck feeding at the feet of an adult Flamingo and there were other juvenile Flamingos to be seen, A single Heron was found behind the reeds at the back and eventually the first of a number of Red-knobbed Coots and a couple of Purple Swamphen.
|Lots of Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus with a quartet of Little Egret Egretta garzetta
So on to the first hide and very few birds but at least a handful of both Red-crested and Common Pochard. More to the point, there were very many Little Grebe on the water and a second Heron was standing guard at the back of the water. A Marsh Harrier flew low across the reeds at the back.
|Heron Ardea cinerea watching over a male Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
The larger pool across the track revealed many, but fewer, Flamingos from last week's visit. Yet again, the far bank seemed to be playing host to a Little Egret convention with a single interloping Grey Heron. In addition, a dozen Barn Swallows were feeding over the water.
|Loads of Little Egret Egretta garzetta along with a lone Heron Ardea cinerea
Making my way back to the main road I stopped at the flooded field that produced all the Wood Sandpipers last week. The field was now dry and being ploughed at the back with a dozen Cattle Egrets making the most of the revealed food. Nearer to the lane and me, dozens of foraging Iberian Yellow Wagtails but too far and obscured by olive trees to make a photo worthwhile.
Mallard, Marbled Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Glossy Ibis, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ruff, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler, House Sparrow.
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta
|Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
|Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
|Red-crested Pochards Netta rufina