Monday 18 September 2023

Visit to El Fondo with Dave Elliott-Binns

 Monday 18 September

Looks as if my friend, Dave Elliott-Binns has found another excuse for visiting the fabulous El Fondo reserve on his way either to or back from Alicante Airport.  Make one feel quite envious!

El Fondo, Elche   -   Monday 18th September

Red-crested Pochard (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I had to drop a friend off at Alicante airport this morning, so I took the opportunity to  pop into the El Fondo bird reserve.  It would've been rude not to!  Apart from some House Sparrows I didn't log any birds upon the approach to the car park.  My usual routine was to park opposite the shallow waters and check for birds whilst I had a thermos cup of coffee.  Sadly the shallow waters were totally engulfed in reeds.  After a coffee I walked to the information centre to check the waters from a different angle. There were only two patches of water clear of reeds, one of which had some Coot on.  I also saw Barn Swallows and Spotless Starlings.  A Blackbird sat on the path.  Similarly, at the Information pool the only clear patch of water had a Red-knobbed Coot swimming in it.

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

I set off along the raised wooden walkway.  There were some larger areas of water free of reeds.  I observed a number of Common Terns quartering the water.  There were small rafts of Red-crested Pochards and a couple of Purple Swamphen together with a youngster.  I heard a Cetti's Warbler.  I glimpsed an immature Greater Flamingo, a pair of Grey Heron and a Little Egret.  I got within three metres of an unfazed Red-knobbed Coot just beside the walkway.   A Squacco Heron flew by.  I went as far as the observation deck and headed back.  Along the track to the main road I added Iberian Grey Shrike and a Bee-eater.  A Kestrel flew over as I headed to the motorway.

Purple Swamphen (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

To say I was disappointed would be an underestimation!  Hopefully the rangers will get their reed cutting machine out and clear the majority of the reeds so you can actually have a chance of seeing the excellent birds that inhabit their reserve. 18 species seen.

Juvenile Purple Swamphen (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Better luck next time Dave; it can only get better as winter approaches.

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