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Post Info TOPIC: Costa Blanca, Spain


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RE: Costa Blanca, Spain


An hour and a quarter on La Finca, this morning, from 7.45am, in cool and fine weather. The site came up trumps again with two new birds for the trip lists. Firstly, 3 Gull-billed Tern flew over heading north, then a Black-crowned Night-Heron left the egret/ibis roost before departing to the north east.

Most of the usuals were present including 3 Black-winged Stilt, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Reed Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, various Cattle Egret & Glossy Ibis and the 2CY Bluethroat that put in an all too brief appearance.

From 11am, I spent two hours at El Pinet as the weather was warming up nicely, a pleasant 19*c. There is always something likely to turn up with waders, gulls and terns dropping in but, unfortunately, it was more of the same. Of note :-

Greater Flamingo (34)
Black-winged Stilt (19)
Avocet (131)
Little Ringed Plover (1)
Kentish Plover (7)
Common Sandpiper (1)
Sanderling (6)
Little Stint (2)
Collared Pratincole (19)
Slender-billed Gull (252)
Audouins Gull (1)
Mediterranean Gull (11)
Common Tern (9)
Sandwich Tern (42)

Finished with a trip list of 130. I have missed a few birds but you cant be in more than one place at once. After having looked at eBird checklists for some of the coastal headlands, I have been surprised at just how rewarding the seawatching can be here. European Storm Petrel, Pomerine Skua, Arctic Skua, Puffin, Yelkouan Shearwater, Common Scoter, Caspian Tern and Corys Shearwater have all been seen recently in addition to the Surf Scoter, Gannet, Razorbill and Balearic Shearwater that I saw. The Cuckoos, Bee-eaters and no end of other migrants are arriving now with birds such as Roller closely behindbut, thats it, thats your lot until I next visit this most wonderful of birding areas of south east Spain!


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Three and a half hours at El Hondo, this morning from 8.45 in fine weather, cool to start with then rising to about 19*c. With it being a bank holiday, the non birding Spaniards arrived en masse by the time I was leaving, so it was good to get away the. Amongst others :-

Red-crested Pochard (1)
Greater Flamingo (200)
Black-necked Grebe (6)
Alpine Swift (4)
Common Swift (250)
Pallid Swift (45)
Red-knobbed Coot (8)
Western Swamphen (4)
Black-winged Stilt (35)
Avocet (75)
Little Ringed Plover (1)
Common Snipe (12)
Wood Sandpiper (3)
Slender-billed Gull (25)
Mediterranean Gull (200)
Whiskered Tern (13)
Squacco Heron (3)
Cattle Egret (16)
Glossy Ibis (35)
Booted Eagle (3)
Marsh Harrier (4)
Crested Lark (5)
Sitting Cisticola (6)
Reed Warbler (3)
Great Reed Warbler (2)
Barn Swallow (35)
House Martin (15)
Red-rumped Swallow (15)
Chiffchaff (5)
Cettis Warbler (12)
Blackcap (1)
Sardinian Warbler (6)
Western Subalpine Warbler (1)
Tree Sparrow (1)

Migrants coming in thick and fast now with a big influx of Swifts all over the reserve. If I had spent longer checking through them, I am sure I would have ended up with several more Alpines.

There has been a Spotted Crake seen regularly of late and, after having spoken to the finder today, I now know the spot which is close to the car park. It wasnt there when I left and I will probably be struggling to fit in another visit now.

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Another 7.30am start on La Finca added Common Swift and a Dartford Warbler to the lists. Sunny, light winds and just warming up nicely by the time I got back. Of note :-

Red-crested Pochard (1)
Pochard (18)
Little Grebe (2)
Common Swift (1)
Black-winged Stilt (6)
Little Ringed Plover (2)
Common Snipe (1)
Common Sandpiper (1)
Green Sandpiper (1)
Cattle Egret (50)
Glossy Ibis 75)
Hoopoe (2)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (1)
Iberian Grey Shrike (2)
Reed Warbler (1)
Sand Martin (1)
House Martin (2)
Red-rumped Swallow (4)
Chiffchaff (4)
Cettis Warbler (5)
Blackcap (11)
Dartford Warbler (1)
Serin (4)


After breakfast ventured up into the Serra de Crevillent (Crevillent Mountains) behind the town. A well known Bonellis Eagle breeding area and a spot I havent been to for a good few years. After positioning myself at a good vantage point, I only had a wait of 15 minutes before one of the adults put in an appearance. Good flight and perched views through the scope although the bird must have been a good half a mile away whilst perched on the cliff face.

While waiting for the star bird to show, I watched around half a dozen Red-billed Chough, a couple of Blue Rock Thrush plus one or two other more common species.



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Collared Pratincole numbers have increased nicely at El Pinet with a minimum of 38 present this morning. Probably one or two others hidden in the vegetation on the shingle islands as well. Still one Curlew Sandpiper in attendance together with 7 Dunlin, 11 Kentish Plover, 2 Redshank, a few Sanderling, 5 Common Tern and 2 Stone Curlew, plus the usuals.

Moved on to Santa Pola Saltpans, viewing from the tower by the busy coast road. Very quiet, water levels high and not conducive to waders. Added a Great Crested Grebe to the trip list, taking the figure now to 119.

Finally, to an area of farmland inbetween the La Marina urbanisation and the south east corner of El Hondo. This is a very good area for both Roller and Bee-eater, although we are a few weeks off seeing those arrive. There is a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoo around though but finding the birds is another matter. After walking around the tracks a week or so ago, I today drove around them for the second time, again without success.

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Two birding sessions on La Finca yesterday, post dawn and pre dusk, added three more for both this list and the trip list with Water Pipit, Western Subalpine Warbler and Woodchat Shrike. Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow and House Martin are increasing in numbers and the Swifts are starting to trickle in as well.

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A non birding day today but c.20 House Martin over the La Finca Golf Course reservoir take the trip list to 114.

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An hour and a half on La Finca Golfcourse from 7.25 am in cloudy and coolish weather. Amongst others :-

Red-crested Pochard (1)
Pochard (25)
Little Grebe (2)
Black-winged Stilt (2)
Snipe (1)
Green Sandpiper (1)
Little Bittern (1)
Western Cattle Egret (45)
Glossy Ibis (35)
Hoopoe (4)
Kingfisher (1)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (2)
Kestrel (1)
Zitting Cisticola (1)
Reed Warbler (1)
Chiffchaff (5)
Cettis Warbler (5)
Red-rumped Swallow (5)
Blackcap (7)
Sardinian Warbler (4)
Bluethroat (1)
Black Redstart (1)
Serin (2)

The Bluethroat was a 2CY immature and makes it the third separate Bluethroat of the trip at this site.

An hour and three quarters late morning, from 11am at El Pinet, in sunnyish and warm weather, 17-21*c. This is effectively the very southern end of the Santa Pola Saltpans. Not a great list lengthwise but always some decent birds about. Of note :-

Greater Flamingo (35)
Stone Curlew (1)
Black-winged Stilt (35)
Avocet (35)
Kentish Plover (4)
Curlew Sandpiper (4)
Sanderling (4)
Collared Pratincole (2)
Slender-billed Gull (250)
Mediterranean Gull (10)
Common Tern (5)
Sandwich Tern (175)
Crested Lark (1)
Swallow (1)

Didnt expect any Collared Pratincole on this trip but, looking at eBird, they have been arriving in southern and south east Spain since around the 18th of the month. A nice bonus.

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Spent three and three quarter hours at El Hondo this morning from 9.15 in sunny and warm weather. This is the smaller part of the reserve where daily access is the norm.

Species similar to my last visit here on the 8th with the added bonus of a Wood Sandpiper, asleep on the edge of a little island, seen from the boardwalk.

Whilst I was en route to the Torre de Rincon (watchtower), a cyclist photographer passed me, went round the corner and promptly flushed a Wryneck from the track. The bird disappeared into a thick bush before dropping into even thicker vegetation and thereafter remained hidden. I missed it by a couple of minutes at the most!

Species seen 48

Photos attached of Black-winged Stilt and Cettis Warbler.

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Headed back to the coast this morning. Saw 15 Great Bustard together in the fields, approx 1km west of the village of Corral-Rubio by the CM3261 road.

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Just outside the Costa Blanca but, as it is only a two hour car drive to the north west, I may as well include it here. We are staying in a lovely hotel on the western outskirts of Albacete which makes journeys into the steppe country very easy. Target birds here are the two species of Sandgrouse, the two Bustards, Lesser Kestrel and various Larks.

Whilst the steppe continues, in part, as far south as Yecla, near Albacete it is centred around the villages of Bonete, Corral-Rubio and Petrola. A drive around these three villages, especially along the sandy tracks which cut through the farmland, should afford decent views of some, or all, of the typical steppe birds.

At my first stop, a rise in the road giving superb views of the open countryside, I saw 5 Great Bustard with the bonus of a single Pin-tailed Sandgrouse in amongst them. This was a lifer. I heard one or more calling but could not see them. En route to and at my second stop, I saw a further 7 Bustards followed by flight views of another 10 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. This was pleasing as, it is generally thought that Black-bellied Sandgrouse are the easier of the two to come across. Several more Great Bustards were seen later on, bringing my final tally up to 23.

Next stop was a farming hamlet east of Corral-Rubio where at least 6 Lesser Kestrel were noted amongst the farm buildings. Further along the track, two pairs of Eurasian Kestrel were seen along with Black Wheatear and both Theklas & Crested Lark.

This whole area is littered with pools, some large and some small. Unfortunately, most of these appear to have completely dried up with the continuing dry weather. I am not sure if this is normal at this time of year, or a one off. The two pools that are still decent are that at Petrola and the other a few kms south of the same town. A variety of waterfowl were seen at these plus several species of wader.

A cracking morning out. Highlights :-

Great Bustard (23)
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (11)
Red-legged Partridge (1)
Marsh Harrier (2)
Common Buzzard (1)
Crested Lark
Theklas Lark
Lesser Kestrel (min 6)
Eurasian Kestrel (min 4)
Tree Sparrow (8)
Black Wheatear (1)
Hoopoe (1)
Shoveler (62)
White-headed Duck (4)
Greater Flamingo (24)
Little Grebe (24
Black-necked Grebe (2)
Black-winged Stilt (c.30)
Avocet (8)
Kentish Plover (3)
Little Ringed Plover (2)
Snipe (2)
Green Sandpiper (2)
Dunlin (c.35)
Little Stint (6)
Mediterranean Gull (4)

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Finally, entrance to the restricted (huge) part of the reserve this morning, three hours from 8.30, in sunny and warm weather. Walked part of the red route/ruta roja but only as far as Torre Poniente, which is a lookout tower facing due west. Its a long walk further down the main track with other hides and lookouts. Ill save that for another day. On the way back to the main gates, I spent 45 mins or so where a boardwalk juts out over a dried up part of the wetland, a good spot for raptors soaring on thermals. Amongst others :-

Shelduck (30)
Shoveler (500)
Pintail (1)
Teal (20)
Pochard (10)
White-headed Duck (4)
Greater Flamingo (min 500)
Little Grebe (20)
Black-necked Grebe (min 50)
Water Rail (2)
Black-winged Stilt (75)
Avocet (125)
Little Ringed Plover (5)
Black-tailed Godwit (110)
Green Sandpiper (4)
Ruff (20)
Slender-billed Gull (2)
Cattle Egret (3)
Great Egret (2)
Glossy Ibis (12)
Booted Eagle (5)
Marsh Harrier (5)
Hoopoe (2)
Iberian Grey Shrike (1)
Zitting Cisticola (6)
Moustached Warbler (1)
Willow Warbler (1)
Chiffchaff (5)
Cettis Warbler (7)
Blackcap (1)
Sardinian Warbler (2)
Yellow Wagtail (1)

Much, much more to go at. There must be around 18 hides/towers on the whole reserve and several kilometres of tracks. There is public access on a lot of the tracks but not in todays area. For reference the telephone number to ring for Saturday morning access is 966 678 515. There is a lot of information on El Hondo and other reserves in the area on www.costablancabirdclub.com

Total species seen 48

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Spent an hour and a half yesterday at a relatively quiet El Clot de Galvany reserve, in warm and sunny weather, 14-17*c. A Ferruginous Duck pair has been seen of late but wasnt on show during my visit, although it may well have been on one of the several pools or indeed on the main lagoon. I was mainly at the smallish pool named Charcas Anátidas. Of note :-

Red-crested Pochard (11)
White-headed Duck (6)
Red-legged Partridge (3)
Water Rail (2)
Audouins Gull (1)
Marsh Harrier (1)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (1)
Iberian Grey Shrike (1)
Crested Lark (1)
Moustached Warbler (1)
Sardinian Warbler (5)
Serin (2)

This morning, from 7.30am, on La Finca Golf Course. The weather is getting warmer now, so there were plenty of golfers underway even at that time. I was therefore restricted to the area north of the main lake/pool, by the reedbed.
Amongst others :-

Pochard (13)
Little Grebe (5)
Black-winged Stilt (2)
Snipe (1)
Green Sandpiper (2)
Cattle Egret (min 25)
Glossy Ibis (6)
Hoopoe (4)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (1)
Chiffchaff (min 50)
Cettis Warbler (5)
Bluethroat (1)
Serin (6)

The Bluethroat I saw on Sunday, I assumed was the red-spotted form. On closer inspection of a couple of front on photos, there would appear to be neither a red spot, nor a white spot. This would make it the Iberian subspecies (Luscinia svecica azuricollis). These breed in the higher ground of central Spain but overwinter in coastal areas.

Todays Bluethroat is most definitely of the white-spotted form, (L. s. cyanecula), with a more south and central European distribution, some of whom also overwinter in Iberia. Photos of this bird are attached.



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A two hour visit to Laguna de La Mata, this morning in sunny and clear weather, 14-17*c. Doesnt seem to be anywhere near as good as it used to be, although an April or May visit would be much more rewarding. Of note :-

Avocet (10)
Kentish Plover (2)
Slender-billed Gull (1)
Booted Eagle (1)
Hoopoe (3)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (2)
Monk Parakeet (2)
Iberian Grey Shrike (1)
Crested Lark (7)
Swallow (1)
Chiffchaff (5)
Sardinian Warbler (4)
Spotless Starling (1)
Black Redstart (1)
Linnet (11)
Serin (14)



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Forgot to attach a photo of the Surf Scoter..

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La Finca Golf Course

Another pre- breakfast walk yesterday added Little Ringed Lover and Black Wheatear to both this site and the holiday trip list. There is a stream that runs off the adjacent farmland and carries on through the golf course and away down farmland on the other side. There are both small pools and a larger pool/lake together with another large separate lake. I havent (yet) been kicked off the course, so Im assuming its ok for the odd person and dog walker to use the well graded tracks. Amongst others :-

Shelduck (2)
Pochard (33)
Black-winged Stilt (6)
Little Ringed Plover (1)
Green Sandpiper (1)
Cattle Egret (9)
Glossy Ibis (7)
Hoopoe (3)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (3)
Crag Martin (2)
Red-rumped Swallow (1)
Chiffchaff (c.25)
Cettis Warbler (4)
Blackcap (1)
Black Redstart (2)
Black Wheatear (1)
White Wagtail (c.25)
Serin (1)


Guardamar Lighthouse

With very light westerly winds forecast, I thought Id give the search for the 2CY male Surf Scoter another go. The sea was like a mill pond and viewing conditions, therefore, favourable. Third time lucky, the bird was happily swimming around some 400 metres north of the lighthouse on the edge of a huge gathering of Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls. I watched this overwintering bird for half an hour before deciding to have a good look through the gulls. Thereafter, the scoter simply disappeared. I reckon it has a routine/circuit and probably flew up the coast for a km or so, or alternatively some way out, east of the lighthouse. There were still plenty of Razorbill about and a few Gannet sat on the sea in the sunshine. A bonus was a single Balearic Shearwater that flew north, settled on the sea for a few minutes, before continuing north. Of note :-

Surf Scoter (1)
Sanderling (17)
Razorbill (27)
Slender-billed Gull (2)
Mediterranean Gull (5)
Sandwich Tern (2)
Balearic Shearwater (1)
Gannet (6)
Little Egret (1)
Sardinian Warbler (2)
Serin (3)

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RE: Laguna de La Mata, Costa Blanca, Spain


A walk around the La Finca Golf Course perimeter roads yesterday added Iberian Grey Shrike to the trip list. This morning, I spent just over an hour on the golf course itself seeing similar birds to my visit on Friday last. Best sighting was a Red-spotted Bluethroat which, for a couple of seconds jumped up onto a wall before quickly returning down into the damp vegetation.



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A rushed one and a half hours visit to El Hondo reserve around midday in warm, breezy weather. Did a 2km walk over the boardwalk and around one of the pools, amongst others :-

Shelduck (3)
Eurasian Teal (12)
Marbled Duck (5)
Red-crested Pochard (2)
Greater Flamingo (275)
Little Grebe (4)
Black-necked Grebe (14)
Red-knobbed Coot (4)
Western Swamphen (1)
Black-winged Stilt (16)
Avocet (8)
Snipe (3)
Glossy Ibis (125)
Marsh Harrier (2)
Peregrine (1)
Crested Lark (8)
Zitting Cisticola (4)
Sand Martin (2)
Barn Swallow (5)
Red-rumped Swallow (2)
Chiffchaff (9)
Cettis Warbler (8)
Sardinian Warbler (7)
Stonechat (2)
White Wagtail (1)

The locals tend to call this the San Felipe Reserve although it is El Hondo and where the main visitor centre is. It is probably only one tenth the size of the overall reserve. Entry to the larger part of the reserve, where there are trails and several hides, continues to be on Saturdays only and between 8.30 and 11.30am, by telephone appointment. Despite coming to this part of Spain for almost 20 years, I have never set foot in the by appointment part of the reserve but Im determined to do so this time.



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An hour from 8am this morning on La Finca Golf Course before the golfers got underway. Sunny and clear, light winds, 9*c. Of note :-

Shelduck (2)
Pochard (29)
Little Grebe (2)
Black-winged Stilt (4)
Snipe (1)
Green Sandpiper (1)
Cattle Egret (9)
Glossy Ibis (2)
Hoopoe (6)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (1)
Crested Lark (1)
Chiffchaff (16)
Cettis Warbler (5)
Blackcap (1)
Sardinian Warbler (1)
Black Redstart (1)
Stonechat (2)
White Wagtail (20)
Meadow Pipit (6)

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Over in Spain for a few weeks, renting a property on the La Finca Golf Club complex. A few kilometres north of Laguna de La Mata is the small town of Guardamar. At the north end of the town, there is a small marina where the Rio Segura enters the sea. There is a breakwater at the end of which is the Guardamar Lighthouse. A male Surf Scoter has over wintered in the general area and for several weeks has been seen relatively close to the lighthouse. Last seen (at least looking at eBird records) on 4th May and nothing doing today, unfortunately, despite a two hour search. I was down late morning and another eBirder has been looking late afternoon. However, some decent birds were seen both on the river and on the sea, out from the lighthouse. Of note :-

Red-crested Pochard (1)
Common Sandpiper (1)
Sanderling (21)
Razorbill (17)
Slender-billed Gill (2)
Black-headed Gull (min 400)
Audouins Gull (3)
Mediterranean Gull (6)
Yellow Legged Gull (c.35)
Sandwich Tern (9)
Gannet (3)
Little Egret (2)
Hoopoe (1)
Serin (3)

Ill keep an eye on eBird and make the 20 minute journey to Guardamar if the Scoter returns.

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Just coming to the end of a four week stay in a rental property, close to Quesada on the southern Costa Blanca. Same property as last year but this time we have gone one month earlier. As such, the weather has been sunny and hot throughout with daytime temperatures generally between 25-30*c. Not quite as hot this last few days, today is set to be around 22*c which will have been the lowest temperature so far. We saw a bit of rain last night, the first of the trip.

A persistent neck problem has meant much scaled down birding time, some of the nearby reserves havent been visited and we cancelled a trip to Albacete where we intended to look for steppe birds. I did manage to visit the following areas :-

Laguna de La Mata
Cabo Roig
Farmland and scrub areas adjacent to Lo Crispin urbanisation
El Hondo
El Clot de Galvany
Tabarca Island

Birds seen were pretty much consistent with previous years with the odd addition, amongst others :-

Marbled Teal
Red-crested Pochard
White-headed Duck
Red-legged Partridge
Greater Flamingo
Black-necked Grebe
Water Rail
Red-knobbed Coot
Western Swamphen
Black-winged Stilt
Pied Avocet
Black-bellied Plover
Kentish Plover
Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Whimbrel
Turnstone
Sanderling
Little Stint
Common Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Greenshank
Mediterranean Gull
Audouins Gull
Whiskered Tern
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern
European Shag
Little Bittern
Purple Heron
Cattle Egret
Glossy Ibis
Booted Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Little Owl
Hoopoe
Kingfisher
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Monk Parakeet
Iberian Grey Shrike
Theklas Lark
Crested Lark
Zitting Cisticola
Crag Martin
Cettis Warbler
Chiffchaff
Sardinian Warbler
Spotless Starling
Bluethroat
Black Redstart
Stonechat
Western Yellow Wagtail
Water Pipit

Photos added are of a Juvenile/1st w Little Bittern at El Clot de Galvany and a Marsh Harrier at El Hondo.



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Back to El Clot yesterday, on my own, to try to get better White-headed Duck photos. Saw 23, with other highlights being 16 Red-crested Pochard, 4 Marbled Duck, Hoopoe, Kingfisher, Iberian Green Woodpecker, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Booted Eagle, 200 Crag Martin and a 1w Shag, flying south on the coast opposite the reserve entrance. This brings the trip list up to 111, which should now be the final figure. Home on Friday.

The Wi-Fi here is very weak and I am struggling to attach any photos.

-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Thursday 16th of December 2021 05:20:55 PM

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Five mile walk around El Clot de Galvany this morning with Mrs J, including a full circumference of the large lagoon, around which there are three hides and a couple of watch towers. Weather sunny and clear, light winds, 13-17*c. Amongst others :-

Shoveler (25)
Eurasian Teal (10)
Pochard (10)
White-headed Duck (19)
Little Grebe (11)
Great Crested Grebe (1)
Black-necked Grebe (2)
Water Rail (3)
Western Swamphen (2)
Little Egret (3)
Cattle Egret (1)
Marsh Harrier (2)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Kestrel (1)
Crag Martin (25)
Chiffchaff (5)
Cettis Warbler (3)
Sardinian Warbler(21)
Robin (20)
Black Redstart (4)
White Wagtail (6)
Serin (1)

Good numbers of White-headed Duck are now able to be seen, given there is now access to hides around the large lagoon. Trip list 110.

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Another three hours spent at El Hondo from mid morning in pleasant weather, light winds, sunny spells and 12-18*c. Reception/boardwalk pool plus a walk around the two larger pools. The White-winged Tern returned after an absence of four or five days, so I spent some time trying to get better photographs than last time out. Numbers wise, 45 species for the outing and I added Song Thrush and Jackdaw to the trip list (!). Best of all, I saw only my second ever Bluethroat (red spotted) at the end of the boardwalk, skulking at the foot of the reeds. Ive never twitched any UK birds, so my other one was in Norway around twenty years ago. A great moment. Amongst others :-

Shoveler (35)
Eurasian Teal (18)
Red-crested Pochard (4)
White-headed Duck (1)
Greater Flamingo (23)
Little Grebe (12)
Water Rail (2)
Red-knobbed Coot (4)
Western Swamphen (8)
Black-winged Stilt (7)
Dunlin (1)
Snipe (1)
Green Sandpiper (1)
Redshank (1)
White-winged Tern (1)
Little Egret (1)
Cattle Egret (1)
Glossy Ibis (35)
Booted Eagle (2)
Marsh Harrier (4)
Common Buzzard (1)
Hoopoe (1)
Iberian Grey Shrike (2)
Crested Lark (2)
Crag Martin (45)
Barn Swallow (4)
Chiffchaff (5)
Cettis Warbler (7)
Sardinian Warbler (8)
Bluethroat (1)
Stonechat (5)




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Spent a night in Albacete, with a view to looking at the area of steppe to the south east of the town. This is probably the nearest area of steppe, of any decent size, to Costa Blanca. It takes an hour and a half to get there via the A31 motorway. eBird hotspots for both Bustards, both Sandgrouse and a variety of Larks centre around the villages of Petrola, Corral-Rubio and Bonete. There is another area, north and east of Yecla but that proved disappointing.

The steppe around the three villages is at 2000 ft asl and the temperature dropped to 9*c on Friday and, rather unfortunately, the wind picked up to around 50 km per hour, with gusts up to 75 kph. If you left your tripod unattended, it was over. Not conducive to looking for Larks and Buntings perched on wires. Today, the weather was the same, whilst tomorrow, the wind speed is set to return to a more normal 7 kph. Sods Law!

Still, the birding was quite good with several Marsh Harrier seen plus a ring tail Hen Harrier, a variety of waterfowl, a flock of Calandra Lark, other unidentified Larks (probably Thekla), several Raven, Booted Eagle, a few waders and, best of all, a flock of 85-100 Common Crane, a couple of km east of Petrola. There is a large lagoon at Petrola with several other smaller lagoons centred at, or near, the three villages. All in all, the area looks nailed on for Bustards and Sandgrouse, its just a question of spending a full day or two up there and finding them. Amongst others :-

Greylag Goose (2)
Shelduck (16)
Shoveler (75)
Gadwall (25)
Mallard (200+)
Teal (30)
Greater Flamingo (4)
Common Crane (85-100)
Dunlin (10)
Little Stint (1)
Lapwing (7)
Marsh Harrier (5-6)
Hen Harrier (1)
Booted Eagle (1)
Kestrel (3-4)
Raven (7)
Meadow Pipit (100+)
Calandra Lark (30)

In addition to the main flock of Common Crane, two other groups of three each were seen a few kms away.




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Back up to El Hondo, first thing, to try and see/get better photos of the White-winged Tern. Unfortunately, it seems to have moved on to pastures new. Spent an hour and a quarter around the boardwalk area and as far as the first proper hide on one of the two larger pools in that area of the reserve. Amongst others :-

Shoveler (75)
Eurasian Teal (20)
Marbled Teal (13)
Red-crested Pochard (18)
White-headed Duck (1)
Greater Flamingo (7)
Little Grebe (7)
Stock Dove (2)
Red-knobbed Coot (2)
Western Swamphen (8)
Black-winged Stilt (3)
Snipe (1)
Common Sandpiper (1)
Green Sandpiper (4)
Whiskered Tern (3)
Little Bittern (1)
Little Egret (1)
Marsh Harrier (2)
Buzzard (2)
Merlin (1)
Crag Martin (35)
Barn Swallow (6)
Cettis Warbler (2)
Sardinian Warbler (1)

Had another look from the main hide at Laguna de La Mata, early afternoon. Nothing too different from that seen previously. Amongst others :-

Stone Curlew (1)
Kentish Plover (12)
Sanderling (6)
Dunlin (30)
Little Stint (6)
Cattle Egret (2)
Kestrel (2)
Crested Lark (5)
Crag Martin (4)
Sardinian Warbler (2)
Black Redstart (2)
Stonechat (1)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (1)

Weather continues to be pleasant and sunny, around 18-20*c by early afternoon.

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Just over 4km walk with Mrs J, this morning, around the reception pools at El Hondo. The attraction was a 1w White-winged Tern that arrived two or three days ago and has been frequenting the pool around the boardwalk. Very breezy today and difficult to get any decent photos, so may have another go tomorrow. Plenty of Stonechat on show, amongst the usuals and good to see a fly past of 15 Glossy Ibis.

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Back to the Santa Pola area, this morning with return visits to El Pinet and then the nearby Santa Pola Saltpans, viewed from the tower by the N332. A similar cast to last time with additions of Osprey and Sanderling. Impressive numbers of Greater Flamingo, again, at the saltpans with an equally impressive count of Golden Plover at El Pinet. Weather warm and very pleasant, light winds, 20-22*c. Amongst others :-

El Pinet

Shelduck (1)
Greater Flamingo (10)
Black-winged Stilt (5)
Avocet (91)
Golden Plover (188)
Dunlin (17)
Little Stint (8)
Redshank (1)
Crag Martin (15)
Sardinian Warbler (1)
Black Redstart (2)
White Wagtail (2)
Serin (1)

Santa Pola Saltpans

Shelduck (35)
Greater Flamingo (1000)
Great Crested Grebe (38)
Black-winged Stilt (4)
Avocet (10)
Grey Plover (1)
Kentish Plover (1)
Ringed Plover (1)
Curlew (1)
Sanderling (4)
Dunlin (5)
Redshank (2)
Slender-billed Gull (10)
Mediterranean Gull (5)
Audouins Gull (4)
Little Egret (2)
Spoonbill (1)
Osprey (1)
Marsh Harrier (4)

A few walks around our urbanisation have turned up Black Redstart, Iberian Grey Shrike, Cattle Egret, good numbers of Greenfinch and Linnet, a resident Kestrel pair, Crested Lark. A covey of eight Red-legged Partridge took the trip list to 93.



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Another walk around Cabo Roig this morning, similar species seen as last time here, with the addition of a Little Egret. Several Monk Parakeet seen plus more Crag Martin. Also good to see another two adult Gannet, one right in, flying around the marina.

A White-winged Tern has been present today at El Hondo and, at the same reserve, the Social Lapwing seems to be enjoying its extended stay.

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Another visit to the main reception pools at El Hondo, yesterday afternoon, followed by a look at one of the southern hides adjacent to Vistabella Road. Weather sunny and warm, 18*c, breezy. Amongst others :-

Shoveler (17)
Eurasian Teal (18)
Pochard (628)
Black-necked Grebe (10)
Little Grebe (3)
Greater Flamingo (5)
Red-knobbed Coot (6)
Western Swamphen (2)
Cormorant (29)
Little Egret (4)
Cattle Egret (2)
Marsh Harrier (7)
Buzzard (2)
Kestrel (2)
Crested Lark (2)
Crag Martin (30)
Barn Swallow (6)
Chiffchaff (1)
Stonechat (5)
White Wagtail (25)

Incredible numbers of Pochard, cant think of anywhere that Ive seen numbers that come close to these. A grilling of all the Coot from the boardwalk pools turned up six Red-knobbed Coot. Trip list currently 90.

Had a probable Bonellis Eagle heading north over the reserve towards the Crevillente mountains (they breed there) but, whilst I cant think of anything else it could have been, the bird was high and distant and I wasnt 100% sure.


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No proper birding today, a morning walk around Cabo (Cape) Roig, a few kilometres south of Torrevieja, without bins :-

Gannet (3)
Sandwich Tern (5)
Audouins Gull (1)
Yellow-legged Gull (5)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (1)
Monk Parakeet (3)
Crag Martin (2)
White Wagtail (1)

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El Clot de Galvany

First time here for eight or nine years, went this morning as a sort of reccy to look at the trails for a long walk around the area. Previously, there were just two pools and a large area of open ground of scrub and small bushes and trees. Now, west of the two pools there is a large pool/lake with a decent hide in the south east corner and other view points. Didnt seem to be developed for birding previously but now offers huge potential and, looking on eBird, there have been impressive numbers of White-headed Duck in particular. The reserve is a pretty nailed on site for both White-headed Duck and Marbled Teal. Spent a couple of hours here, in sunny and cool weather, 10-12*c, breezy. Amongst others :-

Shoveler (20)
Eurasian Teal (16)
Marbled Teal (10)
Pochard (8)
White-headed Duck (3)
Little Grebe (2)
Black-necked Grebe (1)
Little Egret (3)
Cattle Egret (1)
Booted Eagle (1)
Hoopoe (1)
Crag Martin (35)
Barn Swallow (2)
Chiffchaff (4)
Cettis Warbler (2)
Sardinian Warbler (4)
European Starling (25)
Black Redstart (1)
White Wagtail (3)

European Starling used to be quite scarce in this part of Spain, so far south, but looking at eBird, they have now obviously spread south since I was last here. I intend to have a proper mooch around the area at some point because I only touched the south east corner of the big pool.

Photos of White-headed Duck and Marbled Teal attached.





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eBird sightings showing that the Sociable Lapwing was still present in the south east corner of the El Hondo reserve, indeed it must have returned on Sunday after I had left. I arrived at 9.50 this morning, weather sunny, cool and clear. I passed a French birder who advised that the bird was present but very distant, still associating with the Northern Lapwing. I had the small hide to myself but after only two minutes a Marsh Harrier dropped in and sent several hundred Lapwing into the air as well as several waders. Most of the Lapwing departed but a decent number circled round and returned to their previous spot. After a few minutes, I thankfully managed to relocate it.

I spent around an hour in the hide before driving up the east side of the reserve and to the north west corner, where the visitor centre is located. Still plenty of decent birds around but some of the large pools were devoid of birds. I came away without seeing White-headed Duck, Marbled Teal and Red-knobbed Coot, which were my target birds. I did a full circumference of the pools near the visitor centre, including the boardwalk and must have walked three or four kilometers. This is a mere pin prick in relation to the size of the whole reserve. You can still only access the main part of the reserve by appointment and times are very limited. Amongst others :-

Shelduck (26
Shoveler (33)
Little Grebe (5)
Greater Flamingo (2)
Water Rail (1)
Western Swamphen (17)
Black-winged Stilt (1)
Snipe (1)
Avocet (8)
Golden Plover (61)
Northern Lapwing (250+)
Sociable Lapwing (1)
Ringed Plover (2)
Curlew (1)
Black-tailed Godwit (3)
Dunlin (8)
Little Egret (1)
Cattle Egret (1)
Marsh Harrier (9)
Booted Eagle (1)
Kestrel (1)
Crag Martin (35)
Barn Swallow (6)
Kingfisher (1)
Cettis Warbler (3)
Moustached Warbler (1)
Chiffchaff (1)
Crested Lark (2)
Stonechat (1)
White Wagtail (8)






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Birding in the Santa Pola area today. First stop was El Pinet which, whilst a small reserve in its own right, is essentially the south east portion of Santa Pola Saltpans, out of sight from the coast road and close to the sea. One and a half hours here in sunny and cool weather, 14-17*c light winds.

Then made my way up the the Saltpans proper, spending a similar amount of time by the tower alongside the N332 coast road. Weather had warmed up slightly to around 18-19*c. Amongst others :-

El Pinet

Greater Flamingo (11)
Black-winged Stilt (13)
Avocet (79)
Grey Plover (1)
Golden Plover (1)
Kentish Plover (3)
Ringed Plover (1)
Black-tailed Godwit (43)
Dunlin (3)
Little Stint (4)
Common Sandpiper (1)
Redshank (2)
Slender-billed Gull (1)
Mediterranean Gull (2)
Sardinian Warbler(3)
White Wagtail (2)
Water Pipit (2)

Santa Pola Saltpans

Shelduck (13)
Shoveler (3)
Greater Flamingo (1000 min)
Great Crested Grebe (41)
Black-winged Stilt (40)
Avocet (25)
Grey Plover (4)
Kentish Plover (45)
Curlew (1)
Black-tailed Godwit (4)
Dunlin (2)
Little Stint (2)
Slender-billed Gull (12)
Audouins Gull (6)
Whiskered Tern (6)
Sandwich Tern (3)
Great Egret (2)
Little Egret (5)
Glossy Ibis (12)
Spoonbill (7)
Marsh Harrier (7)
Crested Lark (1)
Zitting Cisticola (1)
Crag Martin (8)
Sardinian Warbler (1)
Stonechat (2)
White Wagtail (2)

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Back to the lagoon this morning and a four mile walk up the western shoreline before the mosquitoes made it very uncomfortable. We then made our way back to the car park near the visitor centre. We gave the main hide a miss. Bird species similar to yesterday with a few additions. Weather pleasant and sunny, 18-20*c, light winds. Amongst others :-

Stone Curlew (2)
Cattle Egret (3)
Hoopoe (1)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (3)
Monk Parakeet (2)
Iberian Grey Shrike (3)
Crested Lark (20)
Crag Martin (2)
Sardinian Warbler (1)
Black Redstart (12)
Stonechat (4)
White Wagtail (11)
Meadow Pipit (3)
Serin (18)




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Back where it all started after an absence of several years. An hour and a half this morning at Laguna de La Mata in fairly warm and pleasant weather. A bit of a quiet feel, although the fields en route to the main hide were alive with birds. Only one Black-necked Grebe! Where has the winter flock gone? Very few waders about but the day was saved when a small group dropped in containing Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. Amongst others :-

Black-necked Grebe (1)
Black-bellied Plover (1)
Kentish Plover (3)
Turnstone (1)
Curlew Sandpiper (2)
Little Stint (2)
Audouins Gull (4)
Yellow-legged Gull (3)
Cattle Egret (11)
Hoopoe (1)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (2)
Kestrel (1)
Peregrine (1)
Monk Parakeet (28)
Crested Lark (6)
Crag Martin (4)
Sardinian Warbler (3)
Spotless Starling (50)
Mistle Thrush (4)
Black Redstart (7)
Stonechat (3)
White Wagtail (10)
Linnet (35)
Serin (1)

In the afternoon, we headed half an hour north to El Hondo, where a Sociable Lapwing had been reported on 19 November, after having been found on the 14th. There are four hides, east of the Southern Gate and, whilst I have been to this general area several times previously, I have never been to any of these hides. The Lapwing had been seen from the eastern most hide of the four. Unfortunately, it was not present and I was out of luck. The paths were terrible after overnight rain, so I left it there but will visit again at some point. Brief sightings from the one hide included :-

Shelduck (41)
Black-winged Stilt (21)
Avocet (83)
Northern Lapwing (51)
Curlew Sandpiper (11)
Cettis Warbler (1)
Reed Bunting (1)

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Just back from a week on the Costa Blanca. Again, not too much birding - two and a half hours at Laguna de la Mata, three hours on the accessible part of El Hondo and the roads around the reserve and a brief visit to La Finca at dusk for the Red necked Nightjar. Weather hot and sunny throughout. More interesting sightings being :-

Little Bittern (1)
Little Egret
Cattle Egret (250+)
Purple Heron
Greater Flamingo (250+)
White headed Duck (2)
Avocet
Stone Curlew (1)
Kentish Plover
Black winged Stilt
Collared Pratincole (c.6)
Whimbrel (1)
Turnstone
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Little Tern
Black Tern (3)
Whiskered Tern (c.10)
Slender billed Gull
Audouin's Gull
Turtle Dove (3)
Cuckoo
Red necked Nightjar (c.6)
Bee-eater
Roller (1)
Hoopoe
Crested Lark
Red rumped Swallow
Pallid Swift
Sardinian Warbler
Fan tailed Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Spotless Starling
Serin

Always like to get to La Finca to see how the Nighjar are doing in view of the continuing development at the top end of the golf course. Don't seem to be affected at present. One bird putting in decent flight views whilst at least another four birds were giving their distinctive calls. I would say six birds would be about right. There is a walk which appears to be out of bounds or at least on private grounds. A walk of a kilometer or two (not easy in the murk) could possibly turn up more.

Did a slow drive along the northern side of El Hondo hoping to see Roller. Finally found one bird on wires right opposite the North Gate. Great to see.

Lovely views of several Audouin's Gull from the sun lounger on Guardamar Beach!

Nothing new but great birding nonetheless.


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Just back from a week in Spain. Didn't do much birding apart from a look at the Griffon Vulture reintroduction programme near Alcoi and a two hour stint at Laguna de la Mata and adjacent farmland. Other odd sightings here and there whilst driving.

To get to the Vulture area, leave Alcoi on the CV795 Banyeres road. Past the football ground, through the tunnel and once through the tunnel take the second right. After a short while the road forks, take the left fork and drive up the hill for a couple of kilometres. You will then see an obvious track off to the right. Park here and walk up the hill for approx 1km where you will see a fenced off compound with hide. This was locked when we went and I am not sure if you can make arrangements to get to the hide to see the birds being fed etc. We saw one bird near the parking area, also a Short toed Eagle here, seven birds up in the air together whilst walking up the track, one bird behind the hide and another two in a type of tagging area. Others here and there, so a minimum of eleven birds.

Amongst others :-

Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Gr Flamingo
Griffon Vulture (11 min)
Buzzard (1)
Osprey (1)
Short toed Eagle (1)
Kestrel (2)
R L Partridge
Avocet (12)
Stone Curlew (1)
Kentish Plover
Turnstone
Slender billed Gull (1)
Little Owl (3)
Hoopoe
Iberian Green Woodpecker (2)
Swallow
House Martin
Sand Martin
Swift
Crested Lark
Black Redstart (3)
Stonechat
Fan tailed Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike (2)
Spotless Starling
Serin
Corn Bunting




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Yes, try the Owners Direct site. We stay in Quesada which is central for all the reserves previously mentioned and there are plenty of apartments listed there.

We're going over for a week in March and I'm aiming to have a quick look at the vulture introduction programme near Alcoi which is an hour and a half or so north of Quesada. A little further north east is the Vall de Gallinera where we've booked a little, rustic hotel for one night. Will give the valley a reccy for some future spring/early summer birding.

If you need info on any of the birding sites, just pm me or post on this thread.

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Thanks, I'll give them a go.


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Hi!
Excellent area.
Try the Owners Direct website.
Also the Costa Blanca Birdclub website has a link to accomodation in the area.

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Hi, we are planning a week in Murcia/Alicante round about easter this year and want to visit Laguna de la Mata and el Hondo but we are having difficulty finding any self catering accommodation for a reasonable price. This forum seems to be centred around the region and I wondered if anyone had any recommendations? Mouthwatering lists......... Thanks in advance. Vedeco


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Laguna De La Mata - 23 September 2012 - Quick 90 mins visit - Birdwise quiet - 30 Degrees & Sunny.

Amongst other stuff :-

Black Necked Grebe (60)
Little Egret (1)
Kestrel (1)
Kentish Plover (c.8)
Mediterranean Gull
Slender Billed Gull
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Red Rumped Swallow
Crested Lark
Spotted Flycatcher (1)
Sardinian Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike (1)

Been better!

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Had a week over on the Costa Blanca. The birding consisted of six mornings at the following sites, more interesting birds being :-

Laguna de la Mata - LDM
El Pinet - ELP
Santa Pola Saltpans - SPS
El Clot de Galvany - ELC
El Hondo - ELH
Crevillente Mountains - CRM

Black necked Grebe ELH
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Great White Egret (3) SPS
Glossy Ibis (30+) ELH
Purple Heron ELH, SPS
Night Heron (1) ELH
Greater Flamingo (750+) ELH, SPS, LDM, ELP
Red crested Pochard
White headed Duck (4) ELH, ELC
Marsh Harrier (4) ELH, LDM, SPS
Montagu's Harrier (5) ELH, LDM
Buzzard (1) LDM
Booted Eagle (4) ELH
Bonelli's Eagle (2) CRM
Peregrine (1) LDM
Red legged Partridge
Purple Gallinule (1) ELH
Avocet ELH, ELC, ELP, LDM, SPS
Black winged Stilt ELH, ELC, ELP, LDM, SPS
Stone Curlew (2) ELH, LDM
Ringed Plover ELC
Kentish Plover ELP
Little Stint (4) ELC
Curlew Sandpiper (23) ELP
Greenshank (3) SPS, ELC
Wood Sandpiper (7) ELC
Common Sandpiper
Turnstone
Mediterranean Gull SPS, ELC
Yellow legged Gull
Audouin's Gull SPS, LDM
Slender billed Gull LDM, SPS, ELP, ELH
Sandwich Tern ELP
Whiskered Tern ELP, SPS, ELH
Gull billed Tern ELP
Caspian Tern (1) ELP
Collared Pratincole (20) ELH, ELP
Turtle Dove LDM
Cuckoo (2) ELH, CRM
Pallid Swift ELH
Bee-eater (2)
Hoopoe
Iberian Green Woodpecker LDM, ELC
Red Rumped Swallow
Crag Martin CRM
Yellow Wagtail LDM, SPS,
Nightingale LDM, ELC
Stonechat
Wheatear
Black Wheatear (2) CRM
Blue Rock Thrush (3) CRM
Cetti's Warbler
Savi's Warbler (1) ELH
Reed Warbler ELH
Great Reed Warbler ELH
Melodious Warbler ELH
Whitethroat (1) ELH
Sardinian Warbler
Fan tailed Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike SPS, ELC, ELH
Woodchat Shrike LDM
Red billed Chough (4) CRM
Spotless Starling
Serin
Corn Bunting

The highlights being the morning in the Crevillente Mountains. Only second visit and this time was able to find the track to the cliff face where the Bonelli's Eagles have nested for a few years now. Had great scope views of both birds, flying and perched, nearest about a quarter of a mile away. A pair of Black Wheatear here also, with Blue Rock Thrush and Red billed Chough whilst waiting for the Bonelli's to show. The self found Caspian Tern at El Pinet, a scarce vagrant to this area, was a good moment too.

Visited La Finca Golfcourse for the Red necked Nightjar but not in yet, similarly the Rollers at the northern end of El Hondo.

101 species seen and in addition Quail heard.






-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Sunday 22nd of April 2012 04:33:55 PM

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I presume you're back home now Steve. We're here now and until Sunday. Report to follow when I've finished birding. So far been to Laguna de la Mata, Santa Pola Saltpans, El Clot, El Hondo and Crevillente Mountains. Still got La Finca Golf Course, El Pinet and Segura River walk to do!

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A few days on the Costa Blanca, walking and birdwatching.
We stayed in Torrejieva and went around Laguna de la Mata a couple of times but it seemed a bit dull in comparison with some of the other sites. We did see a few birds including stone curlew and temmincks stint but no great numbers.
Clot de Galvany was a disappointment but it was Easter Sunday and crowded with tourists!
El Pinet Salinas were good. Most of the tourists were intent on getting to the beach so the reserve was quiet. We saw audouins, slender billed and mediterranean gulls, common, sandwich and little terns, collared pratincole and lots of avocets and black winged stilts.
El Hondo was superb. We went three times. Once to check out the opening times, once to get a permit and finally once to the main reserve. Despite the mosquitoes (dont even think about going at this time of year without covering up and taking lots of repellent!) this was a fantastic experience. We saw little grebe, black necked grebe (most in summer plumage) and great crested grebe, red crested pochard, white headed duck, purple heron, great white egret, wood sandpiper, stone curlew, over 2000 flamingos, marsh and montagus harrier, booted eagle, osprey, thousands of common and pallid swifts, red rumped swallow, cuckoo, Iberian grey shrike, woodchat shrike and great reed warbler. Unfortunately we didnt see the marbled duck but maybe next time.
We also went to Calblanque (near Cartagena), where we saw a few more birds including peregrine falcon, little owl, bee eaters, black redstart and redstart, black wheatear and fan tailed warbler.
I also tried hard to separate thekla and crested lark. Does anyone have any tips? Most of them seemed to be thekla with well streaked breasts, shorter, stubbier bills and more melodic, sweeter songs and (just when I was thinking crested) a habit of perching in bushes!


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Bit of low key birding whilst over in Spain over the last week. Two visits to Laguna de La Mata (2 hrs and 1.5 hrs) and a morning at and around El Hondo (3 hrs). Generally fairly quiet, more interesting stuff being :-

Laguna de La Mata

Osprey (1)
Avocet (2)
Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Grey Plover (3)
Greenshank (1)
Audouin's Gull (1)
Slender billed Gull (c50)
Turtle Dove
Hoopoe
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Crested Lark (c.35)
Crag Martin
Red Rumped Swallow
Sardinian Warbler
Golden Oriole (1)
Southern Grey Shrike (2)


El Hondo

Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Greater Flamingo (c.25)
White Headed Duck (2)
Black winged Stilt (2)
Kentish Plover
Green Sandpiper (1)
Whiskered Tern (c.10)
Bee-eater (c.50)
Short toed Lark (1)
Red Rumped Swallow
Rufous Bushchat (2)
Stonechat
Cetti's Warbler
Melodious Warbler (2)
Sardinian Warbler
Subalpine Warbler (1)
Fan tailed Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike (1)

Highlight being the two Rufous Bushchat - good views of two birds together on the fringe of the reserve in the Southern Gate area - my first since one in Turkey a good few years ago.

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Just had a week over in Spain. Concentrated on four main areas, Laguna de la Mata, El Hondo, Santa Pola Saltpans and La Finca. Time birding equated to around a day and a half. Best of sightings being :-

Laguna de la Mata

Montagu's Harrier (3)
Kestrel (1)
Red Legged Partridge (5)
Avocet
Stone Curlew (2)
Black Winged Stilt
Kentish Plover
Slender Billed Gull
Common Tern (50)
Little Tern (5)
Turtle Dove (15)
Pallid Swift (4)
Hoopoe
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Red Rumped Swallow (c.15)
Crag Martin
Sand Martin
Nightingale (1)
Sardinian Warbler
Fan Tailed Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike (2)
Woodchat Shrike (2)
Cuckoo (1)

Santa Pola Saltpans

Purple Heron (1)
Little Egret
Avocet
Kentish Plover
Black Winged Stilt
Little Stint
Dunlin
Turnstone
Terek Sandpiper (1)
Collared Pratincole (c.12)
Slender Billed Gull
Audouins Gull (c.15)
Greater Flamingo (c.300)
Whiskered Tern
Common Tern
Little Tern
Wheatear (1)

El Hondo

Black Necked Grebe (c.15)
Little Egret (c.10)
Cattle Egret (c.75)
Purple Heron (1)
Night Heron (c.6)
Squacco Heron (c.8)
Purple Gallinule (2)
Montagu's Harrier (1)
Red Crested Pochard
Marbled Duck (3)
White Headed Duck (c.20)
Avocet
Black Winged Stilt
Collared Pratincole (c.25)
Slender Billed Gull
Whiskered Tern (c.25)
Little Tern
Turtle Dove
Cuckoo (1)
Hoopoe
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Red Rumped Swallow
Stonechat
Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Fan Tailed Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike (2)
Woodchat Shrike (1)
Roller (1)
Yellow Wagtail (1)

La Finca

Black Winged Stilt
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Little Bittern (4)
Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Savi's Warbler (1)
Cetti's Warbler (1)
Red Rumped Swallow
Scops Owl (1)
Red Necked Nightjar (6)

Several highlights :-

The Terek Sandpiper at Santa Pola and a lifer for me.
The Roller by the North Gate at El Hondo - always a great bird to see. Told of 4 seen a week or so ago in that general area.
The Red Necked Nightjar at La Finca - around six birds calling with two in the air together that saw me and came to check me out before disappearing into the gloom.
The number of White Headed Duck in particular and also the sighting of three Marbled Duck.

A bit of info about El Hondo - apparently water levels have been allowed to dry up completely on the main part of the reserve (restricted entrance via the North Gate). So much so, it is poinless telephoning for a visit. Just stick to the two large pools in the Visitor Centre area and give at least an hour or so on the perimeter roads that circle the reserve.





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Visited the Visitor Centre area of El Fondo over last weekend and a new hide has now been opened - fantastic views of White Headed Ducks and Squacco Herons. Unfortunately no birds of prey this visit.

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The main part of the El Hondo reserve (previously out of bounds due to landowner dispute) is now open, albeit limited. Wednesdays and Saturdays between 8.15 and 11-15 with bookings taken at the Visitor Centre. Access to the reserve via the North Gate. Could be better but at least it's a step in the right direction.

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Visited nearby El Hondo yesterday morning, roughly an hour in the Southern Gate area followed by another hour on the reserve. Landowner dispute still ongoing, so main part of reserve out of bounds other than pre arranged visits.

A Spotted Eagle has been overwintering for a few years now and this winter there have been an incredible four birds - an adult and three juvenile/sub adult birds which include an Estonian bird, named Tonn, fitted with a transmitter.

Had superb views of one of the juvenile birds near the Southern Gate. Didn't need the scope, it was so close. Turned out to be a good bird of prey day and amongst other stuff :-

Spotted Eagle (1)
Booted Eagle (1)
Marsh Harrier (2)
Hen Harrier (1 x Ringtail)
Kestrel (2)
Crag Martin (100+)
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Snipe
Red crested Pochard
Marbled Duck (1)
Black necked Grebe (c.6)
Cetti's Warbler
Chiffchaff
Sardinian Warbler
Black Redstart
Stonechat
Southern Grey Shrike

Good news about El Hondo is that they're starting to open up other areas of the reserve, previously on the accessable part of the reserve but off limits. Since my last visit, you can now view the two large lagoons at close quarters. No hides yet, but there are bamboo type fences with cut out holes for viewing.

Edit - Just Googled the two lagoons mentioned above and, whilst sizeable, they are a mere pinprick against the overall scale of the reserve.



-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Friday 21st of January 2011 05:21:45 PM

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