February saw me and a couple of friends take ourselves of to Spain for some birding. We stayed in a friend’s apartment near Algorfa, Alicante. The first evening was spent listening to a Scops owl calling not far from the apartments as well Stone Curlew.
It was an early start on the Saturday as we headed to the El Hondo reserve. We had a drive around the roads surrounding the reserve and saw Marsh Harriers and also Purple Swamphen.
On entering the reserve we knew we had made the right decision booking. The North gate of the reserve is only open from 8.30am and you have to book in advance. At first it seems like only a small reserve but once you are in the viewing platforms you soon realise what a vast area it covers. Luckily we were straight onto White-headed duck, Marsh Harriers, Red Crested Pochard and in the trees at the side of the main track was a Booted Eagle.
We visited the tower hide and were lucky enough to be put onto the Spotted Eagle, and numerous other species. After leaving the reserve we drove the perimeter and then we were lucky enough to have a Little Bittern fly across the road in front of us. Whilst having lunch Southern Grey Shrike landed in the reeds next to the car.
We then moved on to Santa Pola Salina for closer views of Black-winged stilt, Sandwich tern, various gulls and waders a Slender billed gull in full adult plumage.
Next stop was El Pinet dunes where there were Spoonbills, and in the trees in the dunes large numbers of Serin
Before leaving for Spain I emailed the Costa Blanca Bird club who gave us some great advice of where we should head out to. On the sunday we went to La Mata where there were lots of smaller birds. In the car park there were Crested larks and numbers of finches to be seen. After a short period of time we had a sighting that wash;t expected when someone in the vines flushed a Stone Curlew. We continued to make our way down the water’s edge. On the way we there were Sardinian warblers calling from the gorse. There were large flocks of waders and gulls and of course there were flamingos. In the pines there were tit flocks and a sighting of a Crested tit.
Then we head out to San Pedros Salinas and had a wander through the dunes. We also had Spotted redshank, Redshank, Ruff and Little Stint.
In the evening we had a walk round the golf course where we watched the large numbers of Cattle Egrets arrive back into the reeds for the evening roost along with the large numbers of Pochard on the lake.
On the Monday the other had to fly home in the morning so I revisited some the place we had already travelled around .I went back to the golf course and had the Hoopoe and spotted starling. Back at El Pinet was lucky enough to see a Dartford Warbler. I went back to Sand Pedros Salinas where there were new a few more Little Stint.
Full List of Birds
Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Willow Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, White-headed Duck, House Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot
Marsh Harrier, Little Grebe, Booted Eagle, Greater Flamingo, Great White Egret
Osprey, Black-winged Stilt, Kestrel, Blackcap, Mediterranean gull, Starling
Pallid Swift, Cetti’s Warbler, Purple Swamphen, House Martin, Cormorant
Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Collared Dove, Skylark, Corn Bunting
Greenfinch, Lapwing, Little Bittern, Little Egret, Black-necked Grebe, Swallow
Southern Grey Shrike, Black Redstart, Gannet, Robin, Blackbird, Yellow Legged Gull
Slender-billed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Dunlin
Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Avocet, Serin, Mallard, Cattle Egret, Shelduck
Red-legged Partridge, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Crested Lark, Little Ringed Plover
Stone Curlew, Linnet, Wood Pigeon, Sardinian Warbler, Sanderling, Long-tailed Tit
Crested Tit, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint, Ruff, Great Tit, Dartford Warbler
Hoopoe, Spotless Starling, Parakeet, Great-crested Grebe