Saturday, 29 January 2011

Valencia Province, El Fondo in Alicante Province and Home.

The journey home and another Spanish Raptor.

We started out after breakfast and headed the right way back, avoiding the toll motorway and Benidorm. Our first stop was at El Fondo / Hondo where several Great Spotted Eagles (Aguila Moteada / Aquila clanga) were wintering, two adults including Tron the radio tagged bird and at least two possible three immature birds have been seen regularly. The access to the site is very restricted so viewing from the perimeter was the only way forward. After asking for info via the Andalucian Bird Society website and drawing a blank, I was given some directions from friend Juan Perez from Granada. I stood on the raised bank with another English birder (sorry useless with names) and three Spanish chaps and scanned the reedbeds. The Spanish lads had wandered off along the road which just left the two of us, we soon started to pick up birds including Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita). Then a largish dark bird came in quite low over the reeds and started to circle up and away again, the untagged adult Great Spotted Eagle gave us some very nice views for several minutes. It then dropped from view over some large trees and was replaced by an Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus), we also added several Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and at least 5 Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) to the list. Just after the Eagle disappeared the three Spanish birders returned, they stood with us for a short while then jumped into there car and headed off. Just as they had left the adult Eagle showed very well again for another few minute before dropping away over the trees once more. Other birds seen included Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos). Very pleased with the last hours birding I left the site and we continued on towards home, driving through some salt pans on the way back to the motorway. I added Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) from the car.
Photographs from the top: a couple of views of El Fondo.

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