We set out for the morning visit in good time to check out the Rollers on the way to the North Gate. Sure enough they were present in good numbers. We saw at least eight between the first football field and the reserve entrance. Another, sadly, was a road casualty, the blue feathers being unmistakable in the middle of the road. The gate was duly opened at 9 o’clock and so the small assembled group headed for the first hide. Here there was shelter from the blazing sun and a pleasant light breeze. This hide has a somewhat alarming lean towards the marsh and so thankfully not everyone moved to the front at the same time! For the next three hours we stood in this hide as the birds tended to fly past. Birds included Little Bitterns and Purple Herons. Two Cuckoos flew past as another called from the left. A Collared Pratincole flew overhead, calling as it went. Three Great White Egrets turned up as did a rather surprising Black tailed Godwit. Also around were Great Reed Warblers as well as Glossy Ibis and Night Herons. A Purple Swamphen flew past while a Water Rail made the journey on foot. A lengthy discussion on camera use took place with Bryan giving a master class to a well known fellow birder who had yet to get to grips with the multitude of settings on a similar camera. At the same time there was much exchange of information regarding birding locations and what might be seen there. As we have found in the past El Hondo never disappoints.
Species list – Shelduck, Mallard, Tufted Duck, White headed Duck, Black necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Kestrel, Water Rail, Coot, Purple Swamphen, Avocet, Black winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Green Sandpiper, Black tailed Godwit, Yellow legged Gull, Black headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Wood Pigeon, Cuckoo, Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Bee eater, Roller, Swallow, Red rumped Swallow, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Magpie, Jackdaw