After a depressing lack of much birding, apart from a short visit to El Clot last week, we met up with Trevor and Bryan for a little drive round the local area. Just before we stopped at the rocky area by Santa Pola Salinas, a Spoonbill flew over the N332. From the parking area we spotted about 20 of these birds on the far side of the Salinas. While we were there a flock of large birds flew over the lagoon which I initially thought were Cormorants but on closer inspection they turned out to be around 20 Grey Herons which we thought was quite unusual. We moved on from here through the countryside to the palm farm road where some flooded fields held numerous White Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Water Pipits, 7 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers and a Common Snipe. At the bridge a look along the canal found 3 of the pylons occupied by a Jackdaw, a Kestrel and a Buzzard. We carried on down this track and turned right into, what we now call ‘Green Sandpiper alley’, because lately there always seem to be a load of these birds flying out of the water channel as we drive along the track. Further along a nice creamy coloured Booted Eagle sat on a post and posed for photos for a while before flying off.
Our next stop was at the ‘new’ hide on the Vistabella road. Bryan and Trevor heard and caught a glimpse of a Moustached Warbler while John and I carried on to the hide seeing a Great White Egret before it disappeared from view. The usual group of Greater Flamingo were at the edge of the lagoon and 4/5 Black necked Grebes, 4/5 Little Grebe, 20 Pochard, 1 Red crested Pochard, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Shoveler (female) and 4/5 Tufted Ducks were on the water. A Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reeds and I caught a glimpse of a Kingfisher as it sped across the lagoon and out of sight.
Our final stop was at San Felipe where Trevor kindly shared his lunch with us as the rest of us had not brought any. A bit like the feeding of the 5000 but without the fish! The others set off towards the hide and I followed on seeing a Bluethroat which landed on the wooden path for a few seconds before flying into the bushes. At the first hide all was very quiet apart from a large raft of Coot and the odd Little Grebe. At the second hide we found a single male White headed Duck by looking through a hole in the fence. Further away there were large numbers of Mallard, Shoveler and Shelduck but not much else, so we decided to call it a day. For me it had been a good day for kick starting my 2014 bird list as well as an enjoyable few hours birding.
Species List – Great crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Spoonbill, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Red crested Pochard, White headed Duck, Tufted Duck, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagel, Kestrel, Coot, Moorhen, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Snipe, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Collard Dove, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Common Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.