Another early start and 6.45am saw us setting off from Gran Alacant, full of expectation once again. After an hour and a halfs drive we had arrived but had taken a wrong turning and somehow ended up on the eastern side of the RM23 so we decided to carry on and explore the area. The habitat is much the same as the other side with open fields and farmland, grassland and small towns and fincas. There were plenty of Woodchat Shrikes around as well as Turtle Dove, Southern Grey Shrike, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Tree Sparrow and Beeeaters seemed to be here in good numbers.
We carried on and soon got to the other side of the RM23 and the normal birding route. The first bird we saw was a beautiful Roller sat on a poll taking in the view of the surroundings. We took a few photos but it was just a little to far away. We move on to the ruined building where we found Sardinian Warbler and Pallid Swifts, Red rumped Swallows and Beeeatears were over head. The little reservoir had Little Ringed Plover, Black winged Stilt, Little Grebe and 10 Beeeaters on the surrounding fence. We moved on to the viewing area above the Guadalentin river. There were lots of Jackdaws but surprisingly very few Beeeaters although this is normally the place to see them, but maybe not this year? Four Rollers came out from under the bank while another two were on the telephone wire and there were four more in the palm trees on the other side of the river bed. A dark phase Booted Eagle flew along the river followed by a mob of Jackdaws and we heard a Great Spotted Cuckoo from this point. We decided to do the full route around stopping a couple of times when needed, for instance – brakes on for another Roller on top of a tree! We carried on to our next stop where a farmer was ploughing up a field and the sky was filled with Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Red rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow and House Martin, what a sight, it was like having your own aerobatics show, Mark and I were spinning around like tops trying to track and follow them in the camera view finder, what a laugh!
As time was moving on and we were only doing a half day’s birding, we moved on to the Spectacled Warbler site and saw diddly squat, but did get Lesser Short toed Lark there. By now we had come full circle and headed back up the Roller track one last time and ‘bingo’ another Roller showing well at about 25 meters. We watched until it flew away. Heading on we reached the point where we would turn round to head back to Santa Pola where, to our surprise, there were yet more Rollers (2), but these birds wanted to have their photos taken at about 10 to 15 metres! We blasted away until they got fed up of the sound of the shutters and flew away. Happy Days! Another good day’s birding with Mark Etheridge.