After a weekend at home it is always nice to get out and about again looking for some birds. We set off to visit San Felipe Reserve and looking for birds along the way. It seemed rather quiet although we didn’t go across the Salinas today, where we might have seen the usual species. As we passed near to El Hondo North gate we saw our first Booted Eagle of the year. A brief stop at the tip did not produce either of the two White Storks we had seen here previously. At San Felipe we first walked round the boardwalk where, apart from a Kingfisher, little was showing. We moved on to the first hide where a solitary Shoveler was dozing in the middle of the lagoon. A number of Chiffchaffs were in the reeds in front to the hide but nothing else. At the second hide we had more luck in the form of Shovelers, Shelduck, White headed Duck and Little Grebes. A group of Flamingos were on the far side of the lake and took off, along with most of the ducks, when two young motorcyclists started riding up and down the path on the far side. After a while the birds all settled down again and we were able to add Black winged Stilt and Marsh Harrier to our list. Soon we were getting hungry so we headed to the picnic area to eat our lunch. My first Black Redstart of the year was showing well as were a couple of Purple Swamphens which seemed to be chasing each other around. The regular Coots and Red knobbed Coots were on the pool and numerous Chiffchaffs flitted about.
After lunch we drove through San Felipe and back through the countryside finding a Little Owl on a derelict building as I had hoped we would. Crossing the Vistabella road we turned into ‘green sandpiper alley’ where unusually, we didn’t see any of the sandpipers we named the track after. Plenty of White Wagtails were about and a large flock of Cranes flew ahead of us, circling and calling to each other. We could have stood there in the warm sunshine watching them for hours, but sadly they soon flew away and out of sight. We drove along the palm farm track where another Kingfisher was sitting on a post giving us great views of it , while a Kestrel looked on from the top of a tall post. The rest of the track was pretty much deserted so we moved on to the bridge by the ‘little reserve’ where the three Lapwings we had seen on New Year’s Day had now become 13, but the Golden Plovers had gone. Our final stop was for a quick look at El Pinet where we found a Black winged Stilt and a Redshank, some more Shelducks and a few Avocets. We went for a look at the beach where it was warm enough to sit in the sun and admire the view. An Audouin’s Gull flew over, another early addition to the year list. It had been a good day.
Species list – Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Crane, Flamingo, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, White headed Duck, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Coot, Red knobbed Coot, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Redshank, Lapwing, Slender billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler (HO), Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Common Starling, Magpie, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting.