We had decided not to attend the CBBC Field Trip today as it is a long journey to Pego requiring an early start, not something I enjoy! Instead we set off across the Salinas, drove around the El Hondo tracks and headed to the San Felipe Visitor Centre. During a brief stop in the layby at the Salinas we saw Greater Flamingo, Shelduck and Slender billed Gull. A few Sandwich Terns were fishing, a flock of Turnstones arrived and a Great White Egret flew across in front of us. We continued our journey down the ‘Bee eater’ road where we saw several Magpies and a Southern Grey Shrike and headed for the ‘palm farm track’. The first birds we spotted were three Booted Eagles all perched in the same tree. We also saw Buzzard, Kestrel, Jackdaw, Red legged Partridge and a huge flock of Starlings. We drove along ‘Green Sandpiper alley’ adding Stonechat and Collared Dove to our list and then had a brief stop by the Vistabella house. We were having a look around when a car pulled up and a man got out and approached us, saying “you’re Mary and John Brazier”. It was Peter Williams, who I have been in contact with through my Facebook group but have not met before, so it was nice to put a face to a name. We chatted for a while before Peter headed off to the hides and we moved on to San Felipe. On our way we spotted the Little Owl who regularly sits on top of the ruined building near the sheep sheds plus another one a bit further along the road, along with a Grey Wagtail and a Zitting Cisticola by the water channel.
After a short coffee stop in the village we arrived at the reserve. From the car park we could already see good numbers of Glossy Ibis feeding in the shallow pools inside the reserve and several small flocks continued to come and go during our visit. As we walked along the path I spotted a Bluethroat sitting up on a bush in the scrub. We headed along the edge of the pools to have a better look at the Glossy Ibis. There was a Wood Sandpiper feeding quite close by and several Little Stints were feeding further away, along with a Kentish Plover. We had a look in the pool at the picnic area where we found Coot, Red knobbed Coot (with collars), 2 Purple Swamphens, Moorhen, Mallard, Little Grebe and the Muscovy Duck who has been there for a while now, not sure we can count it though! As we proceeded along the boardwalk John spotted a Kingfisher perched at the edge of a small water channel. The bird wasn’t disturbed by us so we watched it for a while before moving on. Our next stop was at the first hide but the lagoon held very little in the way of birds, probably because there was some reed cutting in progress. We could see more from the second hide including a large group of Greater Flamingos and good numbers of Shelduck on the island along with a single Teal. There was not much on the water apart from a few Mallards, Coots and Little Grebes. Two more Kingfishers were seen in the reeds at the edge of the lagoon. We returned to the picnic area to eat our lunch and enjoyed watching the birds in the pool area and the Glossy Ibis moving around on the lagoon behind us. It had been a good day.
Species list – Little Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge, Coot, Red knobbed Coot, Purple Swamphen, Moorhen, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Turnstone, Wood Sandpiper, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Common Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Serin.