Today we set off on a bit of a ‘twitch’! We picked up Bryan and Trevor and went to meet Barry on the car park at La Mata Reserve. From here Barry led us to the Las Balcones area on the Southern side of the pink lake at Torrevieja, where a small colony of Azure winged Magpies has been discovered. We parked at the start of a small track and walked down towards the lagoon. Within seconds we had all spotted several Azure winged Magpies as they flew from tree to tree and across the track in front of us. We continued along the track and watched the birds as they moved around amongst the trees in the large gardens of the houses here. We were all delighted to find a group of these special birds apparently resident in our area. Previously, we had only seen then at Hornos or Andujar, both places about 150 miles away. There were plenty of other birds in the area including Long tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Black Redstart and White Wagtail. We stayed a while to watch and attempt to photograph the Azure winged Magpies before moving on to La Mata.
We walked down to the hide from where we had distant views of numerous waders including Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Turnstone and Sanderling. There were a few Greater Flamingos giving quite good views and a Dartford Warbler showed briefly in a bush in front of the hide. The lake held a small group of Black necked Grebe which were seen in the distance. Walking back to the car park we saw plenty of Crested Larks and Black Redstarts and I had a brief view of a pipit which was probably a Meadow Pipit. On the way home we took a short detour along a track at the side of the
salinas and stood on a high point where we could see over an area of open scrubland and across towards the edge of the water. Bryan and Trevor had been here yesterday when they had seen four Osprey in the area. Today we had a distant view of a single Osprey flying, Booted Eagle and Marsh Harrier were also seen along with a couple of other unidentified raptors in the distance. From here we set off for home feeling good after a bright sunny day’s birding and a successful ‘twitch’!
Species list – Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge (HO), Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Redshank, Turnstone, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush (HO), Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Long tailed Tit, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Azure winged Magpie, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Serin, Goldfinch.