A walk round San Felipe

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Kingfisher by Mary Brazier

We set off for San Felipe on a warm and sunny day, stopping nowhere on the way, as we just wanted to have a good look around the reserve. We headed along the track to the first hide, seeing Chiffchaff and Stonechat in the scrub and a Bluethroat on the fence. A good start. As we rounded the corner at the end of the path, John spotted a Kingfisher sitting on the edge of the water channel a good way ahead of us. We were able to view the bird quite well until we got a bit closer and it took off and landed a bit further away. We continued like this, with the bird flying and landing a bit ahead of us until we passed it as it stayed perched on a wooden post. At the first hide we found a large group of Spanish students who seemed to be looking at something through the viewing screens. We entered the hide and saw the usual Coots, a Marsh Harrier hunting over the reeds and a Purple Swamphen on the far side of the pool. As the students moved off a Little Bittern flew out of the reeds, across in front of the hide and away. That must have been the bird the students had been watching. After a while we moved on the the second hide. Luckily the students were moving on to the green viewing tower on the other side of the lake. From this hide we could see numerous Shoveler and Little Grebe with the odd Black necked Grebe showing occasionally. We had initially dismissed two ducks in front of the hide as decoys until they woke up and started to move! They were White headed Ducks. There was a good sized group of Flamingos in the water towards the far side of the lake and a Booted Eagle put in an appearance flying overhead.

Next we walked back towards the visitor centre via the board walk. We noted that a lot of the plants have been cut down leaving plenty of open ground where it was easy to see Bluethroats and White Wagtails. Several Stonechats were showing well as they perched on top of the bushes and Chiffchaff were moving about in the reeds. John spotted a Common Snipe resting below a bank before we continued round to look at the pool by the picnic area. Here we saw several of the ‘tagged’ re-introduced Red knobbed Coots along with many ‘regular’ Coots and Moorhens. We left San Felipe meeting Bryan and Trevor on the access road, as they were arriving. We told them about the Little Bittern and they told us about two White Storks they had seen on the tip. A quick stop at the tip found us the two White Storks, before we headed towards Santa Pola for lunch on the seafront, where we watched a group of Turnstones feeding on the shore.

Bluethroat by Mary Brazier

Species List – Black necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, White headed Duck, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Coot, Red knobbed Coot, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Black winged Stilt, Black Tailed Godwit, Common Snipe, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler (HO), Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Robin.