Field Trip to La Mata, Lo Monte areas – Stephan and Els

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The weather forecast for the day had persuaded many to stay at home, but ten members and two guests were at the meeting place, La Mata Visitor´s Centre, just in time to see the first drops of an entire day of rain.
Our first birds were House Sparrow and Barn Swallow, soon followed by a group of six Rose-ringed Parakeet, plus lots of Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings. A Kestrel tried in vain to keep out of the rain on a windowsill, and several Crested Larks walked between the grapevines. Swifts flew over our heads, and so did quite a few terns. Most of them were Common Tern, but we saw at least one Whiskered Tern amongst them. The Gull-billed Tern, that our leader David had seen during his reccee earlier in the morning, could not be found again.

On the walk to the hide, Greenfinch, Blackbird and Serin were busy in the bushes, and a Zitting Cisticola flew by while we were looking at Shelduck, Little Ringed Plover, and Little Stint by the lakesideA Grey Heron landed beside a group of Slender-billed Gulls, whilst Yellow-legged Gulls came high over the lake. The hide at the water´s edge provided a welcome shelter for all of us, we took our time to look at the great gathering of birds in front of us. An Audouin´s Gull was spotted by some, Avocets were everywhere in pairs or little groups, one single Turnstone was seen.
Dunlin, as well as Sanderling were found  in several plumages. We could make out the distinctive traits of head and axillaries of Grey Plover. and Golden Plover. Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt and a few Kentish Plovers were seen. After finding the first Curlew Sandpiper, we searched and found seven including some with the distinct summer plumage. Green Woodpecker and Woodpigeon called out from the trees behind the hide.
Two Stone Curlews walked along the waterline, looking very wet. One of them flew by right in front of the hide and took some time to look at us, giving us good photo opportunities. On the beach the Slender-billed Gulls, Little Terns and a lonesome Sandwich Tern made us marvel about the differences in size between these “black and white” birds. On our way back from the hide to the car park some of us saw two Northern Wheatears flying from a bush, our last birds on the La Mata spot.

A drive through a lot of traffic and a lot of deep puddles brought us to Lo Monte. Pochards swam on the lake, with at least one Red-crested Pochard. Moorhen could be seen between the reeds, as could a Purple Heron. Around the hides Great Tit, Goldfinch, and Sardinian Warbler were singing. Far away two Black-necked Grebes and several Little Grebes were seen swimming. Close to us a Coot and a Purple Gallinule tried to hide themselves from our view. Finally we were delighted to see an adult Night Heron crossing the water surface and landing on a branch close to a juvenile plumage bird.

We left Lo Monte, and went to Andreu Restaurant in Torremendo for a very good lunch. After that we decided we had seen enough rain, and parted after a good birding day.