Los Montesinos and El Hondo area – Paul Coombes

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Day 1 – A stunning day. Clear blue skies and temperatures reaching 25 degrees by mid afternoon.

Black Redstart, Stonechat, Linnet and Serin were everywhere around Montesinos, with a few Hoopoe, Southern Grey Shrike and Marsh Harrier also noted. A quick visit followed to the Azure Winged Magpie site at Los Balcones. They were heard but only a single bird was sighted. Here I met Norwegian, Rune Voie, and after a good chat we made our way to El Hondo, Santa Agueda and the first hide along the Vistabella Rd. A well watered field on route had attracted many Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis.

A couple of Booted Eagle were being mobbed by the wintering Marsh Harrier at Santa Agueda, but there was no sign of the hoped for Spotted Eagle. Large numbers of Purple Gallinule and Black Winged Stilt were present on the pools around the El Hondo Visitor Centre, with Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Avocet, Black tailed Godwit and Red knobbed Coot also noted. It seemed to be a rather slow day in general with a fly past Little Owl on our journey back taking the day/trip species count to 50.