Mary’s Blog – Field Trip – El Hondo area

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We left GA and crossed the Salinas before meeting up with the others at El Pinet. The lagoons held a few Slender Billed Gulls, Avocets and Flamingos and Barry pointed out two Redshank and a Greenshank on a distant island. We set off to the old monastery road where Geoff had seen and photographed a Great Spotted Cuckoo that morning. Sadly it proved elusive for the rest of us so we had to make do with Southern Grey Shrike, Black Redstart, Kestrel, Stonechat and a Booted Eagle.

Moving on to the the palm farm track we parked up and scanned around with someone spotting a Buzzard on the roof of an old building. A small flock of Linnets were flying around and a few Skylarks were also spotted. In the air we saw Marsh Harrier, Grey Heron, Cormorant and two Booted Eagles, one dark phase, the other a more usual light phased bird. A Zitting Cisticola flew around before we moved on towards the Vistabella Road seeing Green Sandpiper, three Snipe and more Booted Eagles on the way, but none of the hoped for Cranes. As we drove back up the Vistabella road however, three Cranes flew over, success after all.

We drove round past the sheepsheds heading for Lo Chicharro and the Santa Agueda platforms. The absolute bird of the day was found by Barry, perched in a distant tree, which after much discussion was finally confirmed as a Great Spotted Eagle. Later it flew in front of the tower for a quite a while giving us brilliant views.

When we left here the group headed off for lunch and John and I went to the visitor centre at San Felipe for a picnic. The road to the reserve was still in a shocking state but we made it, after a very slow drive along, and I was happy to see a single Glossy Ibis in the first lagoon. Several Western Swamphens were seen here, along with Marbled Duck, Red Crested Pochard (female), Black winged Stilts and Little Grebes. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard as we ate our lunch. We headed home after lunch and re-traced our steps along the monastery road but there was still no sign of a Great Spotted Cuckoo. There was, however, a Blue Rock Thrush (brown female) on the roof of the monastery, and a Green Woodpecker was heard and then seen when we drove up the track on the other side of the road.

All in all it had been a great day, very warm, and lovely to see a few old friends again.

Species list – Little Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Crane, Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Marbled Duck, Red Crested Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Great Spotted Eagle, Kestrel, Coot, Purple Swamphen, Moorhen, Black Winged Stilt, Avocet, Redshank, Greenshank, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Slender Billed Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler (HO), Chiffchaff, Zitting Cisticola, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Magpie, House Sparrow, Serin, Linnet.