We arranged to go for a day out with Dave and Linda, travelling through the countryside to San Felipe. We had a brief stop on the Salinas but it was very windy so most of the birds were sheltering and we were soon back in the car too!
During a short stop by the monastery we saw only Crested Larks so continued to the PFT where a Marsh Harrier was flying, a Great White Egret was also seen flying and two Buzzards were on the ground.
We turned right onto the track I named ‘Green Sandpiper Alley’, which has not produced many Sandpipers lately but today two Green Sandpipers flew up out of the water channel. John spotted three Red legged Partridge as they flew in and landed at the edge of a field. At the end of the track we came to the place where people seem to tip their rubbish where a van was just leaving having apparently tipped a load of rubbish right across the track! This was very annoying and caused us to have to turn round and go back the way we came. We didn’t go back down the PFT though but headed to the end of the track where it meets the Dolores road. On the way we saw a large but distant flock of birds flying which we thought were probably Glossy Ibis. At one point I spotted three birds flying in from the left and I was jumping up and down asking Dave to undo the locked car doors so we could get out! The birds were Cranes! I was beginning to think this might be a species I might not get this year. Result! While we watched, another group of seven Cranes appeared from the other direction and flew around a bit before going away, apparently looking for somewhere to land.
We made our way round to the Vistabella road where a male Marsh Harrier was a nice sight. Another group of Glossy Ibis flew over the road heading towards El Hondo.
Finally, after our customary coffee stop in San Felipe, we arrived at the reserve and had a walk around the boardwalk. Sadly this was rather windy meaning the birds were in short supply so we hurried back to the picnic area. The pool here held four Western Swamphen, several Red knobbed Coot and a single Marbled Duck. After eating lunch we headed off to the first hide. John, Lyn and I were in the hide but Dave had spotted a bird in the water channel and called us back to see it. We were very happy to find it was a juvenile Night Heron, a great bird which we have only seen once before!
Back in the hide the lagoon was busy with Little Stint, Ringed Plover and Dunlin as it was last week. On to the second hide which was once again filled with Shelduck and the odd Little Grebe. Two Snipe were feeding in front of the hide and several Chiffchaffs were in the reeds as usual.
Returning to the first hide I spotted a Kingfisher fly into the water channel and we all saw it perched there for a quite a while. A single Glossy Ibis was feeding in the reeds opposite along with two Western Swamphens. Another two Snipe were seen and, after a little while three Bluethroats turned up. It had been a very good day.
Species list – Little Grebe, Cormorant, Night Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Common Crane, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Marbled Duck, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge, Coot, Red knobbed Coot, Western Swamphen, Moorhen, Black winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Snipe, Yellow legged Gull, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Magpie, House Sparrow.