Rio Segura, Sierra de Benejúzar and San Felipe – Paul Coombes

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Day 7 – Today we decided to visit a couple of areas reasonably local. Firstly the Rio Segura between Benejúzar and Orihuela. On arrival, Great Reed Warbler and Fan Tailed Warblers could easily be heard. A light phase Booted Eagle drifted over. A pair of Woodchat Shrike and Hoopoe were seen well at a picnic / park area about a mile or so along the river and a Common Cuckoo called .. it was located across the river perched on some wires. I was watching a sculking Blackcap when a MELODIOUS WARBLER was heard nearby in full song. When found, we watched for a while, getting some photos when the opportunity arose. When eventually reaching a main road near Orihuela we decided to return to Benejúzar for lunch / coffee.

Once Paula had had a few caffeine hits, we made tracks up into Sierra de Benejúzar. It was pretty quiet apart from a roaming flock of Long tailed Tit. The views from the top though were stunning! Blue Spot Hairstreak & Spanish Marbled White Butterfly were seen, only landing for a few seconds before being whisked away on the strong breeze. Back to the car and within a minute I slammed on the brakes as an OCELLATED LIZARD around 2 foot long ran in front of us. It slowly disappeared into the scrub as we attempted a few photos.

Another stop was had to admire the views. Bee-eater could be heard and around half a dozen soon passed over, followed by two Alpine Swift … both only meters away! A quick view of Iberian Green Woodpecker was had and nearby Golden Oriole were heard on the steep descent.

Next we went to El Hondo. Two ROLLER were found along the northern roads, but little else. At the visitor Centre we once again checked on the Kentish Plover and LITTLE RINGED PLOVER nests. The Kentish nest was away from any cover, but with the use of camo netting and nearby bushes / scrub the LRP nest was possible to photo. We both had a session under the netting getting some lovely close views and photos. A fab end to another stunning day.
Bird trip list 99