On Wednesday we had a run across the Salinas and the El Hondo fields, finishing up at San Felipe Visitor Centre. The Salinas were quite quiet, perhaps due to the wind, with only Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little Egret and hundreds of Greater Flamingo being seen. We drove along the palm farm track where we saw a mixed flock of Greenfinch, Linnet and Goldfinch and a large brown raptor was in the air. We thought it might have been a Spotted Eagle but we couldn’t be sure. When we stopped on the bridge a Kingfisher flew along the water channel and away before landing on the wall further along close to a Great Crested Grebe which was on the water. Turning right towards the Vistabella road we noted Stonechat, Chiffchaff and Water Pipit. After a brief drive up and down the Vistabella road where we saw a small flock of Lapwings we turned right towards the sheep sheds, stopping to look for the regular Little Owl on it’s building, but it was nowhere to be seen. A bit further on past the farm we saw a raptor in the air, and after stopping to check, we found it was a Booted Eagle. We also found groups of Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egrets feeding in a small field. We enjoyed a brief coffee stop in the village of San Felipe before heading towards the Visitor Centre.
We set off around the path towards the hides and found a very confiding female Bluethroat feeding at the edge of the track and enjoyed watching the bird for some time as it hopped in and out of the foliage, allowing us a really good view. From the first hide we could see plenty of Coots and I counted 16 Little Grebe. Mallards were also on the water and John spotted a Marbled Duck before it disappeared back into the caged area. At the second hide we found many more Little Grebe along with a few Black necked Grebe, and 3 Shelduck were sitting on one of the islands. Two Marsh Harriers flew quite close as they hunted over the reeds to our right. While we were there a small flock of Glossy Ibis flew in and landed somewhere behind the lagoon to our left. We headed back towards the boardwalk and saw the Bluethroat again, still unconcerned by our prescence.
A Little Egret was perched on the handrail of the boardwalk and did not seem to want to move until we got very close, when it flew away. As we came round to the picnic area I spotted two Purple Swamphens, one on each side of the boardwalk. We ate our lunch in the picnic area watching Coots and Moorhens on the pool and Crag Martins in the air. Various birds flew in while we were eating, including, Crested Lark, Black Redstart, Chiffchaff and House Sparrow. Eventually we left San Felipe and headed back towards Santa Pola, making a brief stop at El Pinet where we saw Little Stint, Black winged Stint, Redshank, Greenshank, Sanderling and Common Sandpiper. From here we headed home having had an enjoyable outing.
Species list – Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Spotted Eagle?, Kestrel, Coot, Moorhen, Black winged Stilt, Sanderling, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Greenshank, Lapwing, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Woodpigeon, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Sardininan Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.