San Felipe and Escalona – By Malcolm Palmer

posted in: Field Trips | 0
Red knobbed Coot by Mary Brazier©
Red knobbed Coot by Mary Brazier©

CBBC Members and visitors assembled in good numbers at the Reserve Centre of San Felipe de Neri, first taking time to look at the recuperation project for the rare and threatened Red knobbed Coot, which are left to fend for themselves on a fenced-off pool near the visitor center itself. We were all able to watch collared birds at close quarters. We moved on to the hides, there obtaining good views of several species of wildfowl, including Wigeon and Pochard – some members who walked a little further getting views of a fine male Pintail. But the star turn was found by Paul, who spotted a single wader, feeding rapidly at the far side of the lagoon. It turned out to be a Marsh Sandpiper – its needle-thin bill and rapid feeding action, combined with small, slender shape, sufficient to identify this scarce visitor. Purple Swamphen was also seen, and parties ofGlossy Ibis flew over frequently. The occasional Booted Eagle and Buzzard circled in the perfect blue sky. Down on the wooden fence posts, a Wryneck provided entertainment, and a pair of Stonechat were joined by an unseasonal Whinchat. Bluethroats were seen from time to time, and Snipe and Kingfisher were also added to the list.

We moved on to the Embalse de Pedrera, which was very full, and not overly productive for us, sporting little more than a Great Crested Grebe and a Grey Heron. Lunch next door to the petrol station at Torremendo was as good as ever, and we then made our way to the vantage point, from where a good view of the Sierra Escalona can be had. At first there was little more than Green Woodpecker, Chaffinch and Black Redstart, all at close range, but eventually, patience was rewarded when a distant Golden Eagle drifted along the ridge. Soon a much closer one soared overhead, a Buzzard way above it, then a third Golden Eagle, this time close enough to ascertain that it was a second year bird, flew close over our heads. It had been a great day out, in superb weather, more like July than November!


Species List – Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Common Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge, Purple Swamphen, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Marsh Sandpiper, Yellow legged Gull, Black headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Sky Lark, White Wagtail, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Robin, Black Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Southern Grey Shrike, Magpie, Jackdaw, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Serin.