El Hondo fields, Santa Pola and the beach road to Gran Alacant

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Blackcap by Mary Brazier©
Blackcap by Mary Brazier©

The weather has been a bit windy and wet this week so we have been doing some painting in the house. We had a quick trip out on Monday when we drove along the beach road looking for a Blue Rock Thrush but we didn’t find one. Today the sun was back and we set off across the Salinas seeing the usual Flamingos etc as we drove by. We headed for the palm farm track seeing a Hoopoe on the way. Along the track we saw plenty of White Wagtails, Chiffchaff, Crested Lark, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove and a couple of Red legged Partridge. We stopped on top of the bridge where lots of Blackcaps, mostly males, were flying across the channel and moving around in the reeds. Turning right at the end we added Stonechat, Little Egret, Kestrel, Blackbird, Magpie, Moorhen, Grey Wagtail, a single Green Sandpiper and lots of Reed Buntings to our list. We crossed the Vistabella road into the gated road (Consorcio) where we were hoping to see the first hirundines of the year, but no luck. Plenty of Crag Martins were around but no new arrivals. I had a brief glimpse of a Bluethroat, and a Saridinan Warbler showed well. Further away a Marsh Harrier and a Booted Eagle were flying in the distance and John briefly saw a large flock of birds which we think were Cranes. We moved on to the Vistabella road and I set off for the first hide while John stayed with the car. As I made my way towards the hide I saw Little Grebe, Black necked Grebe and lots of Chiffchaffs but I was unable to get to the hide due to the mud. With just a distant view of the lagoon I could see only Pochard on the water. While I was away John saw a Penduline Tit and an Osprey flew over the reeds. Back at the car I was happy to see the Osprey but dipped out on the Penduline Tit.

Audouin's Gull by Mary Brazier©
Audouin’s Gull by Mary Brazier©

We left this area and went to Santa Pola for our usual Friday lunch at Pena Grande where we watched a group of Turnstones feeding on the beach. We drove back to Gran Alacant along the beach road, stopping a few times to see what was about. A few Audouin’s Gulls were on the rocks and a Blue Rock Thrush gave us the runaround as we tried to get a good look at it. A good sighting was a pair of Ravens flying above the cliffs and calling loudly.

Species list – Little Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Crane, Flamingo, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge, Coot, Moorhen, Black winged Stilt, Turnstone, Green Sandpiper, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Sandwich Tern, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Penduline Tit, Spotless Starling, Magpie, Raven, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Serin, Reed Bunting.