Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sunday 10th June 2012 – El Hondo reserve, Alicante (Lat. 38.189496; Lon. -0.752425)

Weather: Sky 1/8 cloud, wind non-existent, temperature. 16 - 32ºC.  09:50 – 16:30.  Guided by Marcos Ferrández, and with members of the ‘Taller de la Naturaleza, Universidad Popular’, Cartagena.

Today was another trip organized by the Natural History group of the Popular University of Cartagena, this time to the ‘El Hondo/Fondo’ reserve near Catral in the neighboring province of Alicante. 
We started at the North Gate of the main ornithological trail at 09:50, and whilst being let in to the reserve, I saw a Roller and a pair of Montagu’s Harriers in the area on the other side of the road.
We went straight to the far hide (La Rosseta), about a third of the way along the track joining the north and south gates. From this raised hide, it is possible to view much of the Levante lagoon and surrounding pools and reedbeds on the north side of the reserve, and from here we saw many of the ducks, grebes and reed birds, such as Great Crested Grebes with young, Black Necked Grebes with young, Pochard, Little Bitterns, Great Reed and Reed Warblers.  Unluckily, we didn’t hear or see any Moustached Warblers which are normally around this area, but DID see Purple Heron, Great White Egret and Glossy Ibis all in flight in the time we were there.

 Little Bittern, hiding in the reeds

 View from the 'La Rosseta' hide, looking west

After a couple of hours there, we went on to another raised hide looking over the southern (Poniente) lagoon where there was a vast flock of Shelduck, plus many other ducks (mainly Mallard but a few White-headed Ducks, Red-crested Pochards), Greater Flamingos, gulls, Avocets and Black Winged Stilts.

Around midday we went on to the information centre for packed lunch, and to look over the pool that has been created there.  Around the pool were at least 8 Purple Gallinules (4 adults and 4 chicks); 6 Crested Coot (unfortunately not wild but recent re-introductions).  However, good to see   them just to get an idea of what to look out for – I was surprised just how different their outline is compared to Common Coot which were in the same pool; the base of the neck being very low in the water making their hindparts appear high.  Also in the pool were Great Reed Warblers, and a Squacco Heron and making regular forays over the pool, various Whiskered Terns and more Glossy Ibis.  When the rest of the group went off, I stayed and was lucky enough to have a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoos fly around the garden area.

Feeding time

Three shots of one of the introduced Crested Coots
 Purple Gallinule/Swamphen with a chick

 And a strange shimmering prehistoric-looking thing - Glossy Ibis

 And lastly, a couple of pics. of Whiskered Tern that were forever there
After a short siesta, I took a walk to a couple of other pools/hides close to the information centre, but the only new birds for the day were a group of 5 Gadwall and a couple of Collared Pratincoles flying around.

From here I had a quick look at the rubbish dump nearby, where I saw up to 20 Mediterranean Gulls of all ages in with the mix of Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, and I then came back home.

 Species seen/heard
Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great White Egret (Egretta alba)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerrea)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Crested Coot (Fulica cristata)
Coot (Fulica atra)
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Black Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus geneii)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida)
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Swift (Apus apus)
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Roller (Coracias garrulous)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Iberian Wagtail (Motacilla flava iberiae)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalusarundinaceus)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Magpie (Pica pica)
Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Serin (Serinus serinus)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

And finally, for those odonatistas amongst you, 4 photos of Ischnura sp. which I saw there, which may or may not be the same species (the jury's out at the moment).

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