I arrived at El Hondo North gate today for the usual Saturday visit at 07.30. Whilst waiting to be let onto the reserve I managed good views of Roller, Bearded Tit, Great Reed Warbler and 3 Montagu's Harrier (2 Male, 1 Female).
The viewing platform was my first port of call and during an hour and half spent here the following species of note were recorded; Little Bittern (numerous), Squacco (5) and Purple Heron (4), Moustached and Great Reed Warblers (numerous), Bearded Tit (5+) Cuckoo, Whiskered and Little Tern and Greater Flamingo. The highlight of this area was a pair of White-headed Duck with 4 young, see below.
Next stop was the Tower Hide. All of the previously mentioned species were recorded again here, with the exception of White-headed Duck. Additions included Red-crested Pochard (6), Marbled Teal (2), Garganey (1), Gull-billed Tern (3+), Mediterranean Gull (10+), Curlew Sandpiper and Glossy Ibis. The Spoonbill which turned up last week is still present and has been joined by another individual!
The highlight of this area and the day was a "dark morph" Little Egret which was a unexpected find and raised the heartbeat for a few minutes!! The bird flew across the marsh and showed a large white flash in each wing whilst the rest of its plumage was a dark blue. Landing with the numerous other Little Egret, it showed well for 5 minutes in the scope before walking into a channel. The bird had an all dark bill ruling out Western Reef Egret but it could possibly have been a hybrid? Hopefully the bird will be present on Wednesday and some pictures can be obtained.