Having picked up Rob Thomson from Alicante airport this morning, we dropped off the bags and headed out to explore the immediate area. Rob is joining us for a 5 day tour this week with a particular emphasis on bird photography. The light is very good at this time of the year and I hope to post some excellent results on here at the end of the week.
We made El Hondo visitor centre our first port of call where a brief lunch was proceeded by a good hour walking around the boardwalks photographing some of the more common species on offer. These included - Bluethroat (8), Stonechat (5, pictured above), Whinchat (2), Sardinian Warbler (numerous), Marsh Harrier (1 male, 2 female), Cetti's Warbler (4) and Zitting Cisticola (numerous). The highlight was a single Short-eared Owl which was a new bird for me at this site.
Next port of call was Santa Pola Salinas where highlights included; Greater Flamingo (numerous), Slender-billed Gull (numerous), Black-winged Stilt (16), Greenshank (2), Little Stint (20+), Sanderling (20+), Dunlin (numerous), Kentish Plover (numerous), Spoonbill (3 juv) and 1 adult Booted Eagle.
Having secured some superb Booted Eagle and Greater Flamingo images (amongst others) we moved on to El Pinet. Here the star attraction was Audouin's Gull (above), we managed to find 12 mixed in with the many Yellow-legged Gull. Other species recorded here included; Black Redstart (3), Stonechat (4), Iberian Grey Shrike (1), Hoopoe (2) and a single Water Pipit. The Star species of the day however was a LESSER YELLOWLEGS which showed well at times but became distant after a while, flying between the pools viewed from the first and second hide (pictures to follow). Hopefully Rob will enjoy continued success tomorrow when we head into Murcia!