Booted Eagle - El Hondo
A change in my work schedule has resulted in me being able to stay in Spain for a couple of weeks longer. I made the most of not having to spend the day packing for a trip by meeting up with Juanma from the University of Elche, to conduct a raptor survey at El Hondo.
We managed to record a number of species, the highlights being - Greater Spotted Eagle (1 adult), Hen Harrier (1 male, 1 female), Merlin (1) and a minimum of 9 Booted Eagle, two of which can be seen above. Sections of El Hondo, including the main North/South road, are sadly not open for public access at the moment. All of the raptors seen today can however be seen from areas that are open to members of the public.
After completing our survey we moved over to Santa Pola for some general birding. A large congregation of waders was the main attraction, feeding in an area which has only recently become flooded. Species recorded here included, Great Egret (2, below), Little Stint (30+), Dunlin (100+), Greenshank (5), Redshank (15+), Spotted Redshank (8), Turnstone (10+), Grey Plover (1), Mediteranean Gull (1 ad) and numerous Slender-billed and Black-headed Gulls.
On the way home I called in at El Pinet, the Black-tailed Godwit flock is still strong with at least 150 birds present. Other species of note here were - Golden Plover (38), Stone Curlew (19), Greenshank (4) and a single House Martin which was feeding with a large amount of Crag Martin, my first of the year.