I have known Vernon and Lynee for three years. They are a very nice couple who enjoy combining the facilities of Benidorm with some birding trips in Costa Blanca.
On Monday we set off to Las Salinas de Santa Pola. Our first stop was near the city, where we get our first waders feeding on the pans: Dunlins, Little Stints, Sandering, Little Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilts. On the water, there is a large group of Coots and both Grebes (Little and the gorgeous Black-necked). Then we continue to stop in the tower of Tamarit. There we get our first Slender-billed Gull (Pau’s logo!), a Redshank and a Spoonbill. Not far from there, along the national road we make our the last stop in the Salinas. It proves to be a good idea as we see 17 Spoonbills, 24 Wigeons, Sanwich Terns and other common birds.
After having a coffee in Catral, we continue our birding trip in Costa Blanca driving around the farmland, South of El Fondo, seeing 2 Booted Eagles (pale and dark morph). In addition, we see Iberian Grey Shrike, Hoopoe, Crested and Skylark. Sadly, the hides are flooded so we move to the visitor centre. As we step off the car, a friendly Bluethroat shows up. While we have lunch we have great views of Red-knobbed Coots and a wide variety of waders, including a superb Jack Snipe.
Finally we drive northwards to make the last stop in El Clot de Galvany . Once we are there, we find the main path flooded but that is not a problem for visiting the two main hides. There, we get Purple swamp-hen, Grey Wagtail, a stunning male White-headed Duck and a good variety of wildfowl.
During our second trip, we change completely of habitat and head off to the snow-capped mountains of Alicante. We start in Monnegre making 4 short stops. In the first one, we get 2 wonderful males Darford Warblers and a pair of Choughs. On the second stops we find our first Black wheatear on the top of a boulder. As we drive between the orchards we pull over to watch a group of Woodlarcks, Thekla Lark, Sardenian Warbler, Spotless Starlings and a chirping Crested Tit. Later, we get to a recently established small Griffon Vulture colony. Pau found it about 3 years ago and since then has been keeping an eye on them. It seems that they are still fixing the nest, so no doubt the cold snap has delayed the breeding.
Our last stop is in Alcoi where we visit the main Griffon Vulture colony. As we start walking, a wonderful Blue Rock Thrush displays for us moving around the old factory. Along the path, Blackcaps, Serins and other common birds take advantage of the olives. Finally as we walk back to the car, a Goshawk flies right in front of us chasing some small birds! What an end for a Birding trip in Costa Blanca!
I hope to catch your attention about the superb birdlife that can be found in this part of Spain (Alicante and Valencia provinces). Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure to guide Richard in the Alicante area. He had emailed me a list of lifers he would like to see and I think we did pretty well.
After picking him at 6:30 (we wanted to avoid the heat), we set off to el Monnegre to look for our first targets, the Black Wheatear. It didn’t take long before we watched our first Black Wheatear in the river gorge, following by two mores near a building in ruins. Then, we drove for few minutes to visit an area where last May I found two territories of Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin. In my opinion, this is one of the most wanted birds as it has become very rare. Unfortunately, the population is crashing and the remain pairs are very located. We failed in the first attempt. Nevertheless, we found in the second patch a nice male Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin calling on the top of a pine three. What a superb bird!. Besides, we found Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler, Red-legged Partridge, Woodchat and Iberian Grey Shrike.
Our next destination in this birding trip Alicante, was El Hondo. There, we found in the lagoon besides the visitor center Fan-tailed Warbler, Purple swamp-hens and the usual Red-Knobbed Coots with a white collar. These RKC are part of a reintroduction programme which is not working as well as we would like. Once the birds are release, they disperse and never settle, suffering high mortality.
We continued the birding trip Alicante finding the third target of the day, the White-headed Duck. There was a group of 5-6 ducks diving in front of the first hide, most of them juveniles which is excellent!. We also watched a good number of birds such as Collared Pratincole, Squacco, Night and Purple Heron, Whiskered Tern, Little and Cattle Egret, Shelduck, Black-winged Stilt, Whimbrel, Little and Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, a female Red-crested Pochard, etc. Around 11:00, we started to feel the heat, so we decided to go for some refreshments in San Felipe Neri before driving to the Salinas de Santa Pola. Later, while I was driving to the Salinas I found a Roller in a Palm tree, much to Richard suprise. I pulled over the car to watch it. Nice bird!
In the Salinas we found another target, the Slender-billed Gull. Besides, we watched Greater Flamingos, Avocets, Kentish Plover, Gull-billed, Common and Little Tern, and other common birds. Finally, we made a short visit to the beach finding the last target, the Audouin’s Gull.
The following day we went to the steppes of Albacete where we accomplished the two last targets: Little Bustard (a group of 10) and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Other nice sightings were Great Bustards, a White-headed Duck, Black-necked Grebes, Pin tailed Sandgrouses and Bee-eaters.
I hope you find useful this birding trip Alicante article. Furthermore, I would like to encourage worldwide birders to visit this superb area which won’t disappoint you by any means.
Have a nice day
Please sign up for the newsletter!!! / ¡Por favor suscribase a nuestro boletín de noticias!
You will get the latest offers quarterly / Recibiras ofertas cada 3 meses
Interesting wildlife news / Noticias interesantes sobre fauna
Trip reports / Crónicas de nuestros viajes