Birding Costa Blanca, a surprising wildlife-rich region in Spain. Please find the trip report to two of the most interesting birding reserves: Salt Pans of Santa Pola and El Hondo.
I got an enquire from Allan who was willing to see some of the wildlife in the area. Please, find following our bird watching trip report in Costa Blanca:
Our first stop is in the Salinas de Santa Pola where the previous days, a pair of Elegant Terns have been reported. The day is warm but very windy, good for breeding gulls and terns (they don’t venture to the sea) but no so good for passerines.
Greater Flamingos, Audouin’s Gulls, a female Red Crested Pochard, Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlins, Swifts, Avocets, Little Stints and other common birds are our first sightings. As we stroll back to the car, a Little bittern flies down to a ditch covered by reeds. Unfortunately, Allan and his wife miss it. Five minutes after getting out of the car in our second stop, a strange sound catches my attention. It is a Roseate Tern!!! a very unusual bird in the region. On Sunday was located for the first time but no one could find it again yesterday, so it is a nice surprise to relocate it. Great bird! In addition, there is Little and Common Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Turnstone, Kentish Plover and Slender-billed Gull.
Then, we walk down to the second hide to witness more than 600 Sandwitches terns and to try to locate the pair of Elegant terns. All the birds take off twice and settled down again. After that, at the end of the island I find the 2 Elegant Terns, what a bill! In the same island we find Collared Pratincole, Common Sandpiper and Greenshank. The time is passing fast with so many birds and we are getting hungry. Therefore, we stroll back to car park to have our picnics.
After lunch, we drive to el Fondo, stopping first for a coffee. As we get in the first hide, a Purple Swamp hen with two chicks shows well. Besides, we see a Red-knobbed Coot nesting, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron and Whiskered Terns. After this, we move to add more “lifers”. The sky is covered by Common Swifts and among them, we can spot 3 Pallid Swifts! In the next hide, we get Purple Heron, Black Tern and Marble Teals. Allan is having a great time photographing so many new birds! We carry on and have a look to a promising pool. There we get Gull-billed Terns, Mediterranean Gulls, a Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little and Ringed Plover and lots of other waders.
I have one last stop for White-headed Duck and Black-necked Grebe but they feel tired, so we leave it for the next time.
All in all, a particularly good day despite the wind. Two local rarities the same day!
Have a good Birding Costa Blanca day!
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