woensdag 11 januari 2012

28th of December: A last look at El Hondo before proceeding our trip down south!

28th of December

An early start this morning at the South Gate in the hope of finding a roosting Greater-spotted Eagle. The only eagles to be found in the trees were Booted Eagles, not what we were looking for but when do you ever have the oppurtunity to observe a perched Booted Eagle from this close? :
Credits for this great (digiscoped) photo go to my dad Tammo Meijer!
Here another photo of two dark morphs Booted Eagles albeit somewhat distant.

After scanning the trees we could find 5 resting Booted Eagles. In a canal along the reed a group of 6 Black-necked Grebes was found swimming and in the reeds we had views of a pretty male Penduline Tit
The Penduline Tit

In the cropfields behind us a group of 80 Skylarks had dropped in and furthermore we had some hundreds of Lapwings passing by and a Snipe was flushed along the canal. On a small stone bridge in the canal we had views of a Grey Wagtail.  Around 9.45 we left the South Gate and decided to head to the western side of El Hondo for one final time to see if we could find a Spotted Eagle perched or flying somewhere.
We stopped a place with fantastic views as you can see on the above picture. Apart from 2 Hoopoe's, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowshawks and a Southern Grey Shrike that performed highly skilled diving attacks to a Zitting Zisticola - that just got away - there was nothing else special to be found. We drove back to the appartment, without a Greater Spotted Eagle, too bad! We quickly packed all our stuff in the appartment and headed south. We drove past the Salinas of Santa Pola where we saw some new species for the list from a driving car: Spoonbills, Sanderlings, Kentish Plover, Shelducks and Little Stints. Close to El Hondo we had a flyover of an Osprey! That was kind of unexpected! 

During the 300 km drive to Parque Natural Cabo de Gata we didn't see anything noteworthy. We arrived at the village of San José around 15.00. We had an appartment with amazing views on the sea:
Around 16.30 we decided to explore the area and drove to the Playas west of San José. The gravel road lead us through one of the greatest landscapes I'd ever seen in Spain. Really special.
We arrived at Playa de Genoveses first where we had a Southern Grey Shrike and 5 Woodlarks near the parking lot. The playa itself was really beautiful - and luckily for me and my dad also some really photogenic birds - and we did a walk along the playa.
Playa de Genoveses.

On the playa we found some great Kentish Plovers and Sanderlings, foraging together in the sand Two Ravens were seen flying and calling overhead.
Some images of these cool waders.
The two 'Meijers' in action!

After our visit here to this playa we drove on for some more kilomtres along the gravel road seeing our first Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Rock Buntings and Thekla Larks of the trip. I was also able to photgraph this male Black Redstart:
The Black Redstart, the sun had already dissapeared behind the hills!

Last but not least we witnessed an amazing sunset at Playa del Monsul:
And gone was the beloved sun!

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