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The Parque Natural de El Hondo de Elche ā also confusingly known (and signposted) as El Fondo dāElx in the Valenciano dialect ā is a nature park which is on the RAMSAR wetlands convention list and classified as a special protection area for birds, or ZEPA. The park is of international importance as both a breeding area for rare and endangered species, and also a wintering and migration site. It is part of an area which used to be known as Elche Lagoon, which was almost completely drained from the 18th Century onwards. The area lies to the southwest of Elche in the province of Alicante.
Today there are two main irrigation reservoirs, Oriente and Levante, around which are a series of ponds and salt marshes, surrounded by fields and palm plantations which together form an area which repays frequent watching all year round.
Winter brings an impressive number of raptors to the area, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard and Osprey are regular, also rarities such as Lanner Falcon, Black-shouldered Kite and Red-footed Falcon have been recorded here, whilst "Tonn" the Estonian satellite-tracked Greater Spotted Eagle has spent the last two winters up to 2010 at the reserve.
Rarities have occurred with some frequency at El Hondo.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Marbled Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Western Marsh-Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Common Quail, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Rock Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, (PM), Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Greater Short-toed Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Spanish Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Common Nightingale, Eurasian Robin, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Savi's Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Penduline Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
The tourist information website of Elche has a good section on wildlife in the area.
Content and images originally posted by Mark Etheridge