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Birding in Alicante Province

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Old Monday 1st July 2019, 14:27   #501
simon-p
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Hi Simon

Hope this is visible to you!

The Rollers are still around the old football pitch as advertised, but my map shows an area south of El Hondo just north of La Marina which you can access from the main N332 road. Take the CV853 towards Elche, just before the sharp right hand bend shown, there are two roads off to the left. The stars show my most recent Roller sightings during the last seven days.

The first road takes you along what is known locally as the Pallet Factory road, there is a large tree on the left which has been a regular Roller site, the bad news is that due to disturbance it looks as though they may have abandoned their nest for this year - the disturbance was due to a herd of goats, the owner spent the whole day leaning against the tree last week, the Rollers haven't returned.

The second road takes you to an abandoned Monastery which has always been good for Rollers - it is the Ermita de San Francisco as shown on the map. The Rollers will be either at the monastery or on the wires to the northeast.

The other site shown was where I saw two Rollers on Friday - this is a side track to the main road but perfectly driveable, the Rollers may well have been the pair from the Pallet road site.

The whole area on the map is good for Rollers, you may have to work the locality, but at this time of year I see one or more on most birding trips there. Good luck!
Thank you! Map shows fine. All excellent info, wish me luck. I'll keep the forum updated.
Tried to find the monastery previously too without success.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 16:59   #502
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I'm out this month for the first time since March 2018
Anyway, shall add this to my must do list.

Secondly, still haven't found a Roller... ever!
Can someone drop a pin on Google maps for a likely place please? Instructions by road in the past have always failed me. Tried the trees by the old footie grounds etc, zilch each time.
I guess I'm probably a bit late for you, as it's now the end of the month, but I would agree with Mark for good places to see Roller. The road to the monastery from the bend in the CV853 is usually a cert! There is often a pair nearer to the CV853 - perhaps half way between the junction and the monastery, that can be seen on old farm buildings.

Another place I have never failed to see rollers (in the summer) is at the CV851 bridge over the Rio Vinalopo, marked with a blue pin at the top of this map.
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Old Thursday 15th August 2019, 08:43   #503
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El Hondo directions please

Hi all.
I visited Santa Agueda platforms at El Hondo last autumn following Mark's directions to look for Tonn the LSE.
I am back in Spain in a few weeks and want to explore The greater area around El Hondo. I understand there is a visitors centre on the other side.
Is it worth a visit and how do you get there. I cant find any details on the internet. Any help appreciated. Thanks
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Old Thursday 15th August 2019, 09:21   #504
Mark Etheridge
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Hi Karl

The visitor centre at El Hondo is a must see. I have attached a map with the rough directions from the centre of Catral, the nearest town.

From Catral, go north to the roundabout at the end of the main street, and bear right towards the village of San Felip Neri. Continue through the village and onwards for about a mile, you will see the centre signposted on your right (take the first of the two tracks) It's a bit rough along this road but eventually you get to the main carpark.

To the left of the visitor centre is a picnic area which overlooks the small pool, good for Swamphens, Marbled Duck and the reintroduced Red-knobbed Coots. Follow the boardwalk to the left, this takes you across a larger flooded area where you should see Terns, Herons, Waders etc. At the end of the boardwalk, turn sharp left and follow the path for a few hundred yards, there are two hides along here, both excellent for birds depending on water levels.

Now the bad news - take mozzie repellent with you!
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Old Thursday 15th August 2019, 14:27   #505
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Thanks Mark that is brilliant. Mossies are a nightmare as if there are 70 people in a room they will fly over them to get to me. I always keep well covered in repellant and wear Craghopper Nosilfe long sleeve shirts.

Thanks again for the info

Karl
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Old Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 10:56   #506
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Took Mark's advice and had a look around the visitor centre side of El Hondo. It was roasting as it was between 3 and 5pm. It was pretty quiet as it's not the best time of year but well worth a visit. I will definitely be back later in the year.
Still, good views of Swamphens, Marsh Harrier,
Little and Whiskered Terns, Marbrled Duck, various herons and egrets and flocks of up to 50 Glossy Ibis are not to be sniffed at. Flying back into Alicante late Oct on my way to Almeria so will spend a few hours there then.
Thanks again Mark for the directions, they were spot on
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2019, 18:00   #507
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I'm back in the area for a 1 month visit and getting some good birding done.

Bafty sent me a PM asking for details on the Temmincks Stint I have reported elsewhere, thought I'd share it with anyone here who may be planning a visit to Alicante in the near future.

Some of you will be aware that during September the area experienced its heaviest rainfall for 140 years, a fair amount of damage was done but it left some areas ideal for the birds. There is a flooded field near El Hondo which has become a prime site for waders - as well as Temmincks, there have been Little Stints, Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, LR and Kentish Plover, Snipe, GW Egret and the usual Black-winged Stilts.

My map shows the Vistabella Road coming from centre right to bottom left, the turning for the road is signposted Camino del Hondo and the arrow shows where the floods are. Beware of the horrendous pot hole just over the little bridge where you turn left after passing the farm on the right! Excellent views can be had from the road, also I attach my shot of one of the Temmincks.

These floods won't last, they are already beginning to dry out in the week or so I've been here, should be OK for the next couple of weeks at least.
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2019, 18:05   #508
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Fantastic spots all along the road - birders who just go the visitors centre at San Filipe are missing out
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2019, 18:05   #509
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Mark

I know exactly where it is now thanks. Might go on Thursday

Thanks Again
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Old Friday 8th November 2019, 16:47   #510
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I'm back in the area for a 1 month visit and getting some good birding done.

Bafty sent me a PM asking for details on the Temmincks Stint I have reported elsewhere, thought I'd share it with anyone here who may be planning a visit to Alicante in the near future.

Some of you will be aware that during September the area experienced its heaviest rainfall for 140 years, a fair amount of damage was done but it left some areas ideal for the birds. There is a flooded field near El Hondo which has become a prime site for waders - as well as Temmincks, there have been Little Stints, Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, LR and Kentish Plover, Snipe, GW Egret and the usual Black-winged Stilts.

My map shows the Vistabella Road coming from centre right to bottom left, the turning for the road is signposted Camino del Hondo and the arrow shows where the floods are. Beware of the horrendous pot hole just over the little bridge where you turn left after passing the farm on the right! Excellent views can be had from the road, also I attach my shot of one of the Temmincks.

These floods won't last, they are already beginning to dry out in the week or so I've been here, should be OK for the next couple of weeks at least.
Often a good place for Stone Curlew, but did they clear up the enormous, dreadful fly-tipping area at the bend in the road, yet?!
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Old Friday 8th November 2019, 17:33   #511
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Managed a visit today and found the Temminck's, there were several.

Unfortunately they were 400-500 metres away a little to far for what I was after. Attached image was taken at 1,000mm focal length 1,600mm with a crop sensor camera.

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Old Friday 8th November 2019, 19:16   #512
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Up to 140 Stone Curlew in a flock at La Mata Salina last week. Also had a Red Kite coming out of roost at El Hondo. No big eagles there but had a Jack Snipe on the Vistabella Road. Plenty of Snipe and Green Sandpipers too. Had lots of bustards of both flavours up at Bonete and had Golden Eagle and Chough at Sierra Espuna. And lots of flies and mosquitos still. Nursing plenty of punctures.
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Old Saturday 9th November 2019, 17:41   #513
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Went along to the flooded area this afternoon, and unfortunately it has now dried out - the only birds present were a few Cattle Egrets.

One very noticeable aspect of this autumn's birding in the area is the high number of Kingfishers around the El Hondo area, also in the Clot de Galvany. Even irrigation ditches (with water!) seem to have one present, I've seen at least one on every birding trip I've taken so far. They are regular winter visitors, but either the conditions are very good for them or they've had an exceptional breeding season.
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Old Friday 22nd November 2019, 17:15   #514
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Some final notes before I go home this weekend!

The 'Dry Hide' at the Clot de Galvany reserve is once again a reliable-ish site for Wryneck, birds seen on three out of five visits this week, also at least two Kingfishers seen on each visit.

Although the flooded field along Camino del Hondo is now dry, further along the road towards Catral the farmers have started to irrigate the fields, with plenty of birds taking advantage. There was a huge flock of Glossy Ibis (500+) quartering the area this morning.

A lot of work is being done along the Vistabella Road. The reeds along the walkway around the South Gate are being cut back, and the boardwalk path to the first hide has been ripped out. I'm hoping that this is just a complete renewal of the track to the hide (it badly needs it!).

Tonn the Greater Spotted Eagle should arrive in the next day or so, he overnighted yesterday near Castalla which is about 35 km from El Hondo. He is a month late compared with last year, which is highly irritating to me, as I fly home on Sunday
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Old Sunday 24th November 2019, 12:15   #515
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Thanks Mark for the update, I've just looked at the GPS location for Tonn and it appears he's now back at El Hondo

Paul Samuels
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Old Sunday 24th November 2019, 13:28   #516
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He certainly is, Paul, and I'm now 1700 miles away!
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2020, 16:43   #517
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Hello everyone,
I'm really interested in observing golden eagles in Alicante province, could you suggest any good sites?
I've heard the Sierra de las Aguilas has a pair?
Thank you very much!
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Old Thursday 13th February 2020, 05:48   #518
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Hello everyone,
I'm really interested in observing golden eagles in Alicante province, could you suggest any good sites?
I've heard the Sierra de las Aguilas has a pair?
Thank you very much!
Seen them over the ridge of the Castillo de Sax (but also had a vehicle broken into there ).
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Old Thursday 13th February 2020, 15:00   #519
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Just outside the Alicante area (about an hour away along the Madrid motorway), the Yecla steppe area is very good for Golden Eagles, usually see at least one soaring over the surrounding mountains, and the whole area is excellent for birds generally.

You ought to examine every eagle you see very carefully - last year a Golden Eagle sighting turned into Spanish Imperial Eagle for me, and last December well-known local birder Bryan Thomas had three SIE's in view at Yecla!

https://birdingcostablanca.blogspot.com/
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Old Saturday 15th February 2020, 10:35   #520
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Just outside the Alicante area (about an hour away along the Madrid motorway), the Yecla steppe area is very good for Golden Eagles, usually see at least one soaring over the surrounding mountains, and the whole area is excellent for birds generally.

You ought to examine every eagle you see very carefully - last year a Golden Eagle sighting turned into Spanish Imperial Eagle for me, and last December well-known local birder Bryan Thomas had three SIE's in view at Yecla!

https://birdingcostablanca.blogspot.com/
Wow, that's impressive. I don't have a car, so would it be best to get to Yecla by bus and then just explore the steppe on foot from there?
For the griffon vultures at Alcoy, where would be the best place to see them?
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Old Saturday 15th February 2020, 12:32   #521
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They breed on cliffs behind Alcoy but are visible all over (saw c100 from McDonald's car park a few years ago) . I enjoyed watching them cross over to Font Roja which is a great place to explore.
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Old Saturday 15th February 2020, 12:35   #522
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I'm afraid getting around the Yecla steppe area is a bit of a non-starter without a car - you could certainly get to Yecla itself by public transport but the 'interesting' area starts about 5kms to the north of the town and extends for some distance. The area is criss-crossed by minor roads and farm tracks, most of which are driveable, but you need to put in the miles (kilometres?) to do the area justice.

The Costa Blanca Bird Club site has directions for the Alcoy vultures.
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Old Saturday 22nd February 2020, 20:19   #523
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Thanks for the info!
I went down to Alcoy and had amazing views of the vultures there. Thanks. They mostly stayed near Barranc del Sinc, but then started dispersing as I tried-and failed-to reach Montcabrer, gave up too soon. Definitely my best sightings of raptors, overshadows the white-tailed eagles two years ago.
As for golden eagles, I probably won't visit Yecla, but have seen a golden eagle in flight as I was on the bus to Alcoy going past Sierra del Maigmo. Probably will check out Sierra de las Aguilas, and the mountains near Sax, I think that's Maigmo as well.
Can Font Roja center be reached without a car? Are the Bonelli's eagles good there? Is there a good place for them reached by public transport or less than 10km walk?
In addition, can anyone advise me which is the better site for white-headed duck- Clot de Galvany or El Hondo?
Is there a good and reliable place for eagle owl, anywhere? I've heard that La Finca golf course has a pair.
Thanks!
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Old Saturday 7th March 2020, 18:48   #524
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Some migrants trickling through this week included Reed Warbler, Little Bittern and quite large numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins at Lagunas de Lo Monte Reserve
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 13:55   #525
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Yesterday (Friday) there were 4 Little Bitterns together for over an hour seen around the reeds and bushes on the Rio Segura 400 meters downstream from the N332 bridge. Easily seen from Calle Ingeneiro Juan Garcia alongside the river in Guardamar. A first for me, easily identified by cream coloration with black crown.
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