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A day of rarities (1 Viewer)


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I have never visited Torrevieja by bike, because I thought it too far away. A 35km bike ride in 1 direction, after all! Well, to the area I wanted to visit.
Distracted by reports of an elegant tern at El Pinet, I almost cut the trip short as I rode past. If I had done that, that would have turned out to be an unfathomable mistake, because the most exciting bird was waiting at the Pink Lake. And it was not a Montagu's harrier, which was the reason I wanted to get out there in the first place!
The bike ride was not hard at all, to my surprise. Soon, I was standing at the observation point and watching 4 harriers in the air at once. I began taking photos just as another person arrived, getting a Montagu's pair in a single photo. Only he wasn't here for the harriers.
As I took photos, he told me he was after a lesser flamingo which was around a group of greater flamingoes out on the lake. We tried to spot it, and failed. A little upset by that, I continued taking photos of the harriers, which variously perched or flew incredibly close.
Distracted by the harriers, I returned to the observation tower, and looked at a flamingo in the distance. Something about it caught my interest. In the distance, even with the unaided eye, whereas the others were all light pink, this one was red. And it was small. It associated with the flamingoes for some time, at which point its small size relative to them became apparent. And what also became apparent was the very dark bill it had. When it became apparent WHAT that was, I nearly fell off the observation tower!
Lesser flamingo.JPG
Despite the excitement, it was just so far away! Pushing the limits of my DSLR. But it was a lesser flamingo, so even the worst quality photo is better than none. I had a bone to pick with that species, because at one point I missed one just as I rode past one in the winter without stopping. That bird was so distant the only photos people got of it was a red speck in the distance. Unlike what I got!
After this, it was time to head back. To El Pinet, that was. I got there quickly, aided by a helpful tailwind, and began searching. When I got there, I realised finding that bird would be a problem. Because of that:
Elegant terns are large terns very similar to sandwich terns, of which there was a huge horde present, but with one big difference- a long, pretty, yellow-orange bill. I sought that bill, and could not see it conclusively. I tried another area, and this time, began to take photos of the area I expected the elegant tern to be in based on a very long range image I had taken earlier. One photo was taken just as the elegant tern looked up practically in the center of the image.
A few seconds later, that bird's head was down again, but another elegant tern looked up!
I've heard an idea that these may stay to breed. I hope so. Despite being a monstrous rarity here, almost as rare as the lesser flamingo, there is a pair breeding at the Albufera de Valencia nowadays. One can only hope...


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