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Birdwatching at El Clot de Galvany, Spain (1 Viewer)

G

Gleb Berloff

Guest
I am an idiot. I am an enormous, insane idiot. When packing for Spain, I intentionally left my camera behind! And I paid a massive price today for that.
I have been preparing for this visit for an extremely long time. I personally viewed the map and even 'simulated' my ride there on Google Earth about a dozen times. We even rented a bike, which I used to access the Salinas and sierras to the north of Santa Pola est. And even there I paid the price, because three days ago about 10 meters from me sat a stunning hoopoe. For a long time as well!
But today was a HUGE visit. Even without my camera, the pictures I got on my phone and seeing other birds were still great. Today I saw:
MARBLED TEAL x8
Glossy Ibis x1
Bee-eater 1 or more
Night-heron x4
Little egret x50 or more
Black-winged stilt x2
Rabbit or hare x1
Cicada singing right out in the open x1
CLOUDS of hirundines
Flamingo x3
The way from Santa Pola to El Clot is very pleasant, and you can look at the huge cliffs or the rocky coast along the way. On the way there I saw a fig tree with ripe figs in it and decided to loot it on the way back. I wasn't going very fast, but still reached El Clot much faster than I expected.
I found the track and, dragging my bike with me, proceeded down the trail. I hadn't gone very far before I froze in my tracks because a rabbit or hare froze ahead of me. I took pictures of it, with it about 7 meters away, before it moved back across the road and disappeared in some bushes.
Whilst approaching the lagoons I admired the mountains in the distance. I am especially interested in raptors, and one such visit to Alcoy saw me get amazing pictures of griffon vultures, and I have plans to visit the mountains again for them, as well as a different range for golden and Bonelli's eagles. El Hondo is a fat, juicy target in the winter, with greater spotted eagles overwintering there.
I found the first hide but there was nothing interesting there. So I went to a second hide, and there my eyes almost fell out of my socket.
Before this visit, I only thought I'd see stuff like purple herons and little bitterns. I knew white-headed duck bred here but was extremely elusive. But as I sat down, five meters away from me, preched on wood, sat two marbled teals. I knew how rare they are, and a visit to El Hondo almost because of them failed to produce them. Now I had 2 right in front of me, close enough for even my phone to manage decent views. Soon I spotted another 2 just as close on another piece of driftwood, and then no less than FOUR glided out of some reeds!
I was seriously not expecting this. I got good images, but these would have been better had I had the camera! But a visit in October will be with a new camera, one MUCH better than the other I was missing so much now.
I went down along the track and a bee-eater suddenly cartwheeled through the skies above me. I literally said 'NOOOOOOOO!!" at this stage. It was too far away for my phone!
Regardless I reached another hide and immediately saw a black-winged stilt family mere meters away. As I watched them I saw three or four juvenile night herons flying around and croaking, and perching in very short water stems right in front of the hide!! It was wonderful to watch this, that is for sure. But I didn't want to stick around, lest a white-headed duck comes out in the distance, too far away for my phone.
I decided to walk further. All this time, egrets were just flying around, but now in the distance I watched a large black bird like a massive raven but with a long neck rise out briefly from the reeds. It didn't take me long to realise I was looking at a glossy ibis.
There were 2 other hides overlooking the lagoons, but it was really hot now so I decided to turn back, and on the way spotted a cicada sitting right next to the fence, so close I got a great image of it.
As I went back I saw 3 enormous birds in the distance. they drew closer, and I recognised them as flamingoes. But my phone ran out of storage, and so I began deleting images frantically, hoping to at least get silhouettes. What I was not expecting was the flamingoes changed course and began heading almost right for me! I deleted some images from previous bike rides to other places, and right when I got to the camera they changed course again, and flew broadside to me, showing their long necks, legs and splendid colouration. they were close enough for a few photographs to be taken. It was very interesting and helpful behaviour! Raptors I saw never behaved like this.
I went back to the entrance and took off, and on the way took a date palm fruit as well as a ripe fig fruit. Almost at Santa Pola, I saw a large cactus with a single flower on it. I arrived just as the horrible heat was starting up.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Great report Glebs - Your descriptive writing evokes some very fond memories of me cycling for hours on birding trips along hot dusty roads in Southern Europe with no camera, just my bins and scope seeing very much the same species. I love that you helped yourself to some fruit en route!
 

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