Plains and rains

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - SERVICES - CLASSIFIEDS -

Just a bit fed up with the re­cent lack of birds and ex­cess of traf­fic on our coast, Barry and I set off to visit the bak­ing plains of Al­bacete one Au­gust morn­ing. An uniden­ti­fi­able ea­gle flew off too quickly as we left Bonete, but sev­eral Bee Eaters and three Lap­wings were spot­ted be­fore we were through Cor­ral Ru­bio.

Swal­lows abounded over the plains, but lit­tle else was to be seen on the parched land­scape – hardly a drop of water any­where. We had driven some two or three kilo­me­tres along the lonely tracks be­fore three fe­male Great Bus­tards rose from a field on our left and dropped un­con­cernedly close to our right. We sub­se­quently found three fine males – a lit­tle more wary, those, then a good flock of ten of these mag­nif­i­cent birds. We made our way to the la­goon of Pétrola, much re­duced in the drought con­di­tions. There was no sign of Flamin­gos hav­ing bred this year, but a good few adults stood around, to­gether with a few Shel­duck, a Pur­ple Heron, two or three Grey Herons, a lonely Avo­cet, a party of Gad­wall, and a Black­necked Grebe. What may have been a Pere­grine flew away quickly. We drove down to Caudete for a fine lunch at the ever­re­li­able Lengüetera, where­upon the heav­ens opened! The rain, thun­der and light­ning did noth­ing to pre­vent us from en­joy­ing the won­der­ful Ye­cla plains, where we saw the most enor­mous flock of Jack­daws, six Stone Curlew, and a good va­ri­ety of passer­ines, in­clud­ing Subalpine War­bler and Black­eared Wheatear. But the best, as so of­ten, waited un­til last, when Barry’s sharp eyes spot­ted a great male Mon­tagu’s Har­rier, then I found a nice Greater Short­toed Lark. Mean­while, the town of Ye­cla was vir­tu­ally un­der water!

Gad­wall

Mon­tagu's Har­rier male

Pur­ple Heron

Great bus­tard

Na­ture Trail by Mal­colm Palmer

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