Monday, November 06, 2017

πŸ“– Diary Update #68 ~ πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ Laguna De La Mata

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ ☀️ 24C Monday 6th November 2017 ~ On Sunday we departed Denia and took the 90-minute drive south to the outskirts of Torrevieja to spend a couple of days visiting relatives. Close by is the Laguna De La Mata, which we last visited in September 2013 and so during our planning, we'd slotted in a Monday morning visit.

The Laguna itself is used to regulate the water levels in the larger lagoon, Laguna de Torrevieja (1:400ha). Both coastal lagoons have been exploited for salt extraction, with a permanent saltwater supply from the sea. The two interconnected wetlands are still used for salt extraction to this day! There is ample parking and an information centre, where several routes can be taken down to the lagoon. There are a few hides and an observation tower which overlooks the site.

Iberian Grey Shrike ~ Note the curly eyebrow. A good ID clincher for Iberian!
Only ten minutes from the villa Dee had planned a route which skirted the outskirts of the site and which offered some good stopping areas to check out the scrubland and brush. It was a good start too with plenty of Stonechat and Black Redstarts, which I would even go as far as to say where abundant throughout the visit! Just prior to entering the reserve an Iberian Grey Shrike offered a long distance photo opportunity, before dropping down out of sight when something caught its eye.

Crag Martins feeding over the centre.
Arriving at the visitor centre several hirundines feeding overhead were all Crag Martins, probably resident or possibly just passing through, as in southern Spain some of these birds are short-distance migrants. Soon the unmistakable calls of Crested Lark, plus lots of Serin in small groups, along with other small flocks of Linnet and charms of Goldfinch.

A very showy Sardinian Warbler.
As we made our way down to the lagoon a single Hoopoe was feeding along the ground. Six noisy Monk Parakeets flew overhead and two Kestrels were hunting over the scrub. Just as we approached the hide trail a very showy Sardinian Warbler appeared, normally such a sulky bird! Impressive numbers of White Wagtails here today, a constant companion throughout our visit.

White Wagtail ~ Impressive numbers winter here!
From the hide most birds were pretty distant but after a short stay we made out Black-winged Stilt,  Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Kentish Plover. Also of note several Greater Flamingo and a few distant Audouin's Gulls, which are regular breeders here.

The stunning Plain Tiger ~ One of three seen today!
There was plenty of other wildlife to be found today Red Squirrel, a few day-flying moths, including the colourful Crimson Speckled. Lots of butterflies on the wing in the 24C temperature with Clouded YellowPainted Lady, Red Admiral, Swallowtail, lots of whites and the above stunning Plain Tiger!

Red Squirrel ~ infuscatus – remarkably large squirrels of up to half a kilo with very colourful tails and white hairs found in the pinewoods of Central and Southern Spain!
A bird high on our target list today was the Lesser Short-toed Lark and I'm delighted that we managed three. These birds are resident here in small numbers and can still be found if you can get as far away from any housing development as possible. We located ours by there call, which can catch you out, as these birds are good at mimicking Crested Larks or Short-toedLarks.

Some of Dee's Images from today...


Crimson Speckled Moth


Painted Lady