For the March field trip, we took an anxious look at the weather report. Monica promised rain, but when 22 members met at the San Felipe Nerí Visitor Centre, it just looked black up in the hills, but OK where we were. Swallows were at last in evidence, and it wasn’t long before we were seeing the first Alpine Swifts passing through, later to be joined by Pallid Swifts. Yellow Wagtail and Bluethroat were both seen well. A good number of Glossy Ibis flew over in small parties, and there was a scattering of raptors to be seen, mainly Marsh Harriers and Booted Eagles, but an Osprey put in a brief appearance. On the lagoons, a good many Coot and Pochard were joined by a few Red crested Pochard, and a surprising number of White headed Duck, whilst some nice Mediterranean Gulls were to be seen on the islands. A Moustached Warbler sang briefly despite the strong, cold wind.
We drove up into the Sierra de Crevillente, where Jane and Colin played host once again, providing tea and cakes, some of which were contributed by Greta Owen. The Bonelli’s Eagle turned up to order, and a solitary Chough gave a nice flying display, calling all the time. The promised rain fell, but didn’t dampen our spirits. After an excellent lunch taken at the ever-reliable Restaurante Rocio, most of us headed for the Vistabella hides – with a small scenic detour en route! There lots of Swallows and Martins included a good few Sand Martins. There was no sign of the Ferruginous Duck that Barry had seen the day before, but there were lots of Pochard, a good many Tufted Ducks and a surprising gathering of White headed Ducks – all in splendid plumage. A few Great White Egrets were at some distance, and Black necked and Great Crested Grebes were both well represented.
Species List – Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Red crested Pochard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, White headed Duck, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge, Purple Swamphen, Moorhen, Coot, Black winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Yellow legged Gull, Black headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Bluethroat, Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler,Southern Grey Shrike, Red billed Chough, Jackdaw, European Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin.