The weather was very hot, even being out on the Santa Pola Harbour Pier was not cooling this afternoon at four o’clock . Worse than that, on arriving at the top of the Pier we saw some fishermen’s boats coming towards us, but without the usual flock of gulls and other seabirds around them. One boat was even used by some Yellow-legged Gulls as an energy saving taxi to the coast. We do not know the cause of this poor affluence of birds, but we suspect the fishermen had started very early with cleaning fish and throwing the offal overboard. The best bird species at this location was the Audouin’s Gull, several of which were flying up and down the pier, and some were resting there. This gave us the opportunity to observe some second year summer plumages, with the dark wings and the black legs.
After some cool refreshment at the bar in the harbour, we set forth to the coast road from Santa Pola to Gran Alacant. Here we completed our crew for this afternoon, and 15 members and guests went looking for the much desired Rufous Bush Robin. Thanks to a little misunderstanding we searched in two areas where the bird had been seen in recent years. We tried the ‘Old Twitcher’s Law’ which says – when you do not see your bird, go to where it was last seen and look for the pattern of behaviour you observed it doing there previously. So we gazed at the tops of bushes, were very quiet, looked between the trees where we had seen it flying before, listened for the bird’s call and, on our way back to the cars, we even played the bird’s song the song on a mobile phone. But nothing…
Then to Tano’s Restaurant in Playa Llisa. Perhaps this was the best part of today’s trip. A very good tapas meal had been prepared for us, culminating, when we were already rather full, in a dish with exceptionally good calamares and boquerones.
When the light was lessening we went to the Santa Pola Lighthouse, for the Red-necked Nightjar. The area had changed a little with some roads closed, so we had some difficulty finding our usual spot for waiting for the bird. In the end we decided to look at two places off the road. We found that the whole top of the cliff is populated by the nightjar: we heard several birds giving their characteristic call around us, some of them very near, but unfortunately we didn’t see them.