The June meeting was an afternoon/evening jaunt, as it had been the previous year, and it turned out to be a thoroughly successful field trip. We started off, with understandably reduced numbers of participants due to the heat, on the fish quay at Santa Pola, where the incoming fleet always attracts a good number of following birds. The big objective this time was the impressive Cory’s Shearwater, a Gannet-sized bird which skims the waves, dwarfing its flickering Balearic relatives. Within minutes we had located several Cory’s and a few Balearics too, whilst a young Shag perched on nearby rocks, and Little, Common and Sandwich Terns were plentiful, as wereAudouin’s and Mediterranean Gulls. After slaking our thirst at the nearby fishermen’s bar, we drove out to the Cabo de Santa Pola without too much expectation of seeing our next objective, the declining Rufous Bush Robin.En route we had a Woodchat Shrike and a largish Ladder Snake crossed the road, but no sooner had we parked at the wood in question than Barry and I pricked up our ears – a Rufous Bush Robin was singing its scratchy, random-sounding little song. In a very short time we all had excellent views of the singing bird, and a lot of Spotted Flycatchers and a party of Long tailed Tits completed the cast.
Back, then, to Tano’s at Gran Playa for tapas, and his own powerful brand of tinto de verano then we were on the move again, up to the lighthouse road to look for the fourth of our target species. Almost immediately we sawStone Curlew, whilst Iberian Green Woodpecker, Turtle Dove and a distant Little Owl were all either seen or heard, and a big old dog Fox trotted by, as did a bat I took to be probably a Serotine, hunted. Then, on cue, our Red necked Nightjar came to life, singing its odd ‘kutuk-kutuk-kutuk’ song, then seeming to respond to Kathy’s antics with two serviettes (before a couple of guys in white coats came along!) by flying past close-by. We all retired happily after that.
Species List – Cory’s Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Shag, Stone Curlew, Audouin’s Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Red necked Nightjar, Common Swift, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Thekla Lark, Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Rufous Bush Robin, Long tailed Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Serin. Plus Fox, Rabbits, a Ladder Snake and a Serotine Bat.