As is now more-or-less habitual, the turn-out for our first autumn field trip was rather sparse, as many members choose to extend their summer sojourn in the frozen north. So it was that only thirteen Costa Blanca Bird Club members met on Santa Pola Salinas on a fine September morning. An impressive ‘feeding frenzy’ featured hundreds of Slender-billed Gulls, attended by around forty Spoonbills, whilst several Great White Egrets flapped over, and the odd Sandwich Tern fed nearby. In the distance, we found a solitary Curlew, a few Greenshank, and two Spotted Redshank. Little Stints showed well at the other side of the busy road.
We moved on to El Pinet, and immediately David spotted the resident, very confiding Water Rail. A good number of Collared Pratincoles accompanied the remnants of the Common Tern colony, and parties of Black-tailed Godwit stood around. A Buzzard flew purposefully south along the coast.
Our next halt was at the ‘Palm Farm Track,’ where a very obliging Purple Heron awaited us. Apart from a tantalizing glimpse of an unidentified falcon, and another Buzzard, we saw little until, scanning skies to the north, a circling party of at least three Booted Eagles was found. Bee Eaters lined the wires at La Raja, but Lo Chicharra was disappointing, with the only ‘good’ bird being a nice Osprey that Rex identified immediately.
We lunched – very well – at El Rocio, then many of us made for the Visitor Centre, near San Felipe Neri, where first of all we enjoyed the Red-knobbed Coots, before walking to the furthest hide, where waders abounded. There were many Glossy Ibis, but we were searching rarer quarry, and amongst the Wood and Curlew Sandpipers, tantalizing glimpses were had of a Marsh Sandpiper – There may even have been two! A Ruff was also present, and some members found a Whinchat as they returned to the carpark. It had been a good day