How it all began

Little Grebe
Little Grebe
The Costa Blanca Bird Club (CBBC) was set up around 2005 in response to the many requests of the UK Expats who wished to continue bird-watching whilst in Spain.
The original President, and main driving force in setting up the group, was Malcolm Palmer who has now stepped down to Vice President. Malcolm has lived in Spain for around 20 years, has an extensive knowledge of birds in many parts of the world, has written books on birds in Spain, and has an added advantage of speaking fluent Spanish.


Since cheap package-deal holidays started to introduce Northern Europeans to the beaches of Benidorm in the 1960s, there has been a steady but impressive demographic movement of mainly retired people, seeking the sunshine and ambience of the Levantine coast, now making up a sizeable proportion of the population.

Inevitably, this sector contains a substantial number of people with a combination of time on their hands, and an interest in the natural environment. Many of you have been members of organisations such as the RSPB. A few of you will have taken your interest onto ‘higher plains’ and gone on to become more serious ornithologists, joining your local or county groups, the BTO, becoming ringers, visiting observatories and attending classes.

Whether or not you fit into either of the above categories, you are probably looking for some way of filling in your increased leisure time, having discovered that the joys of soaking up sunshine and vino tinto do have their limitations. Many of you have responded, over the years, to a regular natural history newspaper column, enquiring as to the existence of a suitable organisation to join, and the response has had to be to advise you to join the excellent SEO (Sociedad Española de Ornitología) which has a local branch, and a few foreign members.

However, this and other conservation bodies operating in Spain operate entirely in Spanish. (Logical, of course – try getting the RSPB magazine in anything other than English!) Whilst, in the long term, it is still very much in everyone’s interest to learn Spanish, of course, we have recognised the need to provide an English-speaking Bird Club.