Alcoy – Malcolm Palmer

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It was a pleasant spring morning when members of the Costa Blanca Bird Club met just outside Alcoy for their April outing. 15 members congregated at the Nuevo Polígono, and the group was ably led by Greta Owen, who had put in a deal of research.

The first destination was the Font Roja, the monastery set high in densely wooded hills to the west of the town. The monastery and the spring that lends its name to the area are surrounded by mixed woodland, including much evergreen oak – therefore attractive to various species of birds, especially insectivorous species.

In the event, Blue Tits were seen – they are generally absent from other parts of the Costa Blanca – as well as the shy Firecrests, Coal and  Great Tits, Chaffinch, and no less than 5 Short-toed Treecreepers. Rob and Kathy managed to take the wrong fork and got lost, but their reward came when they saw Brambling and Jay, the former species one that evaded the rest of the party! All then made their way to Preventori – and the woodland there proved interesting, with Bonelli’s Warbler and Wren both in song and showing well. Blackcaps and Sardinian Warbler were also seen.

Next stop was the famous ‘Vulture Valley’, more correctly known by its valenciano name, El Barranc del Cint, where Griffon Vultures didn’t disappoint, as they actually breed on ledges easily visible from the track. Blue Rock Thrush, Red-billed Chough and Raven were also present. A good lunch was enjoyed back at the Nuevo Polígono.

The afternoon visit was to the Xorret de Catí, near Castalla. There, Crossbills were numerous, at least ten were seen, amongst the trees, and Long-tailed Tits, Serin, Jay, Coal Tits and White Wagtail were added to what had been a fruitful day’s list.