CBBC Field Trip to Santa Pola Salinas, El Pinet, El Hondo fields and the Vistabella road hides

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10Dec-2It was quite cool when we met about 20 other bird club members in the tower lay by next to the salinas. After meeting and greeting a few people the first bird I spotted was a Whimbrel/Curlew. I alerted Barry just in time for the bird to disappear behind the tower. We moved on to the next lay by, where the rocks are, and found a group of 4 Spoonbills at the left hand edge of the lagoon with another group in front of us but further away. We saw a large flock of Wigeon fly in, which was good as these are my favourite species of duck. I have only ever seen them in Spain in ones or twos so this was quite a treat. Stephan or Els found us 2 Ospreys on top of distant pylons, another good bird for us, and a Sandwich Tern flew by as we were leaving. We moved on to El Pinet where my first bird was a Redshank , along with the usual Avocets, Black winged Stilts, Shelducks and Slender billed Gulls. Stephan and Els once again found us a top species in the form of 3/4 Stone Curlews. I struggled to find them in my scope but managed to view from through someone else’s better scope. A few lucky people spotted a Water Rail but sadly I was not one of them. A quick visit to the beach saw us looking at a small group of Common Scoter which have been seen in this area before.

Our next location was the lane by the palm farm where we were looking for Cranes but none appeared. We stopped to watch around 6 Booted Eagles circling above, a great sight. Moving on and turning along a lane with a canal on the left, we flushed a couple of Snipe and several Green Sandpipers, which often seem to be found in this water channel. Our final stop was on the Vistabella road where two groups set off across the little bridge to visit the small hides. Before setting off we scanned a flooded field on the right where a number of waders were feeding. These included Black winged Stilts, Wood Sandpiper and Ruff. At this point I had developed a headache and decided to stay in the car and wait for the others to return, always hoping to see something exciting. While I was sitting there I spotted a raptor out of the corner of my eye and jumped out of the car to have a look, even without the bins I knew it was a Red Kite! I have never seen one here before so I quickly grabbed the camera to get a few shots, as I figured the others might not believe me without the evidence. When they all came back I reported my sighting, which caused some consternation amongst the birders. Some even questioned whether the photo had been taken today! Eventually, I think they believed me after viewing the dodgy photos, but some of them they were not happy to have missed this bird! By now it was about time to head off for lunch, but not before Peter spotted a large flock of birds in the distance but coming towards us. At last the Cranes, which we thought we might have missed out on, had arrived. Stefan counted them and pronounced there to be 44, which if you count them on the photo below turns out to be spot on! A great end to a very enjoyable bird trip.


10Dec-3 10Dec-4Species List – Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Spoonbill, Grey Heron, Common Crane, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Common Scoter, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Kestrel, Moorhen, Stone Curlew, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Turnstone, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew, Snipe, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Kingfisher, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.