CBBC Field Trip to the Mar Menor

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Today, after a long period of absence, we once again joined fellow bird club members on the January field trip to the Mar Menor area. The trip was ably led by Rob and Kathy who also managed to conjure up a lovely sunny day for the trip.

I began my bird list for the day with a White Wagtail as we left Gran Alacant, and added Spotless Starling, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Great White Egret, Yellow legged Gull, Cormorant, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, and a Kingfisher on a telephone wire as we crossed the Santa Pola Salinas. I spotted a small group of Cattle Egrets in a tree near Guardarmar and a Southern Grey Shrike was seen perched near Torrevieja.

We arrived at San Pedro del Pinatar and met the rest of the group, some of whom we had not seen for a good while. A walk towards the beach revealed a few more species, including Stonechat, Crested Lark, Dartford Warbler, Meadow Pipit and Greenfinch. At the beach a few Sanderling were running along the shore, and back at the lagoons Slender billed Gull, Shelduck and two Little Stint were in evidence.

We drove back along the road (seeing six Black necked Grebe on the way), parked at the visitor centre and walked back to examine a nearby water channel. This proved a good spot giving us Common Snipe, Black tailed Godwit, Redshank, Ruff, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler and Chiffchaff.

Rob and Kathy then led us to the end of the beach at El Mojon where a Green Sandpiper flew along the water channel and Sanderlings and Turnstones were on the beach. The best bird, however, was a Red Breasted Merganser sitting on a small island just offshore. We were then discussing what we might see at out next location, Los Urrutias. I said we might see some Stone Curlew and just then someone said that these birds were sometimes seen in the scrubby area next to where we were standing. Just as he said this three Stone Curlew flew up and then back down into the scrub!

At Los Urrutias we walked along the top of the beach where we saw Common Sandpiper and Greenshank at the edge of the sand. On the water there were a few Great Crested Grebes and Black necked Grebes and someone saw a Little Grebe but I didn’t see that one.

After this we left the group to continue southwards while we headed back north as we had a few things to do. All in all a good morning out with some great birds and it was lovely to see some old friends again.

Species list – Great Crested Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Cormorant, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Mallard, Red breasted Merganser, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Coot, Moorhen, Stone Curlew, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Sanderling, Little Stint, Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Greenshank, Ruff, Black tailed Godwit, Common Snipe, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Black Redstar, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch.