CBBC Field Trip to the Mar Menor

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16Jan-2We met our travelling companions at Bryan’s house where Trevor had already seen a Sparrowhawk fly over before we arrived! We made a short stop at Santa Pola Salinas to tick off a few species before travelling to San Pedro del Pinatar to meet the others. We all set off across the top of the beach seeing Turnstone, Sanderling and Grey Plover feeding on the shoreline. Walking inland along the boardwalk we found Stonechat, Black Redstart and Sardinian Warbler in the scrubby area before checking the first lagoon. This proved to be very quiet with just a few Black winged Stint, Shelduck and distant Flamingos. Moving back along the road to the next parking area we all walked along to the hide hearing Green Woodpecker on the way. The trees on the right held a Southern Grey Shrike and several Collared Doves whilst the lagoons on our left had Slender billed Gull, Little Egret, Black winged Stilt, Avocet and various gulls. An unusual gull was spotted resulting in lengthy discussions about it’s identity and a small expedition being sent out to try to get a photo! Even with the photo it’s suggested identity of a Ring billed Gull could not be confirmed on site. Photos have now been circulated for our experts to have a closer look at it. Sadly after review of the photographs by many ‘experts’ it now turns out to have been simply an unusual looking Yellow legged Gull, shame but that’s birding!

Our next stop was at the Cabo de Palos lighthouse where we had good views of a Southern Grey Shrike below the lighthouse before Trevor, Bryan, John and I went for a look inside the lighthouse grounds. Here we found several Sardinian Warblers and Black Redstarts, small flocks of 6 Serin and 10 Goldfinches flew around and both Spotless Starlings and Common Starlings were in the area. From a viewpoint at the front of the lighthouse Trevor pointed out 4 Gannets flying over the sea, always a good bird to see. On our way back to the car we saw a Crested Lark and a couple of Linnets flew up from the ground. From here we had a short coffee stop by the port before heading off to the Palos Salinas.



16Jan-5We arrived at the salinas and parked up to eat out lunch, but kept our eyes on the various pools at the same time. A group of 20+ Golden Plover were sitting along a wall and other waders included Redshank, Greenshank and Kentish Plover. While we were there we heard a strange screeching coming from the bushes and were all puzzled by it, until a large bird flew out and Bryan identified it as a Monk Parakeet. On the way back we found a Spotted Redshank in a pool close to the road and were able to have a good look at it and take a few photos whilst trying not to interfere with the unusual amount of vehicles that seemed to turn up just at that moment! Our final stop was by the beach at Los Urrutias where we were surprised to see Flamingos in the sea. A few waders could be seen along the coastline, 2/3Black necked Grebes were on the sea but unfortunately we didn’t see the Common Scoters which had been seen here recently. By now it was beginning to rain, and as Trevor had a plane to catch we set off for home.

Species list – Great Crested Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Ring billed Gull?, Yellow legged Gull, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker (HO), Crested Lark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Monk Parakeet.