Crevillente, San Felipe field trip – Malcolm Palmer

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On a cloudless spring morning, just thirteen members of the Costa Blanca Bird Club met just outside Crevillente for  their March field trip, led by Barry Chambers.

We took the awkward route through the town, then up into the Sierra, leaving one of our vehicles beside the famous Moorish aqueduct before heading deep into the mountainous terrain.

Almost as soon as we had parked with a view of the appropriate cliff, a Bonelli’s Eagle was seen flying over adjacent crags. After several passes, giving good views, the adult bird flew to the known nest-site, where it remained. A small group of Jackdaws passed by calling, then a pair of Ravens gave distant views, as did two noisy Red-billed Chough. A Black Wheatear was spotted by Barry and – eventually, seen by everyone, and a pair of Thekla Larks flew over, calling.

As we headed out of the Sierra, Stonechats and Black Redstarts were seen on wires, then we paused to view a Little Owl, also electrically inclined.

Our next destination was the El Hondo Centro de Reservas, at San Felipe Neri, and straight away we saw Common Snipe, Meadow Pipit and Water Pipit, feeding on an area of scruffy vegetation, Also present were a few Glossy Ibis and several Common Teal, whilst Flamingos waded in deeper water, and a Purple Swamp Hen was also seen. When we walked out onto the boardwalk, a pair of Shelduck were also present, and further on, several pairs of the iconic Red-knobbed Coot were going about nest-building. Several Barn Swallows flew over and as we returned to the car park, a single Red-rumped Swallow flew over.

The group repaired to the Restaurante Rocio for a very good lunch, after which a return to the Reserve Centre was indicated. Not a lot of novelty was noted – a Great White Egret and a big party of noisy Mediterranean Gulls were seen, and a solitary Marbled Duck flew over the boardwalk. Cetti’s Warblers and Blackcap were noted in the reeds. Several Marsh Harriers were seen. It had been a pleasant day, without any notable surprises.