December Field Trip – Santa Pola area – Malcolm Palmer

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club combined it’s December outing, as usual, with it’s AGM, and 25 members and visitors met on a springlike morning at Gran Alacant then went on to the Clot de Galvany. The Charco de Contacto at first looked uninteresting, with just a lot of Coots and Moorhens, but the former proved to include a solitary Red knobbed Coot, still extremely scarce, and no less than four Purple Swamp hens strutted about on the far bank. Meanwhile other members were lucky enough to find a noisy Wryneck.

On, then, to the coast near Carabassí, where a Red necked Merganser and a Common Scoter floated on the placid sea. Three Ravens flew along the cliff as we approached Santa Pola. The Salinas yielded a rather distant Osprey, but an obliging pair of Spoonbill flew close by, before we made for our last destination of the morning, the ‘Palm Farm Track.’ Once there, we immediately started to see raptors, the vast majority of which were Booted Eagles, circling in the clear blue sky, though the occasional Buzzard was lower. Flocks of Skylark were flitting between fields. When we moved further on, the huge eagle perched on a pylon could only have been the Greater Spotted Eagle which has become a ‘winter resident’ here. Many Reed Buntings, then a few Tree Sparrows completed our circuit.

An almighty traffic jam complicated our return to a good lunch at Los Manchegos, Santa Pola, where we then held our AGM. Thanks were recorded to Stephan Kramer as he stood down as president, a post to which David Roe was welcomed. A few of us then paid a visit to the harbour, but the fishing fleet seemed to be returning birdless! It had, however, been a great day.