El Clot, Santa Pola Salinas and Vistabella area – By Malcolm Palmer

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Spoonbills by Bryan Thomas©

The day started in brilliant sunshine, with a visit to the Clot de Galvany, where members were treated to views of Stone Curlew, and plenty of small birds, before everyone headed for the Santa Pola Salinas. There an obligingSlender billed Gull posed for photographs, and numerous ‘fly-pasts’ staged by groups of the perhaps 40 Spoonbills that are wintering there kept everyone’s attention. The occasional Great White Egret added to the scene, and there were always waders flying past, Turnstone, Dunlin and Grey Plover amongst those seen. A Sandwich Tern fished close by.

On we went, to the Vistabella road, where the more intrepid members trekked to the further hide, others to the nearer one, whilst one or two remained to guard the vehicles – it has to be recorded that one member had recently experienced a most inconvenient break in there. Fortunately, nine Common Cranes flew over, calling, in the view of everyone, then a group of Lapwings followed, accompanied by one or two Golden Plover – a reminder of bad weather further north. At first we saw little in the way of birds of prey, but those visiting the closer hide found a nice Osprey perched on a post, and the occasional Booted Eagle and Marsh Harrier circled. But when people were about to return to their vehicles, two eagles soared close overhead. The smaller bird was a tough one to identify, but Dave Eddy’s photo proved it to be a young Bonelli’s Eagle, whereas the larger bird was clearly a juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle. We repaired to Tano’s for lunch and our AGM.