CBBC Field Trip – El Clot, Salinas, El Hondo fields, El Pinet and Santa Pola harbour

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club’s December field trip was scheduled, as is usual at this time, to include its AGM, and 24 members met at Gran Alacant on a beautiful morning more like spring than mid-December. We made for the Clot, where we were watched by a Little Owl at very close range, and some members sat in the hide, getting good views of Teal, Shoveler and Snipe, while others headed up the hill, and were able to get views of a sizeable flock of Stone Curlew. Plenty of small birds were in the bushes to keep us on our toes too. After moving along the coast, where little was to be seen, we stopped in the middle of the Santa Pola salinas, seeing small numbers of Turnstone and the odd Greenshank, then a couple of Spoonbills, as well as a Great White Egret and a solitary Curlew. Small numbers of Glossy Ibis could be seen in the distance, over the reeds.

It was time to head for the reliable Vistabella area, and, at first, it looked pretty birdless, but when we arrived at the ‘favoured’ site, we were soon aware that the day’s great prize, the lovely long-staying Black-shouldered Kite, was perched precariously on the top of a flimsy bush. As we enjoyed looking at this handsome bird, a Booted Eagle flew close, and much further away, a larger raptor proved to be an adult Great Spotted Eagle – probably ‘Tönn’ – now without his radio antenna (for those of you who have followed the saga!) We could have wished for no more from the morning.

Our AGM was held at El Pinet, and members there learned that Barry Chambers was being forced to stand down as President due to the lengthy recuperation from illness of his wife Carol. Stephan Cramer will prove to be an admirable successor, but Barry’s good works were praised, and it is to be hoped that we shall soon see him back in action. Fran Vickers has also stood down, after a superb and long spell as treasurer, which Greta Owen will not find easy to follow. Mary Brazier’s work on the website was also praised by many members, and the quietly efficient work of secretary Pete Alden should be mentioned. Future trips were discussed, and members were adjured to join the SEO and AHSA to assist with conservation projects.

Afterwards, some members went to watch fishing boats arrive at Santa Pola – always a magnet for birds – this time attracting vast numbers of Balearic Shearwaters, amongst others.