El Pinet, Monnegre – Malcolm Palmer

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There was I, gloomily listening as England’s demise in the first test became a reality, when my friend Barry, who clearly had had more sense, called to say he had been swimming off El Pinet when a large tern with a huge yellow bill passed straight overhead. Leaving England in Australia’s tender hands, I made my way to El Pinet, and took a look at the huge gathering of roosting terns. There, amongst the Sandwich and Common Terns, were not one, but two Elegant Terns – that rarest of occasions for me these days – a ‘lifer.’ (new species for my list – and my 347th species in Spain) Incidentally, also present was an unusual number of around 30 Black Terns – a species which has been more than usually numerous this year.

Next day, in company of my sister-in-law, I headed up the Monnegre valley. We soon found three Black Wheatears near the first rockface, then carried on up past the village. Almost immediately a magnificent young Golden Eagle soared just some fifty metres overhead, giving great views. An adult bird was also in view, much further away, and, as we watched it, several migrating Alpine Swifts dashed past. Carrying on up to the Jijona-Tibi road, there was only the odd Griffon Vulture to be seen, prompting the question as to if they have in fact bred on the Peña de Migjorn? The quantity of ‘guano’ in evidence on the cliff face does raise the point!