Field Trip – El Hondo area – Malcolm Palmer

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club held its February meeting in the Vega Baja area, and some 22 members met at El Pinet on a beautiful spring-like morning . There was not a lot to be seen on the Salinas, but a nice Greenshank got the list off to a start before we headed inland for the ruined ’monastery’ seeing a Little Owl on the way. Nearby a Bluethroat soon obliged some of the party, and a fine Booted Eagle was the first of many we were to see during the day. On, then to the famed ‘Palm Farm Track’ and a perched Buzzard awaited us. Several Marsh Harriers flew nearby, and there was never a moment when we couldn’t see a Booted Eagle at some point in the sky. A couple of Common Snipe were flushed, as was a Green Sandpiper, and as we left the track, we came across the TV crew filming the removal of the disgraceful rubbish heap that always accumulates there – Sergio Arroyo, take a bow!

We did a circuit looking for Cranes, and it wasn’t until we returned to El Hondo that three of the great birds flew over us. Then it was onward to lo Chicharra, and the highlight of the day – fantastic views of the Greater Spotted Eagle, both perched and in flight, before we made for an excellent lunch at the ever-reliable El Rocio. Several of us then made for a nearby site for the rare and endangered Bonelli’s Eagle, and were happy to see one on the nest. The many Crag martins were joined by an early Pallid Swift, to round off a good day.