Field Trip – Tabarca Island – Malcolm Palmer

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club’s late April visit to the island of Tabarca was attended by just twelve members, who met on the quayside of Santa Pola on a cool, breezy morning. Common and Little Terns were fishing in the harbour as we boarded the large catamaran, but there was little in the way of birdlife on the crossing.

After negotiating our lunch, we set off to walk to what is the ‘business-end’ of the island as far as bird migration is concerned – the eastern, uninhabited end. Birds were always going to be hard to find, as the stiff, cool breeze was keeping them down, but two Woodchat Shrikes were soon found, perching atop shrubs. Several Sardinian Warblers chattered as we walked, and we were soon able to see two perched Northern Wheatears. A few Barn Swallows were coming in off the sea, and so did a Yellow Wagtail.

Someone told us they had seen an Ortolan Bunting not far away – a scarce migrant not unexpected on Tabarca at this season – but we were unable to locate it. We arrived at the eastern tip of the island, and were able to separate one or two Shag from the much larger Cormorants. A Turnstone was the first of several we saw, feeding amongst seaweed. A skulking Willow Warbler was almost under our feet.

We made our way to the restaurante Amparin, for a very good lunch, then made a circuit of the inhabited, ‘village’ end of the isle. There was little here of note, save another Woodchat Shrike and a female Blackcap. It had not been the best trip ever to Tabarca, but neither had it been the worst.