Font Roja and Alcoy – Malcolm Palmer

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24 members met at the Polideportivo, Alcoy, in bright, if chilly, weather, and we drove up to the Font Roja, where Stephan obtained permission for us to visit the reserve.

A nice walk realized few birds in the dense cover, however, but Blue, Coal and Great Tits, Blackcap and Robin were identified, and a Wren was seen and photographed. Bonelli’s Warbler was lured by Kathy’s recording, and sang, but didn’t show. Bee eaters passed overhead. On the way down, some of us saw the pair of Bonelli’s Eagles on the crag.

We somehow failed to lose anyone on our way to Preventori and the Gorge, and there had the usual good views of Griffon Vultures, also Chough and Blue Rock Thrush. In the valley bottom at least two Melodious Warblers sang, and Barrie spotted a Red Squirrel most unusually scampering around on the rockface. We again failed to mislay anyone as we made our way to lunch at the new venue of the Venta de Jordi, which proved to be a roaring success, with a good meal, fast service, at a decent price.

We went then to the Xorret de Catí, near Castalla, where birds were scarce in the extreme, but people were happy to find a Bee Orchid, and another little greenish, yellowish job whose name escapes me. (no botanist, I) Crossbill called from dense pines, but little was seen.

A good day, in nice weather, but nothing to trouble the Rarities Committee!