October field trip – Santa Pola area – Malcolm Palmer

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club held its October field trip in the Vega Baja region of Alicante, where early morning cloud looked threatening, but a few drops of rain were all the heavens had to offer. Twenty five members, including a few welcome new faces, assembled on the Salinas of Santa Pola, where a party of Spoonbill provided the only excitement.

On we moved, to El Pinet, where a lot of water meant that the birds were somewhat distant. We soon found a small group of Stone Curlew, and a little further away, a good variety of waders attracted our attention. Little Stint, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Redshanks were easy enough, but one larger wader caused us a lot of difficulty. Eventually, however, thanks to Dave’s fine photos, and the bird’s rapid feeding action, coupled with a fine, straight bill, and clear white underparts, it resolved itself into a Marsh Sandpiper.


We carried on to the well-known ‘Palm Farm Track’, where there seemed little about, until, peering high into the blue sky, small groups of migrating raptors appeared. A party of Honey Buzzards was amongst them, but Common Buzzard and Booted Eagle were also seen. We made our way to El Rocio for an excellent lunch, during which the club’s committee were able to resolve some important issues.

An afternoon visit to San Felipe’s visitor centre was all we had time for after lunch, but members were well rewarded, with good views of the thriving Red-knobbed Coot population, some big flocks of Glossy Ibis, a statuesque Great White Egret, and a late Sand Martin