This week we joined the CBBC field trip to the Mar Menor which provided a good opportunity for me to finally get my 2013 bird list going. At the San Pedro salinas we found about 28 CBBC Members but not so many birds. The salinas were quieter than normal giving us just Shelduck, Greater Flamingo and Black tailed Godwit. At the beach a group of Turnstones were feeding in the sea grass along the shoreline, along with a single Sanderling and aCormorant was fishing just off the beach. We examined the scrubby area behind the beach finding Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Hoopoe, Greenfinches and Southern Grey Shrike. We moved on to our next location at Las Urrutias where a scan of the sea found us Great Crested Grebe, Black necked Grebe, Common Scoter and possibly bird of the day, Velvet Scoter, a lifer for me. We walked across the old airfield where we saw Crag Martins, Crested Larks, a few Red legged Partridges, two Booted Eagles , one pale phase the other dark phase, and a Kestrel. Our next stop was at the sewage farm near El Algar, a very smelly place! Some of the pools had dried out but a short hike through the undergrowth took us to a large pool next the the windmill where we found Black necked Grebes, Little Grebes, Shelducks, Coots, and a Common Sandpiper. Around this area we also saw Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Kestrel and a single Ringed Plover.
At this point we left the other members as they went off for lunch, and John and I, and our friends Dave and Linda set off to Cabo de Palos where we had a coffee stop at a cafe next to the small marina. When we came out of the cafe I heard and then saw two and then another three Parakeets fly from the other side of the marina over our heads. Despite me jumping up and down yelling ‘Parakeet’, the others were too busy looking at the menu and none of them turned round in time to see these birds! We drove round to the lighthouse and parked up to eat our picnic next to the little beach there and I spotted a Sandwich Tern fishing near to the shore . After lunch we had a walk round the lighthouse grounds where we saw mainly Black Redstarts, Stonechats, House Sparrows, Starlings and Sardinian Warblers. Next we headed back to the Palos Salinas where we found the usual Avocets, Black winged Stilts and Slender billed Gulls, along with Audouin’s Gulls, Black headed Gulls, Yellow legged Gulls and a Redshank. From here we headed home having enjoyed a great day out with good company and good birds.