Santa Pola Field Trip – David Roe

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club held its traditional end of term, late afternoon/evening field trip, by meeting at El Pinet Reserve. Thirteen members attended, plus a guest. Several Collared Pratincoles were seen immediately and continued to provide good views. Common Terns were close by, together with Avocets. Several Black-winged Stilts and their chicks were also present. Further away to the right, on the small islands, there were many Sandwich Terns and Slender-billed Gulls. Whilst we were there, Little Terns, Black-headed Gulls, Shelducks, Flamingos, House Martins and Red-rumped Swallows were also seen.

We decided to move on to the ruined Ermita de San Francisco de Asis, known to club members as the Old Monastery. En route, a Little Owl, Cattle Egrets, Rollers, Glossy Ibis, Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons were spotted. I missed most of them, because I was driving!There was a family of Kestrels in the Monastery and many birds were seen whilst we were there. We saw more Rollers and Cattle Egrets, plus Bee-eaters, Great Spotted Cuckoo, an Iberian Grey Shrike, Stone Curlews, Hoopoes, Spotless Starlings, Crested Larks and, of course, House Sparrows.

It was time to head off to Tano’s restaurant in Santa Pola for some tapas and drinks. Driving through the Salinas on the N332, Yellow-legged Gulls and Mediterranean Gulls were seen, as well as a Green Sandpiper and some flying Collared Pratincoles. Our stay in Tano’s lasted a little longer than expected, because there seemed to be only one member of staff present!

So, fifteen minutes later than scheduled, we set off for our final site, the Fulla Roja clearing on the top of Cape Santa Pola. After parking our cars and making the walk to the site, it was already past sunset and darkening rapidly. A Red-necked Nightjar could be heard immediately. Kathy performed her expert waving of white handkerchiefs, whilst I played the call on my SEO Birdlife app. During the next 30 minutes, we heard and saw Red-necked Nightjars calling, flying and perching. There were several birds present, but it was impossible to tell the exact number. In addition, a Little Owl obligingly kept perching on the same branch of a dead tree.

In the gloom, we headed back to the cars at 22:10. For a short field trip, we’d clocked up quite a good list of birds.