Santa Pola field Trip – Malcolm Palmer

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An unseasonably warm morning greeted 24 members of the Costa Blanca Bird Club, when they met at El Pinet. Very little avian activity was apparent on the sea, a solitary Gannet flying in the far distance the only bird of note.

We headed for the reserve car park, and soon had a regrettably brief view of a Pectoral Sandpiper – the ‘best’ bird of the day – as well as a Redshank, two nice Greenshanks, a Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper, several Dunlin and the inevitable good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet.

Gary Partida, leading for the first time, took us along paths around the far side of the Reserve, and we were rewarded with views of a couple of Marsh Harriers, then a tight flock of probably 200 Golden Plover, which overflew us twice.

We then set off along the main road – a solitary Osprey flying over our car as we crossed the Salinas – and made for the Clot de Galvany. Once at the Clot we naturally made for the hides. Gadwalls were the feature from the Zeiss hide, but it was the Charco de Contacto that provided the most interest, with a pair of Red-crested Pochard to begin with, then a female Ferruginous Duck came into view, followed by a stunning male, then by another pair! Further over, four Marbled Duck swam, and, not to be outdone, a pair of Red-knobbed Coot in winter plumage showed up.

Ferruginous Duck by Malcolm Palmer©

The sky over the main lagoon was full of hirundines, but all appeared to be Crag Martins in this atypical spring. The whole group set off then for Santa Pola – and lunch at Los Manchegos, which was enjoyed by all.

Those whose destination was to the south later called in at the lay-by on the Salinas, and saw the habitual group of Spoonbill, whilst those few of us headed further north took a look at the arriving fishing boats at Santa Pola harbour. Alas, nothing save gulls and a few Sandwich Terns was to be seen. It had, however, been a splendid day, and the CBBC seems to be in good health, having found a capable new field trip leader in Gary.