The change being a huge reduction in the house martin population circling above the villas.
In previous years there have been hundreds of these little birds that have flown here from Africa at this time of the year. In the little town of San Miguel De Salinas where I live every year for the past fourteen there have been hundreds of pairs building their nests of mud stuck to ehr walls under the eaves of buildings. A conservative estimate would have been some three hunded nests. So far I have not seen one under construction.
The staple diet of these little birds as most people know are flying insects. Noticeably insects as yet do not appear to be in abundant supply apart from ground insects which appear to be as numerous as ever but on which I have never seen house marins feed.
This past winter in Spain seems to have been colder and longer than normal and whether this is the reason remains to be seen.
Another bird that lives permanently in Spain and of which there have been many nesting colonys are parakeets. They screech in flight and in previous years flights of them are seen regularly over this development. This year I have seen just half a dozen pairs feeding on the remaining almonds still attached to the trees.
Today I took my partner to Alicante airport. She remarked as we journeyed on the causeway over the salt marshes between Guadamar Del Segura and Santa Pola that not one of another of our summer visitors the flamingo was visible. Normally there are flocks of them feeding in the shallow waters.
This reduction in bird population must have a significance; although thus far I have not seen any reprts on this.
I can only think of two causes for this. A prolonged and colder than average winter or a shortage of the different foods that sustain these birds. The latter I believe could be the more likely with the liberal dosage of insecticides on the citrus groves and the drift on the wind of these substances.
I have seen reports of farmers using insecticides which have banned by the EU obviously using up previously purchased stocks which they were had not been compensated for.
There is much that goes on in Spain which is in contravention of EU regulations.